University of South Dakota
I recently began an appointment as an assistant professor of sustainability at the University of South Dakota in Vermillion, SD. I will be coordinating and teaching the core courses for the new undergraduate sustainability major that USD is beginning in Fall 2012.
My research interests are in prairie ecology, agroecology, managed prairie systems, and bioenergy cropping systems.
My academic training is in plant ecology and sustainable agriculture.
Using concept mapping to experientially introduce systems thinking part of Integrate:Workshops:Systems, Society, Sustainability and the Geosciences:Activities
This activity was developed as an introduction to systems thinking where the students use concept mapping to explore a complex issue, such as ethanol production from corn grain. After a very brief introduction to systems thinking and ethanol production from corn grain, the students were given a broad question from which to develop a concept map (e.g. How does the production of ethanol from corn grain affect agriculture, the environment, energy production, and government policies). As a class, the instructor and students develop a concept map based on their collective knowledge of factors that affect any component of the map (e.g. ethanol production increases corn prices, which increases the amount of corn grown on the landscape, which could increase the amount of nitrate flowing into water bodies, etc.). Interactions and feedbacks among components of the map should be explicitly considered and highlighted. Following the mapping exercise, the students pick one problem identified in the concept map, and examine how methods of fixing that problem have rippling - and often unintended - consequences throughout the map.
Using process-focused assessments for teaching sustainability part of Integrate:Workshops:Systems, Society, Sustainability and the Geosciences:Essays
Meghann Jarchow, Interdepartmental - sustainability, University of South Dakota Thinking about how we assess students is as important as the methods that we use to convey the course content. I think that most ...