Environmental Studies 1050 – Perspectives on Sustainability. Western Michigan University. (2022)
This course offers an interdisciplinary exploration of sustainability with both its promises and paradoxes. Starting with a foundation in the modern concept of sustainability and its origins, the course examines sustainability at a variety of scales and contexts through the lenses of politics, economics, physical and life sciences, history, political ecology, land use and planning, social justice, and a variety of biotic and abiotic systems. Explorations include natural resource extraction, pollution and waste, climate change, energy, infrastructure, water, transportation, and other topics. This course satisfies WMU Essential Studies Level 2: Exploration and Discovery – Science and Technology Category.
Environmental Studies 2050 – Nature, Society, and Sustainability. Western Michigan University. (2019-22)
The mission of ENVS 2050 is to provide a rich examination of society’s changing relationships with the natural world and our evolving knowledge of those changes. This course is an interdisciplinary survey of environmental topics, with an emphasis on our Michigan and Great Lakes setting, introducing you to key environmental problems, ideas, and issues. The gateway course for majors and minors in the ENVS program, this class is reading and writing intensive.
Environmental Studies 3400 – Environmental Policy. Western Michigan University. (2022)
This course provides a broad overview of environmental politics and policy by exploring policy formation at the national and international levels, with an emphasis on the United States and North America. Students will gain an understanding of how environmental issues arrive on the public agenda, the role of political institutions in making environmental policy, strategies for environmental communication, and the scientific, economic, political, and institutional forces that shape policymaking. These fundamentals of environmental politics will be utilized to understand the current framework of policies governing air, water, toxics, public lands, energy, and climate change.
·Environmental Studies 4500 – Campus Climate Change Adaptation and Mitigation. Western Michigan University.
This senior seminar focuses on climate action, carbon emissions adaptation/mitigation, and sustainability at the local level: the City of Kalamazoo. The first part of the semester will consist of readings, class discussions, meeting with city officials, and various assignments: we will look at the recent Kalamazoo Community Sustainability Plan (CSP), plans from other cities in the region, and the Michigan Healthy Climate Plan. During the second part of the semester students will focus on designing a carbon emissions reduction project linked to the Kalamazoo Community Sustainability Plan.
·Environmental Studies 4500 – Campus Climate Change Adaptation and Mitigation. Western Michigan University.
This senior seminar focuses on institutional climate action and carbon emissions adaptation/mitigation with an emphasis on the WMU campus. We will look at previous WMU adaptation and mitigation strategies, as well as strategies from other campuses. The class will design a climate change/carbon emissions reduction strategy for WMU in consultation with the official campus Carbon Neutrality Committee.
Environmental Studies 4500 – The Nature of College. Western Michigan University.
This capstone seminar used James Farrell’s book The Nature of College as a starting point. Students mapped the environmental impacts of the items and activities in their daily routine, and then did a group sustainability project concerning Western Michigan University in 2020.
Environmental Studies/Freshwater Studies 5400 – Michigan Water Issues. Western Michigan University.
This senior seminar for the Freshwater Science and Sustainability major examines major water issues in Michigan: Flint Water Crisis; Nestle and groundwater withdrawals; Great Lakes; water shutoffs in Detroit; Line 5 Pipeline; PFAS issues; Kalamazoo River Oil Spill; Superfund sites, etc. This course is reading and writing intensive – students read a variety of publications (e.g., books, articles, laws) and complete a range of writing assignments, including a major water policy paper.
Environmental Studies/Freshwater Studies 5400 – U.S. Freshwater Policy. Western Michigan University.
This hybrid seminar (online and in-person) for the Freshwater Science and Sustainability major focuses primarily on federal and state freshwater policies in the United States, but also engages regional, local, and global water resources issues. Themes examined include quantity and quality, groundwater and surface water, water law, federalism, policy formulation processes, foreign policy and environmental diplomacy, municipal water supplies, bottled water, water privatization, water and energy, etc. Engaging the fields of political science and political ecology, as well as history, law, and international relations, this course addresses the historical evolution of water policy and consider contemporary and future questions. This course is reading and writing intensive – students read a variety of publications (e.g., books, articles, laws) and complete a range of writing assignments, including a major water policy paper.
Environmental Studies 4500 – The Flint Water Crisis. Western Michigan University. This seminar examines environmental issues connected to the Flint Water Crisis. This senior seminar examines the long-term history that led to the structural inequality that made the Flint Water Crisis possible, delves into the events, policies, and processes that directly caused the crisis, and considers how to move forward. The concepts of environmental justice, racism, and ethics are central to this seminar, which also explores other themes such as public health and toxins; governance and democracy; and the role of the media; and scientific uncertainty, citizen science, and the politicization of expertise. An experiential learning approach is incorporated, including a tour of Flint, and meetings with experts on the crisis. Students do readings based on scientific and government reports, as well as academic publications, and produce a final research project.
Environmental Studies 4500 – The Kalamazoo River. Western Michigan University.
This course is a place-based senior seminar that uses the local river to examine key environmental issues. The course centers on the Kalamazoo River as a both a Superfund site (from paper mills) and the site of the 2010 oil spill, one of the largest inland oil spills in US history. An experiential learning approach is incorporated, as the class does walking and kayak tours of various sites, and meets with public and private sector officials (e.g., local, state, and federal environmental officials).
Environmental Studies/Freshwater Studies 4010 – Great Lakes Water Policy. Western Michigan University.
This hybrid course (online and in-person) for the Freshwater Science and Sustainability major examines water policy and governance in the Great Lakes basin, particularly water quantity and water quality, as well as connected issues such as invasive species. It covers the historical development of Great Lakes water policies over the 20th century, and engages more recent policies, contemporary issues, and future challenges. As the Great Lakes are a bioregion and resource shared between two countries, this course considers the transborder implications, looking at both the American and Canadian governments, and states and provinces. The role of the International Joint Commission is also a central concern. This course is reading and writing intensive – students read a variety of publications (e.g., books, articles, laws) and complete a range of writing assignments, including a major policy paper.
Environmental Studies/Freshwater Studies 4500 – Great Lakes Water Policy. Western Michigan University.
This course examines water policy and governance in the Great Lakes basin, particularly water quantity and water quality, as well as connected issues such as invasive species. It covers the historical development of Great Lakes water policies over the 20thCentury, and engage more recent policies, contemporary issues, and future challenges. As the Great Lakes are a bioregion and resource shared between two countries, this course considers the transborder implications, looking at both the American and Canadian federal governments, as well as the provinces of Ontario and Quebec and the eight Great Lakes states. The role of the International Joint Commission is also a central concern. This course is reading and writing intensive – students read a variety of publications (e.g., books, articles, laws) and complete a range of writing assignments, including a major policy paper.
Environmental Studies 1100/2050 – Nature, Society, and Sustainability. Western Michigan University.
This course is an interdisciplinary introduction to the study of environmental studies designed for majors and minors in the program. Through a survey of environmental topics, students will examine changing human relationships to the nonhuman world, diverse approaches to environmental problems, and environmental literature from the humanities to the sciences. The course is reading and writing intensive, and also includes a required weekend camping trip. From 2014 until 2019 this class was a 1000-level course titled Introduction to Nature and Society but as of 2019 it became a 2000-level course.
History 3409 – United States in the 20th Century. Carleton University.
Designed a course examining the history of the United States from the 1900s to the 1990s with an emphasis on how political, international economic, environmental, and social developments shaped the conditions, attitudes, and values of present-day America. Subjects to be discussed in readings and in class include the Progressive Era, First World War, the Roaring Twenties, the Great Depression, Roosevelt’s New Deal, Second World War, Cold War, Civil Rights movement, the Vietnam War, Great Society, the student protest and counterculture movements of the 1960s, and social changes in recent decades.
Sociology 4310 – Globalization and the Environment. University of Ottawa.
Designed a course addressing the relations between social, cultural, economic and political globalization and the natural environment, with a particular emphasis on transnational water issues. This course pays special attention to cultural ideas about the environment, social movements, expert and local/traditional knowledges, and the attempts of major institutional actors such as states and corporations to navigate the dynamic between economic and environmental globalization.
History 3104 – Ontario Since Confederation. University of Ottawa.
Designed a course on the history of Ontario since Confederation. This course examines the pertinent political social, economic, political, cultural, and environmental aspects of the province’s history since 1867. Subjects discussed in readings and in class include federalism, Ontario-Quebec relations, Ontario Hydro and energy, etc.
Canadian Studies 4400 – Canadian Cultural Landscapes. Carleton University.
Designed and taught a seminar on cultural landscape appreciation and the development of Canadian individual and collective cultural identities, through the lenses of environmental history and studies, cultural geography, heritage and public history, planning and architecture, and representational/literary sources. Cultural landscapes are analyzed as a tool for understanding physical and mental landscapes and their shaping of identity, and vice versa. These include Indigenous landscapes, major Canadian parks such as Banff, rivers and waterfalls such as Niagara and the St. Lawrence, Acadian and prairie settlement, and historic cities. Students utilize official cultural landscape reports from the National Capital Commission to engage and evaluate sites in Ottawa.
First Year Program 187D (Canadian Studies) – The St. Lawrence River & Seaway. St. Lawrence University.
Co-designed and co-taught (with Robert Thacker, Charles A. Dana Professor of Canadian Studies) a Canadian Studies course in the First Year Program (FYP) program that focuses on the transnational history and culture of the St. Lawrence valley. FYP is a unique co-taught interdisciplinary course which is the keystone of St. Lawrence University’s liberal arts education, with students taking the course from all disciplines across the arts and sciences. Teaching in the FYP also involves acting as the adviser for students. This course involves both a lecture and seminar component, as well as a field trips in the St. Lawrence Valley.
History 4302S/5312S – Canadian Environmental History. Carleton University.
In this Honours/graduate seminar students engaged not only the wider environmental history of Canada, and North America, but field trips in and around Ottawa allowed students to connect readings and ideas with place and practice. Given the abundance of water in Canada, and the range of canals and hydro-electric developments close to Ottawa, the theme of water in Canadian history received special attention. Students were required to do extensive readings, present to the group, produce a major paper based on primary source research, and do either a community environmental history paper, a digital humanities project, or a historiographical paper.
History 3904B – U.S.-Canadian Environmental Relations. Carleton University.
Designed and taught a third-year course on the history of environmental relations between the United States and Canada that connected both transnational and environmental history. Focusing on the bilateral relationship since the 19th century, students learned about the key role natural resources and environmental issues have played in the Canadian-American relationship. The course dealt with issues such as the International Joint Commission (IJC), especially those connected to boundary waters such as the St. Lawrence Seaway and Power Project, the Great Lakes, and the Columbia River treaty. In addition, it also dealt with a wide range of other issues such as air pollution, fisheries, oil/gas, the Arctic, and acid rain. This course involved training at Library and Archives Canada, and students were strongly encouraged to use primary sources for their research papers.
History 2100 – The Historian’s Craft. University of Ottawa.
Designed and taught a second-year course on historiography and historical research methods. For this course, I helped develop a pilot program with the Education Division of Library and Archives Canada (LAC) to introduce and familiarize university students with archival sources and research methods, which involved the students attending three classes at LAC and submitting assignments based on their archival research. I also elected to utilize the Experiential Learning Service (ESL) option, whereby students could choose to undertake a community-based historical research project – Community Learning Service (CLS) – with non-profit organizations (museum, archive, community association, etc.), an opportunity that allowed students to apply their historical studies to real-world situations in ways that benefit their community.
Graduate Student Supervision
Jessica Helps, M.A. Major Research Paper, “Tying the Nation Together from Railroads to Pipelines: Articulating the Nationalisms of Canadian Oil and Gas, 1946-1956,” School of Canadian Studies, Carleton University (completed 2014). Co-supervisor.
Peter Kitay, M.A. Major Research Paper: “Hydraulic Imperialism: An Environmental History of Treaty No. 9 and Lake Abitibi (1896-1919),” School of Canadian Studies, Carleton University (completed 2014). Co-supervisor.
Honors Thesis Supervision
Lindsay Makos, “What’s Wrong with the Tap? Examining the Tap Water and Bottled Water at Western Michigan University.” Lee Honors College, Western Michigan University (completed 2018). Thesis Chair.