Chad Walker, Ph.D.

Research - Teaching - Impact

Teaching statement

Our job as teachers has evolved. We are no longer feeding information to an audience in rows. We want our students to be problem-solvers, creative thinkers, and risk-takers. Being in the environmental social sciences, I want to inspire and challenge students to think critically about the world we live in and the one we want to leave for future generations. 

The way I teach is also a reflection of the great teachers I have had over 20 years of formal education. They have inspired me, and in doing so, have “[kept] the flame of scholarship alive” (Boyer, 1991; p. 11). As a teacher, it is my job not just to transfer knowledge, but to transform and extend it into students’ lives. My teaching style and emphasis on learning also respect the conventions which are uniquely found within Geography and Environmental Studies. The two main tenants of Space and Place have great importance in the way I choose to introduce and teach concepts to my students. Students need to be aware of the unique historical, physical, and social characteristics that make different areas, in fact, different ‘places’. At the same time, I stress the global and interconnected nature of our most pressing of environmental problems including climate change. A human-induced warming planet threatens economic prosperity, environmental health, and human well-being. Every course I teach includes this focus.