Faculty in Action

Alison Ormsby

Associate Professor of Environmental Studies

Alison Ormsby
Quick Facts

B.S. Environmental Science, College of William and Mary
M.S. Environmental Studies, Yale University School of Forestry and Environmental Studies
PhD Environmental Studies, Antioch University New England.

I am teaching: Wildlife Policy, Environmental Education, Advanced Policy of Protected Areas, Introduction to Environmental Studies, Environmental Studies Senior Comprehensive Capstone Course, Advanced Ecotourism Policy/Practice

Areas of expertise: People-nature interactions with a focus on parks and sacred groves in the tropics.

Current research/projects: Comparative study of sacred forests of Ghana and India

Why did you decide to become a college professor?

I have always been interested in environmental education and had various teaching jobs for children and adults (I was a teacher trainer with the Bronx Zoo/Wildlife Conservation Society for four years). I think education is very important. I like the Eckerd approach to education and feel like I can make a valuable contribution by being a college professor.

What do you enjoy most about teaching at Eckerd?

I like the general Eckerd philosophy and trust in the diversity of professors' teaching approaches. I like the opportunity to take students abroad to study issues in the field.

How would you describe Eckerd students?

Interesting, friendly, open-minded, concerned (about issues such as environmental issues and social justice concerns)

What makes Eckerd so special or why does it stand out to you as a great college?

The small classes, the international winter terms (something I like to offer – I have taken students to Malaysia and Dominica for winter term, Madagascar for a spring-into-summer, and have conducted research with Ford Scholars in Thailand and Ghana), the progressive teaching pedagogy

What is the best thing a student has ever said in your class?

The best affirmation of my work was being nominated for the Staub award for teaching excellence.

How do you describe your teaching style?

I strive to develop the critical thinking skills of my students. In my courses, I use a combination of lecture, group work, audio-visuals, out-of-class assignments, and field experiences. I would like to think that I am approachable, yet challenging. I highly value students' writing skills and therefore grade quite strictly on writing assignments.

How do you encourage your students to think outside?

Being an Environmental Studies professor, there are many field components of our courses. This ranges from daily classes that may be conducted on campus – in our native plants garden, at the Alumni Grove, Forever Wild, or the Palm Hammock – natural areas on campus. I want students to think about issues from perspectives other than their own. Some of this involves putting them in a cross-cultural setting.

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