Field

I have had the pleasure of participating in many field teaching experiences.

Having fun with students in the Global Health course following a medicinal plant walk with a traditional healer.

Having fun with students in the Global Health semester course following a medicinal plant walk with a traditional healer.

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.

OTS students collecting tadpole predators during a Faculty Led Project in the researcher's swamp at La Selva.

OTS students collecting tadpole predators with me during a Faculty Led Project in the researcher’s swamp at La Selva.

In 2013-2017, I co-taught 4 rounds of the OTS Fundamentals graduate course with Dr. Jane Zelikova or with Dr. Patricia Salerno. 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.

2014-3 OTS Graduate course in tropical ecology

2014-3 OTS Graduate course in tropical ecology

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.

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