Teaching Portfolio

Teaching Portfolio

As an educator, I believe that geospatial and geographic literacy provide key skills and insights essential to human flourishing and a functioning democracy. In order to create the best possible learning environments for advancing these literacies, I draw from my training in evidenced-based teaching practices and from foundational principles of critical pedagogy, open pedagogy, and constructivist learning theories.

I do not believe in ivory towers. My research on property, GIScience, and human-environment relations informs my courses. In addition, my understanding of teaching and learning emphasizes praxis, community building, and applied research. These emphases are informed by theory, but also by my lived experiences teaching as a Bonner Scholar, Americorps member, Peace Corps volunteer, agricultural workshop leader in Central Africa, ESL teacher, librarian creating resources for refugees, and years in post-secondary education. These diverse teaching experiences inform my practice and belief that fulfilling our potential as educators and mentors (aiming for teaching excellence) requires lifelong reflection on and evolution of our skill sets and teaching approaches. This reflection and evolution has allowed me to expand my own teaching skills and take on progressively more leadership roles within my institutions and discipline.

My career as a professional educator began in 2010, when I accepted a permanent position as a College Professor in the Department of Geography at Okanagan College. Through the dozens of courses that I taught, my student reviews always emphasized that I respected them. Indeed, by listening to the students, I learned how to become a better educator. At the college, I also developed and managed environmental studies programming, represented my colleagues, and mentored many students as a Department Chair and the Director of Environmental Studies. In 2013, I finished my own PhD in Geography at McGill University. In 2016, after six-years teaching post-secondary courses, I became a postdoctoral teaching fellow at UBC Geography. In this fellowship, I trained in and implemented evidence-based teaching strategies, collaborated on innovative experiential learning projects, assisted with curriculum and course revisions in the UBC Environment & Sustainability major, and managed teams of researchers engaged in SoTL for geography and environmental science. At the university, I also taught courses on environmental management and GIScience that were recognized by student teaching awards. Institutional and international media featured our innovative coursework and my advocacy of and work on open education pedagogical approaches. Recent fellowships funded by the Hewlett Foundation (Open Education Research Fellow) and the B.C. provincial government (BCcampus Faculty Fellow) support my continued research on and advocacy for innovation in pedagogy.

Below, I have included some elements of my teaching portfolio. I appreciate any feedback you might want to share with me as this teaching portfolio is a constantly evolving work.

Statement of Teaching and Learning Philosophy

I believe that the statement of teaching and learning philosophy is best conceived of as a conversation. Conversations can be improved by involving fellow educators and learners. So, my statement is publicly available in its entirety here and I welcome comments.

Teaching Awards and Educational Distinctions

  • 2016-2017 William and Flora Hewlett Foundation Open Education Resources Fellow
  • 2016 BCcampus Open Education Faculty Fellow
  • 2012 UBC Teaching Honor Roll Award
  • 2011 UBC Teaching Honor Roll Award

Media Coverage

Courses Taught

Courses that I have developed and taught (often multiple times) are below. My course materials are open education resources (OERs) as defined by the five rights (the rights to reuse, remix, redistribute, revise, and retain). If you would like access to course archives or course outlines, just let me know.

  1. Advanced Issues in Geographic Information Science (GEOB 370 – UBC Vancouver)
  2. Environmental Impact Assessment (GEOG 319 – UBC Vancouver)
  3. Human Geography: Space, Place and Community (GEOG 128 – Okanagan College)
  4. Human Geography: Resources, Development and Society (GEOG 129 – Okanagan College)
  5. Food and Society (GEOG 201 – Okanagan College)
  6. Introduction to Environmental Issues (GEOG 210 – Okanagan College)
  7. Regional Geography of British Columbia (GEOG 217 – Okanagan College)
  8. The Canadian Landscape (GEOG 224 – Okanagan College)
  9. Geographic Data Analysis (Spatial Statistics) (GEOG 270 – Okanagan College)
  10. Introduction to Cartography, GIS and Remote Sensing (GEOG 272 – Okanagan College)
  11. Environment and Resources (GEOG 310 – UBC-Okanagan)
  12. Geography of Conflict (GEOG 515 – McGill University)
  13. Environmental and Resource-Based Conflict Management (HUMS 653 – RRU)
  14. Environmental Science (EESC 101 – Okanagan College)

Reflections on Teaching and Learning

I am an educator and learner, so naturally many of the posts on this website address topics and tools for teaching and learning. Below is a sample of posts on these topics:

Service: Student Supervision

  • Open Source GIScience using QGIS: Elissa Liu.
  • The Scholarship of Teaching and Learning: Miriam Katz.
  • Creation of FieldPress – an open source plugin for managing fieldtrips on WordPress: Kimi Shen. http://fieldpress.ca
  • Spatial forensics statistical models for locating missing persons (in collaboration with JPAC-MIL/ORISE) (graduate & undergraduate research): Justina Leestolz, Justin Serpa
  • Critical discourse analysis of agricultural land debates (graduate research – UBCO): Robyn Bunn
  • Farmland protection in British Columbia: a critical examination of the role and effects of the
  • Agricultural Land Commission’s application process (graduate research – UNBC): Lou-Anne Daoust-Filiatrault
  • Comparative case study of Alberta and British Columbia agricultural land use planning (graduate research – UNBC): Katelan Eistetter
  • Graduate student research advisor (multiple student theses – data collection, analysis, and editing) at the State Islamic University Sunan Kalidjaga Yogyakarta, School of Islamic Social Work. Yogyakarta, Indonesia.
  • Agricultural education institutional resources in the Okanagan (undergraduate research): Eric Ketchell, Katia Plotnikoff, Amy Wagner

Service: Teaching and Learning Innovation

I collaborate with colleagues to maintain the below websites that enhance teaching and learning in geography and environmental science, promote open educational practices, and host student public scholarship: