As a professor of geology at a small liberal arts college, I view my teaching as a means to help prepare students for their next step – be
it graduate school or a job with a local non-profit organization or perhaps an extended bout of world travel. Regardless of the post–Macalester trajectory, I want students who take my courses to feel as though they were challenged to think critically and broadly.
In my introductory level courses I work to open my student's eyes to the amazing histories they can glean from an understanding
of rocks and fossils. In my upper level courses I delve deeper into the mechanics and practice of being a geologist or paleontologist,
and I strive to give my students the tools and experiences they will need if they continue on to graduate studies (and many do).
My curricular offerings at Macalester College include a variety of introductory and advanced courses. To date, I have taught three
different first-year courses (classes designed specifically for incoming first-year students): Episodes in the History
of Life, Dinosaurs,
and Vertebrate Paleobiology
. My objectives as a first-year instructor are to acclimate
students to the overall challenges of college life while improving their science literacy and writing skills. Another introductory
level course in my curriculum is History and Evolution of the Earth (GEOL 165)
, which is a required class for
geology majors. My regular upper level course offerings include Sedimentology and Stratigraphy (GEOL 265)
and Paleobiology (GEOL 300)
. I also have the occasional opportunity to teach a topics course at the advanced
level. In fall 2005 I taught a seminar style course (GEOL 394 – Advanced Topics in Sedimentology and
) that examined the Western Interior Basin. The focal point of the course was a bonebed in the
Western Interior Basin near Milbank, South Dakota.
Extended field trips are also part of my overall curriculum, and since joining the Geology Department I have led two
Geological Excursions (GEOL 201)
, and participated on two others. To date, I have traveled with my
colleagues and students during the month of January to the Bahamas (twice), Costa Rica, and most recently Big Bend
National Park in West Texas.
Finally, I also regard directing student research as an important part of my teaching
responsibilities at Macalester College. I have already served as the primary advisor for
13 senior honors theses, and four more are currently in progress (link to student research pages