Teaching about climate change in Intro to Earth Systems

I teach a range of classes at Furman, including:

  • Earth Systems Science
  • Structural Geology
  • Plate Tectonics and Earthquakes
  • Regional Tectonics and the Evolution of North America
  • Sustainable Energy Systems
  • First Year Writing Seminar
  • Senior Capstone Seminar

Supporting students to grow as scientists, problem-solvers, team members, and lifelong learners.

Teaching philosophy

My classrooms focus on developing skills that students will carry with them after the class concludes. This foundation includes technical skills, effective study strategies, non-technical skills like teamwork and project management, and habits of mind like approaching a problem to which you don’t yet know the answer. These pillars allow students to grow in their ability to evaluate their learning practices and to feel a sense of ownership in their own learning process.

To practice these skills, my classrooms focus on active learning, with emphases on peer interaction and student-lead inquiry, including field trips and projects modeled after team-based workplaces. I employ a range of assessment strategies so that students who have different levels of confidence or background knowledge can focus on their own growth in the course. If you’re a Furman student who identifies as “bad at science” or “bad at math,” I’d love to provide you with a more rewarding experience in a science classroom!

A lifelong scholar of teaching

I employ a growth mindset in my work as a teacher, too. I stay up to date on evidence-based scholarship on teaching and learning. I seek out professional development opportunities to expand my knowledge and build my teaching skills. I tinker with course schedules, activities, and content in response to student feedback, and I provide opportunities for students to give input on classroom decisions throughout the semester, whether we’re in an introductory or upper-level course.

Students share that their experiences in my courses prepare them for further learning at Furman, help them to cultivate new intellectual and professional interests, and give them material they can showcase when applying to internships, jobs, or graduate programs.

In summary

My classrooms are clear extensions of my research lab. Teaching and research are complimentary venues for encouraging students to develop capacities for earth science problem-solving. Each practice informs the other. I design my classrooms so that I mentor students not only in the content knowledge I expect them to develop, but also in the capacity for growth, change, and skill development that I expect of myself throughout my career.

Students in Structural Geology giving their own teaching demonstration, showcasing their technical and team-based skill development.

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