Honors Teaching Scholars

Yana Bebieva

Honors Teaching Scholar - Yana Bebieva, PhD

This course is primarily built for non-science majors. Students will develop skills on how to effectively interpret scientific data (through the use of creative critical thinking) and make conclusions. The course consists of two modules: 1) physical science basis of climate change and 2) climate change impacts and policy. We explore three classes of responses to climate change: adaptation, mitigation, and geoengineering. Students will choose a project to examine a societal impact of climate change on a particular sector (e.g. agriculture, ecosystems, energy, water resources, human health, society) in a specific geographical area of student's choice.

Requirements satisfied: E-Series, Natural Science, State-Mandated Writing and Scholarship in Practice

Dr. Bebieva received her Ph.D. in Geology and Geophysics with a focus in Physical Oceanography from Yale University. She also holds a Master’s degree in Meteorology, Physical Oceanography and Climate from Utrecht University in The Netherlands, and a Bachelor’s degree in Applied Mathematics and Physics from Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology in Russia. Yana’s research focuses on the dynamics and thermodynamics of the polar oceans. In particular, she uses a combination of theoretical approaches and data analysis (ocean observations) to examine the processes responsible for ocean heat transport and sea ice formation. The polar regions interest her because of their great scientific importance for studying climate. Yana’s interests also include broad areas of fluid dynamics, and recently she has been involved in projects on fire spread. Outside of the lab and teaching, some of Yana’s hobbies include baking, making pottery, snowboarding, hiking, and riding a motorcycle.

To learn more about Dr. Bebieva and her research, please visit: https://www.yanabebieva.com/.


Honors Teaching Scholar-Chris Coutts, PhD

In this course we explore how nature conservation is necessary for the continuation of life on earth with particular attention on the myriad ways that the natural environment and systems support human health, livelihoods, and wellbeing. We will investigate the numerous ecological theories of health and the evidence-based mechanisms by which nature supports human health. We will analyze not only the benefits (i.e.ecosystem services) that the natural environment provides to humans globally but also the local and global effects of human actions on the natural environment, and the disproportionate effects on racial and economic subsets of humanity.

Requirements satisfied: Social Sciences and Cross-Cultural Studies (X)

Dr. Coutts is a Professor of Urban and Regional Planning at Florida State University (FSU). He is also a faculty member of the Masters of Public Health program and a Research Affiliate with the Center for Demography and Population Health at FSU. He received undergraduate and master’s degrees in Public Health from New Mexico State University and a PhD in Urban, Technological, and Environmental Planning from the University of Michigan. Dr. Coutts's research examines the influence of ecologically-sensitive land use practices on community health and health behavior. The thrust of his ecological planning research explores how the natural environment supports the ecosystem services essential to human health and well-being. This research was inspired by his time as a US Peace Corps Volunteer in Malawi. In 2019, he returned to Malawi as a US Fulbright Scholar to teach at Mzuzu University and perform research on the critical role of nature conservation on healthy sustainable development in the remote Misuku Hills. His work has been quoted in outlets such as The New York Times, US News and World Report, Forbes, and The Atlantic.

To learn more about Dr. Coutt's, visit the College of Social Sciences and Public Policy's website: https://coss.fsu.edu/ccoutts/.


Honors Teaching Scholar-Tarez Graban, PhD

Known alternatively as "ecospeak," "popular science," and "science-based CSR," the phenomenon of moving scientific facts into the public sphere is one that deserves our critical attention. Literally speaking, we will examine academic and real-world genres that advocate for sustainability and analyze the principles underlying their construction and reception. Figuratively speaking, we will consider specific paradigms in written communication that perpetuate, devolve, or recycle themselves over time. We will focus our study in three different spheres--scientific and technical writing, environmental rhetoric and public policy, and daily persuasion and propoganda.

Requirements satisfied: Upper Division Writing and Diversity in Western Experience (Y)

Dr. Graban received a double A.B. in English and Religious Studies from Brown University, and a PhD in English from Purdue University, where she specialized in Rhetoric and Composition, and in Linguistics. Prior to FSU, she taught various student populations at two major research universities and a small liberal arts college, engaging in everything from first-year service-learning to advanced graduate education. At FSU, she teaches rhetorical theory and practice, global rhetorics, historical methodologies, and public discourse, and from 2013 to 2020 she also led an interdisciplinary reading group and campus-wide collaboratory in the digital humanities. She often teaches at the intersection of language, class, ethnicity, and memory, in order to equip students with critical and historical literacies that can lead to their more informed civic engagement. She also studies how knowledge about writing and written expression gets made within and across borders, how various disciplines and publics access that knowledge, and how those ways of access become historicized or overlooked among underrepresented subjects and through technologized means. Frequently, she teaches students in and about archives, archival theories, and decolonization of archival practices. To that end, she is currently conducting transnational research in the archives of three southern African nations for a book project that traces the archival positioning of women leaders, activists, and academics of former Commonwealth nations between 1915 and 2015. She also oversees the Linked Women Pedagogues Project.

To learn more about Dr. Graban's research, visit the Department of English's website: https://english.fsu.edu/faculty/tarez-graban


Honors Teaching Scholars-Jesse Klein, Ph.D.

This is a foundational hands-on course in college-level research that will empower students to ask questions and feel confident they can find answers. Through navigating the information landscape and using academic libraries, students will learn to read and evaluate research for empirical rigor, transparency and replicability, and ethical research design. This course will equip students with the skills to translate information into knowledge, insight, and creativity.

Requirements satisfied: Upper Division Writing, Quantitative and Logical Thinking, and Scholarship in Practice

Dr. Klein is the Social Sciences Research and Data Librarian at FSU Libraries. A four-time alumnus of Florida State University, she received her B.S. in Sociology and Criminology in 2010, M.S. in Sociology in 2012, M.S. in Information in 2019, and Ph.D. in Sociology in 2015. Jesse has subject expertise in social movements, political sociology, popular culture, research design, and mixed methods. In addition to conducting various research projects in the academy and the community, Dr. Klein is also an experienced grant writer for social justice nonprofit organizations and local government initiatives focused on women, girls, domestic violence, and formerly incarcerated individuals. She currently serves as the data and research librarian for all social science areas, working directly with faculty, staff, graduate students, and undergraduate students to provide reference, instruction, and consultations on a range of topics related to research data services.


Tyler McCreary, Ph.D.-Honors Teaching Scholar Photo

This course engages with the history, core concepts, and effects of the environmental justice movement, examining how race and class interact to produce and sustain environmental inequities. Foundationally, it approaches environmental issues from a lens attentive to issues of social justice. Course materials highlight the need to address thorny environmental issues and their long-term consequences including the disproportionate burdening of historically marginalized communities with debilitation, displacement, and death.

Specifically, the course aims to address four aspects of environmental justice. First, it stresses how settler colonialism and racial capitalism have particularly burdened Black and Indigenous peoples with slow-acting, chronic environmental harms in North America. Second, it analyzes how environmental inequities continue to be normalized in law, policy, and bureaucratic government procedures. Third, it elucidates how disasters reproduce and exacerbate pre-existing forms of inequality within and between communities. Finally, it underlines the need to integrate anti-racist analysis into policies addressing the climate crisis, as we seek to reorganize how people live and work to create both a just and sustainable society. 

Requirements satisfied: Social Science and Upper Division Writing

Dr. Tyler McCreary is an assistant professor in the Department of Geography at Florida State University. His research examines how settler colonialism and racial capitalism inflect processes of environmental, labour, and community governance in North America. His research has analyzed themes such as how North American environmental governance processes address Black and Indigenous community concerns; the differential impacts of sociotechnical transitions in North American labour markets; and how urban and regional governance processes relate to the historic marginalization of Indigenous and Black families living in towns and cities.

To learn more about Dr. McCreary, visit his webpage on The Department of Geography's website: https://geography.fsu.edu/people/tyler-mccreary/


Honors Teaching Scholar-Nora Underwood, PhD

This course explores the basic ecology of agriculture and fisheries and considers how conventional and alternative food-production practices generate and solve ecological problems. We will focus on several major current issues (e.g. genetically modified organisms, pollinator declines, organic agriculture, and fisheries), and learn the science behind the issue and the social forces shaping the problem. Students also learn through discussions and scientific and popular writings, lectures, hands-on and written projects, oral presentations, local speakers and field trips.

Requirements satisfied: E-Series, Natural Science, State-Mandated Writing

Dr. Underwood received her BA in Biology from Vassar College, her PhD in Ecology from Duke University, and was a President’s Postdoctoral Fellow at the University of California, Davis, before joining the FSU Department of Biological Science. She studies how plant and insect populations are controlled in both natural and agricultural settings, how variation in traits among individuals influences their interactions, and how climate change influences the timing of biological events. She and her lab members have research projects in the forests and fields of northern Florida, in Sweden, and in the montane meadows of Colorado, where she works for several months each summer at a high-altitude field station in the Colorado Rocky Mountains. Dr. Underwood became a Professor because she loves research, teaching and thinking about how universities can better serve students and society, so she is very pleased to be associated with the Honors program, as well as chairing the Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Committee for her department. Outside of academic life, Dr. Underwood loves outdoor adventures like mountain climbing and running rivers, as well as biking, gardening, dancing, reading, cooking and hanging out with her husband, daughter, and dog.

To learn more about Dr. Underwood and her research, visit the Department of Biological Science's website: https://www.bio.fsu.edu/faculty.php?faculty-id=nunderwood .

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