NRM 110: People and the Environment (fall semesters for Wizipan Program) AIS 498: Undergraduate Research and Scholarship (fall semesters for Wizipan Program) RANG 750: Grazing Ecology and Management (fall semesters of odd years) NRM 400/500: Community Ecology (fall semesters of even years) WL 491: Independent Study
Wizipan Leadership and Sustainability Program
I teach NRM 110 and AIS 498 as part of a collaborative program between South Dakota State University and the Indian University of North America at Crazy Horse. The Wizipan Leadership and Sustainability Program is intended for Indigenous students from across the United States. Enrolled students form a living/learning community in the Black Hills for the fall semester, and upon completion of the program, receive a certificate from South Dakota State University. More information can be found here: www.sdstate.edu/wizipan.
While earning a master’s degree in teaching secondary earth and life sciences, I received instruction on quantitative and qualitative educational research, preparing curriculum with achievable learning outcomes, providing online instruction using a variety of technologies, designing and implementing formative and summative assessments, and working with students with disabilities. This training prepared me to provide effective learning environments for students, which often includes experiential and inquiry-based learning approaches that provide the students hands-on opportunities to work with real data. In addition to learning content, my goal is for my students to learn to think critically, work collaboratively, and communicate effectively so that they can successfully pursue careers in their fields of interest. As a teaching assistant for a writing intensive, senior-level course, Advanced GIS for Natural Resource Management, I instructed and guided students as they conducted independent geospatial research projects, practiced scientific writing, and discussed current literature.
When teaching, I routinely use backward design methods to structure courses around targeted learning objectives and formative assessments to monitor student progress toward those objectives. I also frequently incorporate student-focused discussions in the classroom to encourage students to discuss and learn from their peers. I find that this lowers the pressure on the students, produces a richer, more engaging class with effective discourse, and results in stronger written work. My research demonstrated that a style of productive discussion, Talk Science, improves students’ content knowledge and use of evidence and reasoning in subsequent written work more so than a traditional, teacher-centric discussion (Short et al., 2020, J. Educ. Res.). Importantly, counter to the goals of most science classrooms, students earned considerably lower scores for use of evidence, reasoning, and content following the traditional method of instruction.
Finally, I believe that teaching also occurs beyond the classroom, and I aim to include students in my ongoing research. At the University of Maine, I hosted an undergraduate researcher through the Undergraduate STEM Education Professional Program. While the student received training in conducting research and contributed to my ongoing work, I received training in working with student researchers. This was a valuable experience that has provided scaffolding for continuing to incorporate undergraduates in my research. Please see the "People" page for information about joining my lab.