My teaching is a combination of undergraduate and graduation instruction, in addition to the mentoring of Masters and Doctoral students as they pursue theses and dissertations. My CV lists the students that I have mentored over the years, with the current institution that my former PhD students are now associated.  My teaching interests are in geo-spatial data and technologies with a focus on GIS, remote sensing, spatial analysis, and spatial, ecological and statistical models, including Agent Based Models and Dynamic Systems Models.

Below are course syllabi for a selected undergraduate courses that I regularly teach: Geography 089 – First Year Seminar on Island Sustainability; Geography 269 – Human-Environment Interactions in the Galapagos Islands.


Course Overview

The emphasis of the course will be on the geography of islands and island archipelagos and the social, political, economic, cultural, and environmental forces of change. Cultural encounters, innovation, struggle, adaptation, identity, and representation in indigenous, colonial, and post-colonial histories of islands also will be examined. In addition, the pressures and circumstances of islands will be studied through a focus on the forces of globalization. Island type and island site and situation will be examined through several theoretical lenses, including, bio-complexity, political ecology, island biogeography, and land change science, to assess contemporary conditions and future trajectories of change. Island populations, communities, economic sectors, with an emphasis on tourism, as well as ecosystem goods and services and climate change, will be considered through the use of global island databases for characterizing and comparing islands within a multi-dimensional context. Case studies will be used to emphasize similarities and differences among islands of diverse settings and circumstances. The course will also assess the typology and genesis of islands, for instance, continental, oceanic, barrier, tidal, coral, and artificial islands. Further, island archipelagos, such as, Hawaii and Galapagos, will be examined as emblematic of alternate strategies of development and conservation. The central goals of the course are to assess islands, the forces that have sustained and changed them, the social-ecological processes that shape them, and the possible future trajectories of change that threaten their social-ecological sustainability.



Course Description

In the class, we bring together social, natural, and marine sciences to consider a new “Island Biocomplexity,” one capable of understanding and meeting the challenges of the 21st century. Island Biocomplexity combines social-ecological co-evolution and adaptive resilience with a new island biogeography that incorporates human impacts to study coupled human-natural systems. Biocomplexity is described as the “properties emerging from the interplay of behavioral, biological, chemical, physical, and social interactions that affect, sustain, or are modified by living organisms, including human. It encompasses the complex interactions within and among ecological systems, the physical systems on which they depend, and the human systems with which they interact.

PART 1 examines a group of environmental factors that shape and re-shape the Galapagos islands. Chief among them is volcanism, ocean currents, climate, plate tectonics, continental drift, disturbances, land cover/land use change, soil formation, invasive species, and evolutionary forces of change. PART 2 examines the human dimension and the social forces of change that alter life, culture, and the socio-economic conditions in the Galapagos Islands. Through population migration, tourism, human settlement, socio-economic sectors of development, urbanization, agriculture, governance, and policies and programs related to the protected status of the Galapagos Islands, change has been directly related to the “peopling” of the islands and the trajectories of change. PART 3 examines other similarly challenged island ecosystems around the globe by integrating the social-ecological drivers of change in the Galapagos Islands and their applicability to other small islands and their change trajectories. PART 4 examines the use of spatial simulations and agent-based models (ABMs) to examine “what if” scenarios of social-ecological change in the Galapagos Islands represent realistic landscape conditions, social interactions, and environmental dynamics.