I came to planning almost by accident as I stumbled upon the Urban Affairs and Planning program at Virginia Tech. The future orientation of the field draws me in. My two children further inspire me to push for my aspirations of sustainability, resiliency, and justice in the face of the global challenges associated with climate change, persistent environmental degradation and growing inequalities. I have been intrigued by the question of how to move toward more effective environmental management and fill in the gaps where government, private and non-profit organizations cannot accomplish what needs to be done on their own. As a result, I have oriented my work toward improving the theory and practice of collaborative planning and management through both my teaching and research.
Research and Teaching Statement:
My teaching and research are primarily in the field of collaborative environmental planning and management. I teach courses in environmental planning and policy, natural resources management, food systems planning, collaborative governance, community involvement and public participation, and planning theory. My research explores how to enhance social-ecological resilience of human-natural systems through collaborative governance. In the realm of natural resources, I have focused on how to engage in collaborative planning and management at multiple spatial scales and levels of governance to enhance social-ecological resilience through ecological restoration. I also have explored resilience in the face of social and ecological disturbances such as climate change and sea-level rise with a particular focus on the state of Florida. Finally, I seek to identify effective ways to navigate transitions toward more locally oriented food systems and to explore how such systems contribute to community resilience.