Indy on Teaching

I find teaching to be exceptionally rewarding and, despite my current position in administration, I am committed to continuing to teach at some level. I am a big believer in connecting content to current events as possible. I seek to actively engage  students with each other in the field and classroom, and to be flexible in course design to accomodate changing student perspectives and interests. 

I have been honored to receive several teaching awards:


  • 2004–05 National Academy of Sciences Education Fellow in the Life Science
  • 1993–98 National Science Foundation Presidential Faculty Fellow Award


  • 2012 Promoting Intellectual Engagement Award, University of Wyoming
  • 2008 University Distinguished Teaching Scholar, Colorado State University
  • 2005 and 1989, Colorado State University Honors Professor
  • 2007 Warner College of Natural Resources Distinguished Teaching/Advising Award
  • 2000 Mortar Board Rose Award, Colorado State University


Courses I currently teach: 

Environment (ENR 1200). This is an introductory course in environmental science that I'm teaching occasionally (other Haub School faculty more frequently). It has a biological focus (satisfying the University of Wyoming's general science requirement. We take a full week in the field for lab credit in Jackson, WY, based out of the Teton Science School. During that week, we interact with natural resources professionals, including local Game and Fish managers, ranchers, and US Geological Survey Scientists, to gain context, then do our own research on grazing, water quality, and bison herds. Students develop their own questions and hypotheses, and we guide them with methods, and protocols for writing lab reports that are similar to scientific papers. We then return to campus for the course that covers the specturm of environmental sciences.

Students in this course are immersed in current environmental issues --- local to international -- and trained to think critically to separate the facts and theories (the science components), from opinions (the values component). 

 The current crop of students (above) is Awesome! 

Ecology as a Profession (ECOL 5550).  I co-teach this class with Dr. Bill Lauenroth, who is in the Botany Department. This course is aimed at preparing advanced doctoral students for successful and rewarding careers in ecology. In this course, students learn about academic and non-academic careers in ecology from readings and presentations from scientists in those positions. Students identify important steps toward planning and launching their career-paths, and skills for being effective in these positions.  Students develop their own career plan, curriculum vitae, teaching and research plans, and critiques of professional web pages.  They practice interviews with a panel of professionals.  Finally, the course exposes students to resources and opportunities for applying and polishing skills beyond this course.  

Biogeochemistry    I teach an upper level undergraduate/graduate level biogeochemistry course, as I have for many years both here and at Colorado State University. We study the interacting processes of the physical environment and biota as they influence the distribution and fluxes of biologically active elements.  We focus on processes at the scales of individual organisms, functional groups of organisms, ecosystems, and the globe. We even do a little beyond Earth!  This course synthesizes a lot of aspects of ecology and earth system science. I place a major emphasis in the course on reading current and classic literature, and on students being able to engage in discussion with each other, and with me (individually, in oral exams).  

In prior years at Colorado State University, I taught a number of courses, most recently Environmental Science and General Ecology at the undergraduate level, and Ecosystem Ecology and Biogeochemistry at the graduate level.