Caralyn Zhender

My brief intro: Grew up in NJ, undergrad Penn State, 2 years in the Peace Corps teaching HS math & science in Western Samoa, PhD Ecology UGA. Postdoc-Texas A&M for less than a year, but I did go to the Houston Rodeo (so cool!) and I own a pair of cowboy boots. Right now I’m really looking forward to the day when I’m more than one lecture ahead of schedule.

I’m teaching environmental science in the spring (and its a class I will likely teach again in the future), but I would also like to teach an upper-level environmental science course on campus sustainability, so I’m considering civic issues that could be covered in either/both of those classes. Water conservation would be a great issue to tackle given the ‘water wars’ between Georgia, Alabama and Florida, and I would like to cover individual water use/conservation and then scale up to municipalies, states & regions. Global warming and climate change – its something most of the students have heard of, but they’re kinda shaky on the science behind it. Food – its not really a civic issue, but how our food is grown/harvested, transportation, etc ties into so much environmental issues (shade grown coffee anyone?).


About Dr. J. Metzker

I believe in the power of a liberal education to transform individuals and society. I am currently the Executive Director of the Brown Center for Faculty Innovation and Excellence. Formerly, I led a community engagement initiative and held a full professorship in chemistry at a public liberal arts university. I am a proud product of The Evergreen State College.
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4 Responses to Caralyn Zhender

  1. I personally am very interested in studying sustainability. One of the ideas I have bouncing around in the back of my head is a theme of sustainability. I think everyone in this group could design a course in their discipline focused on sustainability. For example, green chemistry – designing reactions/synthetic techniques that are more sustainable, looking at the total cost of a synthesis. Biodiesel requires a lot of base and methanol to make, is this sustainable? I think Leng could design a course looking at sustainability of financial systems, which would certainly be relevant to today’s current news.

  2. klmkleine says:

    I think sustainability is too limiting but that is just me. I do think the whole tradeoffs and entropy issues do run across many topics.

    I wanted to let Caralyn know that SENCER has a model on SLO foods that might be something she could include.

  3. kcossey says:

    Global warming/climate change could definitely be linked to alternative energy. So if you’d be interested in teaming up for that, let me know.

    Other ideas look good too. I personally think the “fight” for water, something that is essential and that everyone THINKS is obtainable in a neverending supply would be a HUGE eye opener for the students. Knowing people in Colorado, it’s definitely a big deal there as well. Though the issue is not contamination, simply lack of water. Also, there’d be the option to go global with the discussion. As a chemist, I think it’d be cool to explain why we can just desalinate ocean water.

  4. lengling says:

    Water, climate, and food are interesting topics. I would really like to learn something from it and these are typical topics of civic issues. I appreciate the idea from Julia about the course of sustainability of financial system. Currently, I teach financial market and institutions. The sustainability of financial system will be an interesting topic, but I would rather treat it as one or two chapters inside this course.

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