While living full-time in Costa Rica from 2008-2014, I had the pleasure of participating in many field teaching experiences.
Primarily, in my role as the Director of Undergraduate Programs for the Organization for Tropical Studies from 2011-2014, I acted as an invited or resident professor in each of the 7 annual semester or summer programs offered in Tropical Biology or Global Health. While hiring and training new professors and acting as the liaison with Duke University officials who accredited our courses, I was involved each day with the curriculum development, assessment, logistics, and budgeting of the team taught field courses. I especially enjoyed opportunities to lead 2-5 day research “Faculty Led Projects”, also known as field problems. These OTS programs are ranked among the top programs in international study abroad, and supervising them was a very rewarding challenge.
In 2013-2014, I co-taught 2 rounds of the OTS Fundamentals graduate course with Dr. Jane Zelikova. This course was initiated in the 1960’s with such leaders in tropical biology as Dr. Dan Janzen and Dr. Jay Savage. We continued with the classic OTS teaching model of Faculty-Led Projects and Independent Projects dispersed across a diversity of ecosystems in Costa Rica, and added significant workshop components in statistical modeling and science communication. This course had a strong impact on my own career years ago, and has strongly impacted the careers of many of today’s tropical biologists. It is extremely rigorous and major fun.
I’ve also been a regular visiting professor in the CIEE semester program, “Sustainability and Environmental Science” and study abroad courses in Tropical Ecology at John Carroll University and Herpetology at Harvard University.