I teach primarily upper-division undergraduate and graduate classes that focus on agricultural sustainability, with an emphasis on nutrient management and how it affects crop productivity and soil health. My teaching seeks to describe which management practices and farming systems are more sustainable and how this varies depending on local edaphic and climatic conditions.
Global Agroecosystems – ALS 4154/5115
This course, co-taught with Dr. Chris Wilson in Agronomy, focuses on how to balance the multiple aspects of agricultural sustainability when designing and evaluating agroecosystems, using production, environmental, and socio-economic indicators. This class covers a wide range of topics and disciplines and is the core introductory class in the Agroecology concentration, with a focus on integration rather than content acquisition. Topics I cover in the class include production and environmental aspects of soil, water and nutrient management; urban agriculture; socio-economic indicators (e.g., access to markets, labor conditions); and comparisons among farming approaches (e.g., organic and conventional).
Environmental Nutrient Management – SWS 4116/5115
This course examines the role essential nutrients play in plant nutrition and how key biogeochemical reactions affect their availability in soils, with the ultimate goal of maximizing yields while minimizing environmental impacts. I compare how different fertility sources – primarily fertilizers but also manures, composts, and biosolids – supply nutrients to plants in addition to challenges associated with their use. The class focuses on key elemental cycles, comparisons among different nutrient management approaches and their environmental impacts, and use/interpretation of key diagnostic tools (e.g., soil tests). This class includes a semester-long hands-on fertility trial and several problem sets to help apply knowledge in nutrient management, focusing on real-world issues and data.
Soil Fertility – SWS 6136
This class focuses on advanced concepts of soil fertility, with an emphasis on mechanisms underlying nutrient cycling. One period per week is used for in-class discussions on recent reviews focusing on key aspects of soil fertility (e.g., tracing with 15N) or in-class quantitative activities (e.g., computing fertilizer response curves). As this is an advanced class, assessments focus on essay-style exams that resemble a Ph.D. qualifying exam, in addition to a semester-long paper based on each student’s thesis or dissertation focus.
Other Teaching Activities
Other teaching activities include participating in the Agroecology concentration as the representative of Soil and Water Sciences, managing the soil qualifying exam for the Doctor of Plant Medicine program, and being the academic liaison for the UF Field and Fork program. I also teach guest lectures in several classes offered in different departments.