Fall 2022 teaching wrap up

(December 31, 2022) This fall was a busy teaching semester. Professor Rhew taught 3 classes this fall, and was fortunate to co-teach the two major courses with outstanding instructors: Communicating Climate Science (Geog 147 with Emily Weiss), Introduction to Environmental Science (ESPM 15 with Dr. Patina Mendez) and the Global Environment Theme House seminar (NatRes24).

Communicating Climate Science (Geog 147) brought in undergraduate students interested in improving their conceptual understanding of climate science and climate change through engaging in activities, demonstrations and discussions, while also developing their science communication skills to advance the public’s climate literacy. The course combines science content, active teaching and learning methods based on how people learn, and how to engage in effective interactions. Highlights from this semester included excellent guest speakers from Science@Cal (Dr. Dee Rossiter), KQED (Ezra Romero), Project Drawdown (Matt Scott), the Breakthrough Institute (Dr. Patrick Brown), and the City of Oakland (Shayna Hischfield-Gold). For the final project, students presented their interactive, hands-on science lessons to 6th graders at a Berkeley public middle school. The co-instructor for the course, Emily Weiss, is an award winning science educator (Extraordinary Teaching in Extraordinary Times, 2020) and curriculum developer from the Lawrence Hall of Science.

Introduction to Environmental Science (ESPM 15) introduces students to the science underlying biological and physical environmental problems, focusing on water and air quality, global change, cycling of energy and matter, waste and pollution, biodiversity, and preservation of ecosystems. This large course (>200 students) was co-taught with the award winning instructor (Rausser College Outstanding Teaching Award, 2022), Dr. Tina Mendez. Highlights from this past semester were the active learning methods for each lecture, the group activities associated with each module, and the professors who gave guest lectures on a range of topics related to environmental science and environmental justice. ESPM 15 is taught every semester with a different team of instructors. This semester we divided the course into 5 major themes, or modules: 1) Physical World; 2)Ecosystems, Global Cycles and Biodiversity; 3) Human-Environment Interactions; 4) Energy & Climate Change; 5) Land Use Change.

The Global Environment House Theme seminar (NatRes24) is offered in conjunction with the associated Residential Hall program, the Global Environment Theme House (GETH). This weekly seminar introduces GETH students to a range of environmental work done on campus as well as opportunities for courses, volunteer work, extra-curricular activities and research through a series of engaging guest speakers and group projects. A highlight from this past semester included the 2-day GETH retreat, involving a day exploring Point Reyes National Seashore and a second day biking around San Francisco’s waterfront, including a ride across the Golden Gate Bridge. Students presented their fall Eco-hort projects at the end of the semester, covering a range of environmental projects. The GETH organizing team includes the Resident Director (Jake S.) and Theme Program Resident Assistant (Samantha B.).

Caption: Kehoe Beach at Point Reyes, where GETHies engaged in group discussion and naturalist observations.

Robert Rhew
Robert Rhew
Associate Professor

Professor Rhew is the Principal Investigator of the UC Berkeley Atmospheric Biogeochemistry Lab