Teaching Statement

"If a better world is your aim, all must agree:

The best should teach"

~Lindley J. Stiles

"The mind is not a vessel that needs filling,

But wood that needs igniting"


The opportunity to share my experiences and learn from others underlies my intrinsic interest in teaching and mentoring.  From my experiences as a primary education instructor, graduate teaching assistant, and professor, I have found teaching is most enjoyable and beneficial when aligned with my expertise, real world events, and curriculum.  In that respect, I share and provide content related to: the human dimensions of natural resources, psychology and related social and behavioral sciences, research methods, and interdisciplinary practices to address social–environmental issues.

My teaching philosophy is three-fold:

I aim to help students recognize the scientific and real-world relevance of course material, and how complex ideas and concepts are reflected in management and everyday situations.  I believe an active, student-centered learning environment with real-world examples helps students recognize the necessity of social science in natural resource management and conservation.

I endeavor to develop students’ critical thinking, systems thinking, and reflection skills via the examination of the structures and processes that influence individual and group decisions and (in)actions.  I find that facilitated discussions and experiential learning activities effectively encourage these skills to develop.

I emphasize the importance of communication, interpersonal, and relationship-building skills.  It is because I believe communication is a central locus between scientific and societal concerns that I attempt to prepare students to be effective communicators.  I encourage students to gain real-world experience communicating and disseminating their interests, opinions, and work using multiple formats and mediums.

Included in my teaching philosophy is my commitment to maintain an inclusive classroom and instructional environment for students.  Maintaining an environment that exposes students to multiple perspectives and fosters an open exchange of ideas and opinions is paramount.  I believe exposing students to diverse backgrounds, cultures, and experiences fosters open, respectful discussion and strengthens their ability to communicate and interact with different people and groups.

Course Instruction  |  Current


Social Science Research Methods in Conservation

Focuses on quantitative, qualitative, and mixed method approaches to studying social aspects of conservation and the environment; how to choose and apply selective research methods; design, collection, and statistical analysis of primary and secondary data; program evaluation; reporting results; interpreting research literature; lab exercises in research design, data collection, and analysis; and the communication of research issues and findings to lay and professional audiences.

Course Instruction  |  Previous


Human Dimensions of

Natural Resources

Focuses on the relationships between humans and nature; including how societal values, ethics, behaviors, politics, and economics influence how and why natural resources are preserved, conserved, and enhanced. Introduces students to the role of social science theory and methods in natural resources management research and practice.


Communications in

Natural Resources

Focuses on communication theories, methods, and principles while developing students’ interpersonal communication skills (written, verbal, and visual) to enhance their ability to communicated with diverse audiences in the context of natural resources, conservation, and environmental sustainability.

Contemporary Natural Resources Issues

Two-week field immersion course that focuses on salient natural resources management issues like climate change, biodiversity loss, and soil and water conservation. The 2018 course traveled from the Mississippi River Delta to the Continental Divide. The 2019 course traveled the U.S. Gulf Coast from southern Louisiana to the Florida Keys.


Natural Resources Policy

Introduces student to natural resources policies and the public policy process; the purpose of public policy, how and why policies are made, who makes them, how they affect lives and resources. Students learn how to be active citizens and engage in participatory democracy for the benefit of natural resources.


Social Aspects of Natural Resource Management

Graduate course that focuses on the economic, political, and social dimensions of natural resources management and decision-making. Emphasis on natural resources valuation, human-nature relationships, natural resources communication, and environmental history.


Human Dimensions
Conservation  |  Natural Resources
People  |  Behavior  |  Action

© 2020 by Kenneth E. Wallen