Teaching Undergraduate Geography Service Courses with a Political Ecology Framework

Type: Panel
Sponsor Groups: Cultural and Political Ecology Specialty Group, Geography Education Specialty Group, Community College Affinity Group
Poster #:
Day: 4/12/2018
Start / End Time: 10:00 AM / 11:40 AM (MDT)
Room: Rampart, Sheraton, 5th Floor
Organizers: Gary Schnakenberg
Chairs: Gary Schnakenberg


Geography faculty in departments of all sizes in higher education are frequently called upon to teach ‘service’ classes. These can number as few as 15 students or as many as 200 or more, but are intended to reach students from across the institution. Populations of students in these classes frequently include geography-oriented majors, established majors in other programs – some fraction of whom might need geography courses, such as those in Education and Interdisciplinary Studies – and ‘undecided’ students. At some institutions, while not necessarily the courses with the largest total enrollments, they can have large class sizes that make seminar-style engagement extremely difficult, if not impossible.
At the same time, while some institutions offer a specific course entitled ‘Political Ecology’ (PE) or a variant, many do not. Because of the breadth of PE approaches, however, it offers rich potential for getting students to engage in thinking about the ways in which humans interact with/shape/are shaped by their environment and how that environment is conceptualized.
This session seeks to present a panel of 4-6 participants who teach courses in higher education, especially in those course formats described above, and who self-identify as working with a PE framework. Questions to be addressed can include but are not limited to:
• How have students engaged with the ideas and concepts in these courses? To what degree have PE-framed concepts been embraced/resisted by students?
• What pedagogical strategies and resources have been employed, and to what effect? What strategies are more useful than others?
• What types of assessments have been used? Which ones work best? How has the format/structure of the course affected assessment choices? Are there assessments you would prefer, but do not employ?
• How effective has the course been in achieving instructional outcomes?


Type Details Minutes
Panelist Innisfree Mckinnon University of Wisconsin-Stout 15
Panelist Joseph Holler Middlebury College 15
Panelist Hanson Nyantakyi-Frimpong University of Denver 15
Panelist Gary Schnakenberg Michigan State University 15

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