I am committed to teaching and I believe that teaching competence is important for several reasons. First, society's ability to cope with our changing environment will require an appreciation and literacy for ecological issues so that the public can participate in informed debate. The achievement of such awareness can be most effectively accomplished at the undergraduate level. The transmission of knowledge to undergraduates requires effective teaching skills. I believe that lecture material must be presented in a clear, concise, organized and enthusiastic manner. Second, I believe the most important skills students learn while pursuing their undergraduate degree are in communication, organization, and problem solving. I try to teach students to go beyond memorization and solve problems that emphasize integration and synthesis. I believe that students are rarely encouraged to do this, particularly in high school and early undergraduate years. I ask questions of the class to get students thinking laterally and to facilitate two-way communication. If answers are not forthcoming, I pose additional questions to try to point students in the direction of an answer, but I rarely provide the answer directly. With this process, I try to help students realize that they can think laterally, and that they can integrate individual facts into a larger synthesis. When students ask questions during lectures, I try to respond with a question that will help the student see a way to answer their own question. I try to present senior level courses as critical assessments of innovative research. I think it is imperative that students see the relationship between teaching and scholarship. I think it is important to provide students with an opportunity to directly participate in research and provide this opportunity through supervising independent studies courses. Third, I have been fortunate to have worked with several outstanding mentors and have benefited greatly from those associations. Graduate student supervision provides me with an opportunity to return some of my specialized knowledge to graduate students who will, in turn, make their own contributions to the field. I try to incorporate the positive aspects of my mentor-student relationships into my own mentoring. Based on teaching reviews I believe that my approach to teaching has led to effective transmission of knowledge, and active engagement of students. I have been nominated for two prestigious teaching awards: the Graduate Students "Outstanding Contribution to Teaching" Award in 2003, and the Undergraduate Students Union "Teaching Excellence Award" in 2006 for Biology 307.