Teaching

I have taught nine different primatology and anthropology courses in several settings, including the research university, private liberal arts college, online, and study abroad settings. I have also taught Wilderness First Aid courses that resulted in certification by the Safety & Health Institute. I have served as Limited Term Lecturer for Purdue University for five academic years between 2012 and 2021, during which time I taught four different courses for them. I taught for Ball State University as an Instructor, teaching one lab course, one lecture course, and an international field course five times, from 2005 to 2011. I also served as a Visiting Lecturer for Colorado College three times between 2017 and now.

For the majority of the courses I have taught, I have been responsible for development of the curriculum, including choosing course texts and course content. As a graduate student, I co-designed a study abroad field course that was offered by Ball State University and co-taught it for the university for five years. That course was also approved for credit from Purdue University for 2011. In 2016 I was certified by the American Safety and Health Institute (now Safety and Health Institute) to teach Wilderness First Aid, and taught this as an additional component of my field primatology courses.

The core of my teaching philosophy is simple: make it personally useful. Most students I teach will never be employed as primatologists or even anthropologists. A large proportion of students in even many upper level courses are not majoring in that discipline. For example, most students in my last course on the great apes had no plans of working with great apes in their future careers; they simply thought great apes seemed interesting. Because of this, I make it a goal that my courses not only expose students to the range of academic knowledge on the topics covered, but that students comprehend how this knowledge can inform their daily lives, from policymaking to shopping for groceries.

I have received consistently positive feedback from student evaluations. Below are quotes from students who participated in my field course, either from course evaluations or from unsolicited messages they sent to me:
• I wanted to say thank you for organizing the primatology course and for the unforgettable experience. I will keep you updated on my thesis work and my future trip to Gombe, and maybe I will even see you at the PEGG conference next year! – 2017
• The Primates of South Africa trip was my very first experience traveling internationally, and I wouldn’t have wanted it any other way! The experience was fun, rewarding, challenging, and it taught me more about myself than I ever expected. The instructors and everyone we worked with were extremely knowledgeable and helpful, and I made many lasting, wonderful memories with old friends as well as people I just met. On top of all of that, this is going to look wonderful on an application to grad school, as well as an application for the Peace Corps. I learned many valuable fieldwork techniques, and was able to get a feel for the challenges and rewards of actual fieldwork. – 2014
• Thank you so much for your dedication, hard work, and support throughout our time in South Africa. We appreciate all that you have done and taught us. We’ll always value the skills and knowledge that we’ve acquired here. We would not have had this opportunity without you. Thank you for organizing this. – Primate Field School Students, 2011 (a group note written from the students at the end of the course)
• I just want to say that it was an amazing experience and that you should continue to offer this course for as long as possible. I had high expectations and they were greatly surpassed. – 2009
• Learning environment: great! Safety: I felt safe at all times. – 2007
• Effective, wonderful learning environment – felt very safe. – 2007

The following two comments were cards I received from students during the course I taught at Colorado College (AN207: Primate Behavior, Ecology, and Conservation):
• Thank you for an awesome class. I am having so much fun and learning a lot. The zoo days were so cool! – 2017
• This class has been so much fun! You made this block so cool & interesting! We appreciate all you’ve done! – 2017

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