LAMP Faculty Of The Month (November, 2017)

Dr. Ninesh Kasti, Dr. Sridhar Budhi, Dr. Jacqueline ShinkerDr. Jacqueline J. Shinker is recognized as the November LAMP Faculty Fellow of the Month. Dr. Shinker of the UW Geography Department attended the intensive summer institute at AMK Research Center outside Jackson Hole, WY in June 2017. She and twenty-five other teaching fellows gained instructional knowledge, while developing their teaching philosophies and plans to enact it within their future classrooms. Professional development continues throughout the academic year at monthly workshops where fellows receive continued training, implementation support and will, in the spring, share their personal experiences.
We would like to commend Dr. Shinker, or J.J., for her efforts in developing and implementing a meaningful and engaging instructional plan. J.J.’s plan focused on the development of a First Year Seminar (FYS) course: GEOL 1011, Surviving the Apocalypse: The Geography of Natural Disasters. In addition to creating active learning exercises aligned with her learning outcomes, J.J. interwove inclusional instruction throughout her course. By asking students to carefully consider human vulnerability with each disaster and contextualizing between developed and less developed nations, Dr. Shinker increases students’ global awareness of environmental justice issues and existing inequities.
I observed this in action in J.J.’s class on October 16th and again on October 23rd. On the 16th, despite being under-the-weather, J.J. warmly greeted her class, checked-in on the week, before covering announcements and introducing: Tsunami Week. After a mini-lecture on the 2011 Japanese tsunami and Fukushima disaster, students worked in groups to create maps of the event, focusing on representing one or more of the overarching class concepts of mitigation, protection and adaptation through spatial and temporal perspectives. While students struggled at first with the freedom to choose how to make their maps, the allowed student choice inevitability enhanced student appreciation and ownership over the mapping project. This shared class responsibility requires instructors give up some authority, which is difficult to do, but worth supporting students in taking control over their learning.
Rachel Watson teaching a fellows seminar with JJ Shinker in attendence
Utilizing teams is another way Dr. Shinker improves student accountability. Students sit in groups during class, often working together on activities. Additionally, students work together to give weekly ‘Hazard Team Reports from the Field’, joining one of six team topics: Tectonic, Weather & Climate, Disease, Fire, Hydrology and Technology. Teams collaborate to update the class on current events related to their topic. Enhancing responsibility further, students are expected to self- and peer-assess their field report presentations based on clarity, content, speaking, images and sources.
Students were clearly excited and proud of their Hazard Team Reports from the Field, inviting me to return to watch them the following week. Wow, am I glad I did! The reports provided an unique opportunity to increase student understanding and awareness of international connections. Of all the student updates, nineteen of twenty-five were international events. Students were clearly becoming more aware and comfortable with global geography, but also conscious of the distinct inequities that exist when and preparing for surviving natural disasters around the globe. What a great way to support global literacy development! Dr. Shinker echoes this support on campus as acting advisor of the Multicultural Association of Student Scientists (M.A.S.S.).
In addition to developing a new FYS course, J.J. continues to work to make her ‘Weather and Climate’ class more active and meaningful. To this end, she supports independent student research; one who is interested in measuring the effectiveness of using 3D-visualization tools to support instruction in the weather and climate class. J.J., supported by UW’s team at EIC's Shell 3D Visualization Center, created and used a ‘Vortex Simulator’ to help students understand and visualize weather maps. Commonly confusing for students, 3D visualization allows them the see, draw and interact with 3D maps, rather than just a 2D image. She and her research student are piloting surveys this semester to examine the impacts of using the 3D CAVE on student learning; J.J. noted excited that her students performed better than previous years on the most current exam related to the 3D topics. J.J. plans to continue investigating the impact of using 3D visualization to support and enhance instruction. 
Congratulation Dr. Shinker! Keep inspiring students and supporting educational research!
-Kali Nicholas Moon & Rachel Watson, 11/13/17



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