As a scholar, I see teaching as a way to share the thrill of finding answers to research questions. When I see a light bulb going off in a student’s mind—be it in the classroom when I try to explain a concept like how having zero pollution is not economically efficient because cleaning up the last few units of pollution can be very expensive, or when a student finally figures out how to set up research data after struggling for weeks—it is one of the most rewarding things I encounter.
As a member of the Colby faculty I strive to create learning environments that stimulate students to ask interesting questions and also motivate them to learn the methods to answer the questions. Sometimes the learning environment is the classroom or my office, but at other times it’s students working in the library or in a dorm or presenting to their peers or sharing their research at professional conferences.
At the 2014 Northeastern Agricultural and Resource Economics Association annual meeting and workshop in West Virginia and the 2014 Heartland Workshop in Illinois, where the Colby students were the only undergraduate participants, colleagues from other institutions came up to me and said, “I just saw one of your students present and I thought he/she was a graduate student and his/her work was really impressive.” Those are moments that make me amazingly proud and thankful to be working with the brilliant students that we have at Colby.