Christopher X J. Jensen
Associate Professor, Pratt Institute

What in Darwin’s name was I thinking? (#001)

Posted 13 Jan 2017 / 0

I am not afraid to play around when it comes to my teaching. I have been teaching for what seems to me a long time — eight years as a middle school teacher, several instructor gigs in graduate school, and now nearly ten years as a professor at Pratt — and I never feel as Read More

A Major Post, Course Evaluations, Higher Education, MSCI-260, Evolution, MSCI-270, Ecology, MSCI-271, Ecology for Architects, Teaching

My ecological footprint for 2016-2017

Posted 31 Oct 2016 / 0

It’s that time of year again. Once again I send my students in my Ecology course out to estimate their ecological footprints, so to show that I am holding myself to a similar standard — and to make sure to keep myself ecologically self-aware — I always make sure to make my own footprint public. This should Read More

A Major Post, Anthropogenic Change, Biodiversity Loss, Climate Change, Ecological Footprinting, Ecology Education, Environmental Justice, Ethics, Habitat Destruction, MSCI-270, Ecology, Pollution, Sustainability, Teaching Tools

An analysis of my course evaluations for Spring 2016

Posted 18 Aug 2016 / 0

For the most part I am like most of my colleagues: there are about a hundred things — some less than glorious — that I would rather do than analyze my semesterly course evaluations. But for whatever reason, I feel compelled to do so, especially given that in recent years my course evaluations have been Read More

A Major Post, Assessment Methods, Course Evaluations, Higher Education, MSCI-260, Evolution, MSCI-270, Ecology, MSCI-271, Ecology for Architects, Teaching

My ecological footprint for 2015-2016

Posted 08 Apr 2016 / 0

Ecological footprinting is a regular required exercise in my Ecology and Ecology for Architects courses. I ask my students to use the ecological footprinting tool created by the Center for Sustainable Economy to calculate how many earths their lifestyle would require to be sustainable. I also ask them to profile an older relative (for most students, a parent) Read More

A Major Post, Anthropogenic Change, Biomes, Ecological Footprinting, Ecosystem Services, Environmental Justice, Food, MSCI-270, Ecology, MSCI-271, Ecology for Architects, Quantitative Analysis, Resource Consumption, Sustainability

Eco 101: Carrying Capacity

Posted 25 Jan 2016 / 0

Fundamentally, carrying capacity is a measure of the maximum density of a particular population How many organisms of a particular species can an area support? What determines this maximum population density? The answer to these questions is captured by the ecological concept of carrying capacity. The carrying capacity tells us how many organisms of a particular species Read More

A Major Post, Carrying Capacity, Eco 101, MSCI-270, Ecology, MSCI-271, Ecology for Architects

Why the “just burn it all” approach to ending fossil fuel dependence does not work

Posted 16 Oct 2015 / 0

The Washington Post “Scientists confirm there’s enough fossil fuel on Earth to entirely melt Antarctica” When it comes to discussing the problem of fossil fuel overconsumption and dependence in my ecology classes, it is not uncommon for students to advocate the “just burn it all, and then we will sort it out” approach. I can Read More

A Minor Post, Articles, Climate Change, MSCI-270, Ecology, MSCI-271, Ecology for Architects, Polar Marine, Resource Consumption, Sustainability

Charismatic megafauna offer protection to their less appealing heterospecifics

Posted 16 Oct 2015 / 0

Conservation Magazine “Pandas offer ‘protective umbrella’ to other animals” In my ecology courses we talk a lot about the different rationales for conservation, and students invariably laugh at the concept of charismatic megafauna. It is kind of weird — and very typically human — that we reserve particular conservation attention for those big animals that Read More

A Minor Post, Conservation Biology, Habitat Destruction, MSCI-270, Ecology, MSCI-271, Ecology for Architects, Terrestrial, Web

Should altruism have an effect on your final exam score?

Posted 17 Aug 2015 / 0

The Chronicle of Higher Education “This ‘Extra Credit’ Question Does No Credit to Fairness” This seems like kind of a dumb stunt on the part of the psychology professor who posed it. I never really respected my professors who did not take very seriously the idea that students are pretty amped up by the experience Read More

A Minor Post, Altruism, Articles, Assessment Methods, Ethics, Game Theory, MSCI-270, Ecology, MSCI-463, The Evolution of Cooperation

My new favorite concept mapping activity: depicting whole-system ecological flows

Posted 17 Jul 2015 / 0

Concept mapping is increasingly becoming an important part of my overall approach to teaching. I started out using it in my own research, and quickly realized how valuable it can be as a teaching tool. Because the only real goal of making a concept map is to explore and express understanding of a topic, concept Read More

A Major Post, Community Ecology, Competition, Concept Mapping, Ecology, Ecology Education, Ecosystem Ecology, Information Design, Interactions, Learning Management Systems, Lesson Ideas, MSCI-270, Ecology, MSCI-271, Ecology for Architects, Mutualism, Predation, Teaching Tools

New article in Science provides a comprehensive overview and update on Yellowstone National Park

Posted 24 Apr 2015 / 0

Since I began teaching Ecology at Pratt, I have used the re-introduction of wolves to Yellowstone as the cornerstone case study of my community ecology lessons. Using material originally developed by my colleague Damon Chaky for the Ecology for Architects course, I ask my students to use ecological theory to explain some of the changes that Read More

A Minor Post, Anthropogenic Change, Articles, Biodiversity Loss, Community Ecology, Conservation Biology, Ecology, Interactions, Keystone Species, MSCI-270, Ecology, MSCI-271, Ecology for Architects, Predation, Public Policy