Below are the courses that I currently teach. In the past I have also taught courses on environmental statistics, social-ecological research methods, and a policy research seminar, all at Dartmouth College. I list the books assigned to suggest these to others interested in teaching on these topics.

Evolutionary environmental governance

I have taught this course each year since coming to Dartmouth in 2012. It is based on the seminal work of Elinor Ostrom, James Scott, Stephen Lansing, and Richard Thaler. The primary theme is the distinction between bottom-up and top-down governance as applied to socio-environmental systems. Case studies are used throughout to teach students about the complexity of real systems and the lessons we can learn from them.


Ostrom, Elinor. 1990. Governing the Commons: The Evolution of Institutions for Collective Action. Cambridge University Press.

Scott, James C. 1998. Seeing Like a State: How Certain Schemes to Improve the Human Condition Have Failed. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press. 

Thaler, Richard H., and Cass R. Sunstein. 2009. Nudge: Improving Decisions about Health, Wealth, and Happiness. Penguin. 

Lansing, J. Stephen. 2012. Perfect Order: Recognizing Complexity in Bali. Princeton University Press. 

The Green New Deal

I introduced this course this year after listening to a podcast episode with Naomi Klein, in which she discussed her new book on the green new deal. It turns there a lot of people have been writing books on this topic, including leaders of the Sunrise movement and their colleagues. In this course we consider the arguments made by the authors of this book about the inherent linkage between decarbonization and just transitions, and then develop our “policy wonk” skills by engaging with a great new book by Harvey et al. (Designing Climate Solutions). The principle underlying this approach is that to facilitate change we need to combine technical and policy expertise with an understanding of the ethical and historical context of our collective decisions.


Harvey, Hal, Robbie Orvis, and Jeffrey Rissman. 2018. Designing Climate Solutions: A Policy Guide for Low-Carbon Energy. Island Press. 

Cox, Stan. 2020. The Green New Deal and Beyond: Ending the Climate Emergency While We Still Can. City Lights Books.

Prakash, Varshini, and Guido Girgenti. 2020. Winning the Green New Deal. Simon & Schuster. 

Off-campus program in Southern Africa

For the past five years I have had the privilege of co-leading my department’s experiential off-campus program in Southern Africa. With minimal class time, the program requires that students engage with real systems and real people as they try to improve their own lives and the livelihoods of those around them. Students are taught to take ownership over their own education and develop their ability to think in terms of systems and across disciplines.


Matson, Pamela, William C. Clark, and Krister Andersson. 2016. Pursuing Sustainability: A Guide to the Science and Practice. Princeton University Press.