Refracting Environmentalism Project: “Using GIS to engage undergraduate students in the cycle of research, teaching and scholarship”
This is a presentation that Janine Glather (Bucknell University GIS Specialist) and two of my student research assistants, Nicole Bakeman and Jaclyn Tules, gave about our faculty-student research project at the AAG (American Association of Geographers) conference in April 2015. The research project in which Nicole, Jaclyn, other student researchers, and my classes engaged in with me is “Refracting Environmentalism: A View of ‘Fractivism’ through an Anti-Incinerator Campaign in Central Pennsylvania” (see the ‘Current Research Projects’ page on this site).
Janine and I worked collaboratively to transform the data my research group collected into an online interactive learning tool and spatial analysis (GIS) labs for my ENST302 Environmental Studies Research Design course required for majors. ENST302 students were also invited to help conduct pilot survey interviews and participant-observation research during the September 2014 Climate March in NYC (8 students participated and conducted interviews) and a Lycoming College phone survey for my project. The ENST302 students were able to watch a research project unfold, take part in the data collection, and learn how to do spatial and survey quantitative analysis using the results. It was the most effective research design and methods learning experience I have been able to share with my students in the classroom to date, in real time as I conducted it. As of spring 2015, I have four students working with me using a wide variety of social science methods, preparing the interactive public maps, creating on online activist survey, and coding and mapping qualitative interview narratives. Nicole Bakeman is continuing to do work on the shale drilling/tire incinerator activism research project with me during the summer 2015. This year, a first-year Presidential Fellow, Adriana DiSilvestro, joined my research team and is now doing digital mapping and analysis (GIS) training to help me replicate this public interactive map approach with my Central Asia research.
Since 2007, when I first joined the Bucknell faculty, I have worked with students in a variety of my courses, independent studies, honors theses, and research projects to compile information about environmental issues and eco-politics in Central Eurasia. In total, this group of students has been dubbed the Central Eurasian Environmental and Aral Studies Research Group (CEEAS). The website presenting this student research is a learning tool and work in progress; it can be found here.
Susquehanna Valley Summer Writer’s Institute Marcellus Shale Stories
During the summer 2010, I worked with Prof. Alf Siewers (English) to coordinate the Susquehanna Valley Summer Writer’s Institute (SVSWI), which involved guiding 5 students in conducting ethnographic, place-based research in the Marcellus Shale region in the Susquehanna watershed. Here you can read the creative essays they wrote based on two months of listening to residents tell their stories of how this natural gas extraction boom is transforming communities and cultural landscapes. You can also browse the GIS map (snapshot below) of the photos, videos, and audio recordings our students collected in various Pennsylvania communities.
Courses I Teach
In the Environmental Studies Program at Bucknell University, I regularly teach the following courses. Most of these are cross-listed either with the Political Science Department, International Relations Department or both.
- Water Politics
- Environmental Politics & Policy
- Nationalism, Identity, and Nature (or Nationalism, Conflict, and Nature)
- Environmental Injustice
- Environmental Studies Research Design
- Contentious Waters (in the first-year Global Residential College – teaching in Fall 2015)
- International Environmental Aid (Senior Seminar)
- Introduction to Environmental Studies
- Environmental Issues in Transitional Countries (Senior Capstone)
Previously, I have taught a variety of environment and development studies and political science courses, including: Public Policy and Markets in Central Eurasia; International Water Policy; International Environmental Policy; Political Economy & the Environment; Gender, Development and Environment; Comparative Public Policy; Public Policy Clinic (Internship Course); Introduction to International Relations; International Political Economy (IPE); Principles of International Relations; Classics of Political Science (MA course); American Foreign Policy; American National Government; Honors Senior Thesis Seminar; Development & Human Rights; Statistics in Environmental Policy (MA).