My teaching practice, much like my research, often revolves around staging encounters. I aim to offer a variety of opportunities for students that open up spaces for ‘aha’ moments and help guide them through tools they can use to approach these moments. In a sense, I think of teaching as facilitating these encounters—between students and content, but also between students and the cognitive tools that help them approach that content. The idea of cognitive dissonance—in which individuals are faced with new information that may expand or stretch an existing worldview—is also important in thinking through and fostering the learning space. These moments can be precisely the points at which students become deeply engaged in their own education.
GEOG 302: Introduction to Sustainable Development (fall 2016)
In fall 2016, I taught GEOG 302 at the University of Arizona.
The 1987 Brundtland Commission defined sustainable development as that which “meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.” Sustainability is often talked about in relation to the “three E’s”: environment, equity, and economy. However, what really is sustainable development? Has the word “sustainability” been used so much that it has lost much of its meaning? In this course, we will examine the idea of sustainable development from multiple viewpoints, and gain a better understanding of the policies, strategies, and interventions that seek to balance the environment, economy, and equity. We will explore how different ideas of sustainability may be mobilized to help imagine and enact new socio-ecological futures.
Students in the course can login to the course website through d2l.
EVS 260: Environmental Studies: Ideas and Institutions (spring 2016)
In spring 2016, I taught EVS 260 at the University of Arizona.
EVS 260 explores key ideas, individuals, and institutions that have shaped environmental studies and policies in the US and globally. EVS 260 is a required core course for the BA in Environmental Studies at the University of Arizona and is also taken as part of the Sustainable Built Environments undergraduate degree. As such it is intended as an intermediate level course in environment and society that provides students with an understanding of some of the key thinkers and issues that have shaped our understanding of the environment, and serves as an introduction to the most important policies and organizations that have shaped management of the environment. We will do this through a focus on iconic problems that have been at the core of environmental debates ranging from attempts to halt the loss of biodiversity and protect public land to climate change and different approaches to managing pollution.
GEOG 407/507: The American Landscape Field Course (summer 2015)
I taught GEOG 407/507 as an experiential field course in which we traveled through the greater Southwest visiting iconic land art/earth art sites like Robert Smithson’s Spiral Jetty and Nancy Holt’s Sun Tunnels, as well as iconic Western locations such as the Grand Canyon and Glen Canyon Dam. In the course, we approached the sites we visited along the way as texts through which to explore the environmental, political, artistic, and cultural aspects of landscape.
Climate Change & Poetry
Community class at the University of Arizona Poetry Center (fall 2015)
Climate scientist Mike Hulme has written that “we need to reveal the creative, psychological, ethical and spiritual work that climate change is doing for us.” This is precisely what we’ll consider in this class, among the first of its kind offered anywhere. By blending readings of poetry with social and scientific readings of climate change, we’ll learn more about environmental poetry and about climate change, and we’ll think about how poetry and creativity may have a role in adapting to a warming world. We’ll read poetry that both directly and indirectly addresses climate change, including work by Patricia Smith, Brenda Hillman, Stephen Collis, Kathy Jetnil-Kijiner, and many others.
Narratives of climate change place it alternately as an environmental justice issue, a national and global security issue, an apocalyptic threat to life on earth, an opportunity for social change, and more. In this course, we’ll explore how poets are increasingly taking up the issue of climate change in their work, and consider how poems reflect or complicate some of these climate narratives. We will primarily be reading and discussing poetry in conjunction with climate reports and texts, but we will also incorporate some writing exercises throughout, generating our own work. The course is open to students of all skill and experience levels.
Sixty percent of course fees were donated to Watershed Management Group, a local environmental nonprofit. Eric Magrane designed and taught this course as a Climate Assessment for the Southwest (CLIMAS) Climate & Society Fellow.