Teaching

Natural Resources Policy          Syllabus
I teach Natural Resources Policy (Forest and Wildlife Ecology/ Environmental Studies 515). This undergraduate course prepares students to engage in the policy-making process by providing a foundational knowledge of US environmental politics and policy. I challenge students to think critically about the policy-making process, concepts of property, the role of science in policy-making, and issues of justice and accountability. In order to understand current natural resource conflicts and trends, we trace transformations in resource governance through the history of the US and explore tools in public policy such as regulation, incentives, and ecolabelling which are increasingly interwoven in the multilayered environmental policy system of the 21st century.

Policy and management for conservation in novel ecosystems
This course focuses on policy and management for biodiversity conservation in novel ecosystems. Novel ecosystems create challenges for existing conservation and management approaches, from protected areas to sustained yield forestry. Conservation requires high-capacity organizations that learn and respond to change. It also requires tools and institutions that allow for conservation-oriented adaptation. Many questions remain about how managers and policymakers perceive and respond to novelty. Which decision-makers are more likely to actively manage for environmental change? What are the impacts of these adaptation choices for future environments? This class will conduct an empirical analysis of how environmental change and novelty are described and addressed in an environmental policy and management context.

Engaged Scholarship     Syllabus
How can we better inform conservation practice and natural resources management? This graduate course provides training in engaged scholarship, which links knowledge and action to produce social and ecological benefits. Students will interact with agency and NGO scientists and decision makers, develop strategies for engaging relevant partners in their research, and build communication skills for diverse audiences. Students will create a personalized engagement plan. Readings will guide our reflection on the role of natural and social science and the university in society, and help us develop models for increasing research impact. We will touch on the politics of knowledge and provide a glimpse of lessons learned by those who have studied the ways that scientists engage in society.

Approaches to Socio-ecological Analysis, with Dr. Sean Gillon        Syllabus
Linking social and ecological analysis is increasingly recognized as important for addressing persistent social and environmental problems in both academic and policy contexts. This graduate course surveyed approaches to linking social and ecological analysis across several disciplinary and analytical approaches, including geography, political ecology, environmental anthropology and sociology, human dimensions of global environmental change research, social-ecological system research, network analyses, and others. The course acquainted students with each approach, examining their strengths, assumptions, and trade-offs. As part of the course, students participated in a meta-analysis of current research on social-ecological systems. This analysis will explore how different research efforts define system drivers and boundaries, employ different linking methodologies, and engage key concepts such as resilience, vulnerability, and adaptation. This seminar led to a paper published in Conservation Letters.

Parks and Protected Areas
This graduate seminar examines the policy, management, and evaluation of parks and other protected areas. Protected areas are created to meet social, political, economic, and ecological goals. The protected areas approach to conservation reflects human values and perceptions of nature. Protected areas are increasingly common, and debate on their effectiveness abounds. What are protected areas accomplishing, and for whom? This course engages diverse approaches to critically evaluating protected areas that originate in sociology, conservation biology, policy analysis and law, and other disciplines. We will focus on the US and touch on global parks and protected areas. The goal of the course is to prepare students to engage in research, management, and policy making related to parks and protected areas.

Professional Development: Internship Syllabus
This course is designed to deepen Forest Science students’ learning from their undergraduate internships. It provides a chance to reflect on summer internship experiences and enhance important professional development skills in finding, applying to, and interviewing for jobs.

Conservation in a Changing Climate      Syllabus
This innovative seminar in Spring 2011 combined research and teaching, and was held at 6 different universities around the country. Graduate students researched the adaptive capacity and vulnerability of private land conservation tools to climate change impacts. Research results were coordinated among the universities and across disciplines including law, social science, and ecology. My UW-Madison seminar published a paper together on conservation easements in Environmental Management. Data collected by all 6 seminars was published in Conservation Letters. For a news story on this course, see this article.

People, Institutions, and Ecosystems (PIE)
This biweekly interdisciplinary meeting is open to social science faculty, students, and postdocs in Forest and Wildlife Ecology and others interested in the topic.

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