Teaching Philosophy

I have been extremely lucky to work under and learn from an incredible collection of mentors who have shaped my world-view and research style. My academic experience has been influenced by professors who emphasized thorough scientific investigation, a collaborative atmosphere, and the importance of teaching in scholarship. I am continuously inspired by the work ethic and intellectual enthusiasm demonstrated by those I work with, and I try to pass that enthusiasm on to my own students. 



Sedimentology and Stratigraphy

I taught sed strat many times at several different universities. Classes have included local field trips in Wisconsin, Idaho and Arizona as well as longer adventures to South Dakota, Arkansas/Missouri, Nevada, Utah, and California. I think sedimentology is best learned through a combination of time spend in modern river/marginal marine environments, watching bed forms migrate in real time combined withe large-scale outcrop exposures that give 3D views of both large- and small-scale sedimentary structures.

I had a great time teaching a block for Colorado College in the Spring of 2015. The class included a 2 week field trip around New Mexico moving from the Raton Basin at the CO/NM border, to the Caballo Range in southwestern NM, east to the Permian Reef, Carlsbad Caverns and the Delaware Basin before a long trip north to learn about volcanoclastic depositional systems near the Valles Caldera. 

Earth History/Historical Geology

I have taught Historical Geology as both  a capstone class (400 level), after the majority of other geology classes have been taken, and as a second introduction (usually just after the required GEOS 100 class) to geology. Since my main focus is on sedimentology and tectonics I like to use the geologic history of North America, starting with the Archean core and working both out (looking at accretionary history) and up (stratigraphically!), as a recurring theme in a Historical class. I think it is incredibly important for my students to have an understanding of both the local geology where they live/work and the geologic history of North America.

Field Camp

I have taught field camp at various times in New Mexico, Montana, and Idaho. I think field camp is an incredibly important formative experience for undergraduate geologist when they are able to fully immerse themselves in the geology and learn to work well with others. I find that starting students with detailed (old school) field mapping for early projects and then "graduating them" to the digital world, where they will fully utilize technology (GSP and GIS). They are required to produce both a paper field map and a final digital map at the end of each exercise. The initial period of time where students are forced to read the topography to both locate themselves and geologic structures is paramount to their spacial growth and understanding of a regional geologic system.

Western US (and beyond!) Seminar

The best geologist is the one who has seen the most rocks! To add to that common sentiment, the best place to see rocks is in their natural habitat! Hand samples have their place, but so much of the depth and grandeur of the Earth is only captured in the mountains and valleys that tell its story. I have been luck enough to attend or teach seminar-style classes throughout the western US and parts of Central (Guatemala and Belize) and South America (Argentina) and they will hopefully remain a part of my curriculum no matter where I end up teaching. Regional and international field trips are incredibly effective not only as learning tools, but also as bonding exercises for students and professors alike. Seminar trips seem to be where friendships and future collaborations (and new project ideas!) are born. 

Future Classes

Geology of North America

Basin Analysis