Approach to Teaching

In the 21st century we humans need to find new ways of relating to each other and to the planet we live on - evidence supports the conclusion that many existing relationships in both modern and traditional societies are not sustainable, even into the near future. The focus of all courses I teach is how to search for new ways of relating, based on both objective science and subjective values. My main area of expertise in both research and teaching is agriculture, with a current focus on diet change, food justice, and local food as solutions to the food-climate-health-equity crisis.

Students learn to identify and question the assumptions underlying different definitions of environmental and social problems and of proposed solutions, and to develop their own conclusions about the nature of the problem and the best solutions. To do this, we study the biophysical and sociocultural effects of human actions and technologies, our knowledge of the world and how we acquire it, and how this knowledge is affected by values, experiences and methods. I emphasize cooperation in the classroom and evaluate students on how well they achieve stated objectives (I do not grade on a curve).

Courses most recently created and taught at UCSB

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