Teaching Dossier [PDF]

Why is it important to learn about the Earth and it's history?

The simplest answer is that the Earth provides virtually all the resources used by human society from the rare earth metals needed to read these words on your screen to soils for growing food to aquifers that store water to aggregate for building roads. Perhaps the answer to why Earth's history is important is less clear. The Earth is very old (~ 4.7 billion years) and quite dynamic. Fortunately for us, that history is recorded, albeit sometime cryptically, in the upper few kilometers of crust. By studying the Earth's past we can learn how many of the resources we depend upon came to be and thus predict how they may or may not be renewable. For example, by learning how petroleum resources are formed, we can learn how long it may take for them to be replenished. By studying the evolution of biodiversity from the fossil record, we can learn how significant the current human-induced extinction is and over what time scales we can expect diversity to recover, if at all.

The most important thing I want my students to learn from my courses is how to think like and earth scientist. Students, regardless or their career path, need to understand what science is and how it's done. I try to accomplish this by having students conduct original research. Student projects are manageable within the allotted time, but they are comprehensive in that they involve developing a hypothesis, data collection, data analysis and communication of results. In the process students learn the difference between testable and non-testable hypotheses and the nature of uncertainty in scientific results.

University Teaching Experience

2013 - 2016
Instructor, Department of Geological Sciences, Stanford University
GS 123/ESS 122: Invertebrate Paleobiology
GES 226: "Big Data" in Historical Earth Systems Science
2010 - 2012
Instructor, Department of Geoscience, University of Wisconsin-Madison
GEOSCI 542: Invertebrate Paleontology
GEOSCI 875: Geoscience Data Analysis
GEOSCI 940: Seminar in Paleontology
Guest Lecturer, Department of Geoscience, University of Wisconsin-Madison.
GEOSCI 110: Evolution & Extinction: 2 lectures on evolution of development and adaptation
Guest Lecturer, Department of Geoscience, University of Wisconsin-Madison.
GEOSCI 110: Evolution & Extinction: 1 lecture on the Permian mass extinction
Guest Lecturer, Department of Geoscience, University of Wisconsin-Madison.
GEOSCI 541: Paleobiology: 2 lectures on diversity and the fossil record
2005 - 2006
Adjunct Faculty, Science Department, Georgia Perimeter College, Lawrenceville.
GEOL 1121: Physical Geology Lecture
GEOL 1121L: Physical Geology Lab
2002 - 2003
Teaching Assistant, Department of Earth Sciences, University of California, Riverside.
GEO 002: The Earth's Dynamic Surface
GEO 004: Natural Hazards and Disasters
GEO 009: Oceanography

Primary & Secondary Teaching Experience

2012 - present
Directory and Mentor, History of Life Internship, Stanford University.
Develop and execute an eight-week summer research experience for twenty high school students, annualy [see Outreach]
2000 - 2003
Instructor, Maine School of Science & Mathematics Summer Camps, Limestone (Middle School).
Courses: The Time Machine, Earth Shakes and Quakes & Fun-Filled Field Ecology
2000 - 2001
Instructor, Maine School of Science & Mathematics, Limestone (High School).
Courses: Statistics, Physical Geology & Earth History

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