Teaching an integral part of research, since it demands synthesis and expanding of ideas; consequently, I have sought to maintain teaching experience on many levels. I presently teach in the classroom, laboratory, and field to graduate and mid career students, in large and small classes and to native- and non-native-English speaking students.
My teaching interests are synergistic with my research interests. I have tried to integrate many sciences to avoid the historical trend toward academic specialization. My teaching concentrates on giving students the basic knowledge, the skills to enable them to update this knowledge as a lifelong process, and the leadership skills to apply this knowledge.
My academic training, publications, and expert advising have been in forestry for most of my career. As I have become involved in international, policy, and business issues, I have increasingly appreciated that most resources are as heavily influenced by changes in other resources, the environment, and population changes as by our actions toward the resource itself. Consequently, only understanding and trying to manage one resource or concentrating on one part of the world is “like chasing a mouse under the rug”—if you push down in one place, it pops us in another place.” Consequently, in addition to my activities in forestry, I also teach courses that integrate the many resources and examine their global distributions, changes, and management.
“Global Resources and the Environment” gives graduate students a global understanding of the many aspects, behaviors and interactions of the environment and resources throughout the world–climate, landforms, water, biodiversity, people, forests, agriculture, energy, and consumption. The course gives a holistic, integrated perspective and how the factors change with time. It also emphasizes how to access and utilize information on global resources and how to distinguish sound information from unsound. It integrates global data and an understanding of the processes behind the data.
“Managing Resources” pulls together the management understanding and techniques developed to manage the various resources—forests, water, agriculture, energy, and minerals as well as people. The effect is to synthesize the various knowledge and develop managers who can manage many resources individually or together. The understanding includes complex systems approaches, tradeoffs, and uncertainty; techniques include annual and multi-year “windows of opportunity,” seasonal considerations, calculating sustainability, inventory methods, projection methods, developing and tracking project timelines and budgets, tradeoff analyses, understanding costs & depreciation, continuous quality improvement, adaptive management, and others. Specific resources covered in the course are landforms, water (flooding, irrigation, flow, fisheries), people (age, culture, education, etc.), infrastructure (transportation, land ownerships, etc.), wildlife, grazing & agriculture, timber, biodiversity, hazard protection, recreation, and urban/rural interface.
“Seminar in Environmental and Natural Resource Leadership” gives graduate students a good grasp of issues that they will face as they move into leadership positions. A leadership position is where a person is responsible for outcomes but needs the help of others to accomplish them. By having this grasp, and how to deal with the issues, the student will be able to make the transition to leadership more smoothly. The course includes field trips to New York City and Washington, D.C., to visit financial, foundation, government, ENGO, and private industry leaders. Course material covers transactional VS transformational leaders; mental models; communicating; decision analysis; strategic planning (core competencies, segmenting, strategic allies); organizations; addressing conflict, personalities, cultures; groupthink; “ball-park figures;” time lines & budgeting; dealing with mistakes; firing & laying off people; motivating people; keeping and organization moving; transitioning; sunsetting.
I teach my early specialty in Forest Stand Dynamics as mid-career courses; however, it is extremely well covered as a graduate course by Professor Ann Camp.
I also coordinate and teach mid-career Executive Courses in Forestry, covering many of the current issues but keeping them in context of the scientific realities and resource limitations. The course is intended for industry, policy, ENGO, and financial personnel, so that all groups can engage in an informed level of discourse at future encounters.