My Teaching


My teaching philosophy and practice is grounded in my understanding of the role of academia in the greater world. I view academia as an opportunity to teach and facilitate an awareness of the delineations of disciplinary boundaries, the interdisciplinary connections across them, and the cumulative power of interdisciplinary understanding. To these ends I teach “holistically,” by relating area specific content to a broader academic context and I conduct research and coordinate projects that, although specific in context, can draw generalizations across cultures and disciplinary boundaries. I uphold that one of the most vital ways to understand global issues is by focusing on the local, specifically on the ways in which households, communities, and regional groups orient themselves to their world. For more on my teaching philosophy, click HERE.

To date, I have developed ten courses ranging from introductory to graduate-level seminars. Click HERE to see my courses. In my professional teaching career I have also contributed teaching service to the greater academic community. Click HERE to go to my service page.

In the last years, my teaching has begun to focus on larger conceptual areas underpinning sustainability that contemporary students need to think about: consumer culture, poverty and social equity, environmental degradation, mass extinctions, globalization, and climate change. In all my courses, I strive to broaden and enrich students’ concepts of the social sciences, inviting them to enrich their understanding through self-reflection and active classroom discussion.  I encourage students to deepen their understanding of world cultures other than their own by studying ethnographies, films and international literature and through simulations (e.g., of natural resource/policy decision-making). For example, my course, The Human Dimensions of Global Climate Change: From Encounters to Actions, focuses on building an in-depth knowledge of the diverse ethnic, cultural and policy issues that climate change implies. Given the increasing effects that global climate change is having on local populations across the globe and the highly charged geopolitical arena in which action must be taken, understanding research’s role in the field as we witness, communicate, and act in response to climate change is paramount. 

In sum, I teach holistically to realize the cumulative power and potential of interdisciplinary understanding. I facilitate learning by combining the introduction of key concepts with hands-on experiences and practical applications relevant to students’ life experiences. I expect students to apply concepts to real life situations and to show how their individual or team effort has generated something novel to our knowledge base. I use a variety of teaching tools including interactive lectures, open discussion, role-plays, peer teaching, student-led presentations and films. I am committed to teaching the larger conceptual areas underpinning sustainability that are critical foundations for responsible citizenry in our 21st century global community.