Advanced Ecology

I co-instructed a field-based ecology course at the University of Louisville in Fall 2020. We moved through ecological sub-disciplines moving from the level of cells and organs to ecosystems. Students completed field projects corresponding to each sub-discipline we discuss as well as a semester-long independent research project on a topic of their choosing where they learn to develop a question based on their observations, make predictions, design a study, collect field data, analyze the data, write a report, conduct a peer review, and revise their work mentored by an instructor. Due to COVID-19, this was a hybrid online and field-based class.

Conservation Biology

I co-taught Conservation Biology at the University of Louisville in Spring 2021. Students learned about the challenges wild species face from a range of anthropogenic changes, including climate change, habitat loss, overexploitation, and competition from invasive species. We also looked at conservation success stories and the potential for restoration and reintroduction to address some of the challenges we face. Students completed an independent project to design their own nature reserve to protect a focal species or ecosystem. Due to COVID-19, this class was taught synchronously online and employed a flipped classroom approach where students watched pre-recorded lectures as homework and participated in discussions based on readings and the lecture material during synchronous class sessions.

Student Comments:

“Dr. Richards is a very nice and knowledgeable professor. All of her presentations were very interesting and informative. My favorite aspect of her teaching method was the amount of detail that she provided in feedback on assignments.”

“It’s clear that she cares about her students and is very knowledgeable about the topics we covered.”

“The lecture discussion she facilitated about race and privilege in science was my favorite class of my whole time at UofL.”

“The diversity lectures were some of the most important lectures I feel like I have ever had. I never get to hear about women and minorities in the scope of ecology as well as the problems in the field. Very impactful.”

“Dr. Richards is a very enthusiastic teacher and really seems to want all of her students to get the most from their education. She is passionate about conservation which makes her an engaging lecturer. She also does a great job mediating discussions so important topics are covered.”

“I really enjoyed having Dr. Richards as a professor. Discussions aren’t always my favorite as I am more introverted but she was so approachable and open to hearing ideas which really helped me want to contribute to the discussion more.”