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PhD 1996, University of California, Santa Cruz
Teaching and Research Vision
One of the most profound changes in ecology over the last fifteen years has been a realization that academic science must do a better job of serving the public and helping inform critical societal decisions. Science that illuminates public decisions, but does not prescribe those decisions, is the vision that shapes my research, my classroom teaching, my one-on-one mentoring, and my professional service.
My research program has coalesced around the theme of informing environmental policy and strategy. This entails endangered species management, conservation investment, and environmental risk assessment. Much of my research entails analyzing data collected by others, building databases from a variety of public sources and analyzing these data, or critically evaluating alternative recommendations for environmental action.
In my teaching, I try to include in every course, regardless of level, special exercises that bring science to bear on major societal policy debates. These projects typically involve pulling together data from various web-based databases and analyzing the data in novel ways. Helping students to apply scientific thinking and quantitative skills to issues of societal relevance has become a major theme of my teaching.