I love teaching, and am always up to trying anything new, interesting, and daring that helps people learn better. I was an early embracer of the challenge and special opportunities of online education, and currently teach about half my classes in virtual classrooms.
Most of my other courses and training efforts are experiential in some fashion, such as research practica where I work with class of undergrads to design and execute real, publishable research projects from start to finish. I recognize that most people learn fastest and best when they get fully immersed in the problem at hand, and the importance of teaching theory but constantly connecting it to concrete skills development. In 2019-20, my practicum class. is working together on designing and doing a study looking at how reliance on some devalued forms of drinking water signals poverty and low status, and as such is stigmatized.
To me, then, there is no need for any distinction between research and teaching. I bring students into our research, and our research into the classroom. Our team even does research on how to best innovate our teaching, and we involve our students in that.
I am a massive study abroad proponent; done well it is the most powerful pedagogical tools we have. Over the last 30 years I have developed and lead award-winning health and sustainability themed study abroad programs in eleven countries (New Zealand, Australia, Fiji, UK, China, Switzerland, Antartica, France, Belize, India, France), many of which have been subsequently copied by other institutions. In the summers, I also engage our students in own anthropological fieldwork, inviting them to join our projects on the ground to get an experience in doing anthropology. Students can also learn about the research process in the lab too, and I created a large lab-based undergraduate research apprenticeship program for our School that is going strong, and has to date served 1000s of our students.
In mentoring graduate students and post docs, the focus is on helping develop sophisticated skill sets and provide multiple experiences working collaboratively on team projects through the Culture, Health, and Environment Lab. This means grad students will work with an array of faculty on ongoing projects, while also developing their own specific domains of expertise within that team. Our advanced lab members tend to advance rapidly and successfully into their own careers, with strong publication records, experience mentoring others, and a proven ability to work well in diverse teams.
My major undergrad current teaching project (now through 2023) is redesigning how we teach a fully integrated Introduction to Anthropology in the new millennium. I am excited by our instructional dream team on this effort that includes cultural anthropologist Amber Wutich, archaeologist Kelly Knudson, biological anthropologist Chris Stojanowski, anthropological linguist Cindi StrutzSreetharan, and our editor Jake Schindel at Norton Publishers.
Here are some pics of my students learning-by-doing over the last 3 decades.