Teaching

Honors

  • 2019-2020. Excellence in Teaching Award
    United States Department of Agriculture
  • 2018-2019. Scholarship of Teaching and Learning Award
    UF College of Agricultural and Life Sciences
  • 2018-2019. Online Education Excellence Award
    University of Florida. Course: The Insects (ENY 2040). Category: Student Engagement
  • 2016-2017. Educator Award
    North American Colleges and Teachers of Agriculture (NACTA)
  • 2014-2015. Undergraduate Teacher of the Year
    UF College of Agricultural and Life Sciences

Courses

ENY 4161/6166 – Insect Classification

The goal of this course is to provide students with a sound theoretical and practical understanding of insect diversity and the practice of classifying organisms. Lectures discuss the general principles of systematics, history of insect classification, construction and use of identification tools, nomenclature, and biology and evolutionary history of the hexapod orders. We also explore why competing classifications exist in taxonomy, and what existing classifications imply about broad patterns of evolutionary change and diversification within insects. A collection is required to refine your ability to identify insects to the level of order, family and species. Accumulating the required numbers of taxa is possible only by employing a variety of collecting techniques and working with dichotomous keys. Building an insect collection, with correctly identified and curated specimens is an excellent way to learn, understand and employ the methods used by professionals to identify and classify not only insects, but living organisms in general (3 credits).

ENY 4455C – Social Insects

Social insects are among the most successful organisms on the planet, and also some of the most fascinating! In this course we examine in depth the astounding diversity of social behaviors exhibited by insects, ranging from transient parental care to the complex super-societies of ants, bees, and termites. We also explore the evolutionary causes and consequences of insect sociality, current trends in social insect research, and other special topics. Laboratory demos and activities allow students to gain hands-on experience observing and working with social insects. Through this course, students gain a firm foundation in the identification, evolution, and behavior of the major social insect groups, and will be well-prepared for additional coursework in entomology, sociobiology, and animal behavior (3 credits).

ENY 4905/6905 – Invasive Ant Boot Camp

Florida may hold the world record for the greatest number of established invasive ant species. Every year, new exotic ant species are discovered in our state. The first step to preventing establishment and spread of potentially invasive species is to learn about the species that pose the greatest threats. This intensive 3-day workshop offers training in the biology, identification and ecology of invasive ants. Field trips to urban, agricultural and native Floridian ecosystems provide hands-on field experience detecting, observing and collecting invasive and native ants. Lab-based identification is aided by reference collections for each student. Guest lectures include regulatory, pest control and conservation professionals (1 credit).

ENY 2040 – The Insects (2012-2018)

The Insects is an introduction to insect biology, insect interactions with other organisms and, especially, insect associations with people. The class features discussion of basic biological principles and concepts using insects as examples. The Insects features a combination of online lectures, hands-on insect activities and selected popular film and documentary video clips as well as readings and discussion of the ways insects impact our lives and have come to dominate our world. After all, there are more insects than any other type of animal on planet Earth! This class meets a general education biology requirement for UF students (3 credits).

ENY 6943 – Topics in Social Insect Biology

This graduate seminar is a discussion of current topics in social insect biology. As a group we select an overarching theme of the semester and delve into the primary scientific literature to explore the current state of knowledge. Each student will take the lead presenting on specific topic within the theme we have chosen, and in leading class discussion. Peer review of presentations by all members of the class prepares students for professional presentations at academic conferences. There are no prerequisite courses for this seminar, however, you will find a basic background knowledge of social insects useful to our discussions (1 credit).

ENY 4905 – Collections Management Seminar

This seminar is an opportunity for advanced undergraduates and interested graduate students to delve into the best practices and thorny problems that collections (of any sort) face today. The course focuses on insects but is relevant to collections of anything: art, documents, books, etc. Hands-on work with the specimens in the Entomology Teaching collection gives us an opportunity to work on projects involving, but not limited to identification of specific insect groups, databasing holdings, strategic acquisitions, improving accessibility for teaching and display materials. We also discuss how our field can best respond changing technology and changes in the way people access collections (1 credit).

ENY 4905 – Art Science Collaboration

This interdisciplinary course for advanced entomology and fine arts students focuses on working collaboratively across two disparate fields: art and entomology. Through readings, discussion and taxonomic work in the Entomology Teaching Collection, students and instructors explore the parallel processes of producing art and science. Final projects entail public exhibition of student art and taxonomic improvements within the teaching collection (1 credit).

ENY 3563/5566 – Tropical Entomology

This multi-instructor course provides an overview of the ecology, diversity, and agricultural and veterinary importance of insects in the tropics. Insects are the most diverse multicellular organisms in the tropics. Their roles in nature have diversified into most habitats where they are fungivores, herbivores, necrophages, coprophages, saprophages, parasitoids, parasites, and predators. They provide critical ecosystem services such as decomposition, nutrient recycling, pollination, and biological control. Tropical insects have been used as bioindicators of ecosystem health and conservation needs, in butterfly farming, live material in insect zoos, and showcase specimens in literature, art, and sculpture (3 credits).