Dean’s Award for Excellence in Teaching
Ph.D. Candidate in Environmental Policy
Emily Pechar is a sixth-year Ph.D. student studying environmental policy at the Sanford School of Public Policy and the Nicholas School of the Environment. She has been the lead instructor of four courses on Climate Change Politics and served as a teaching assistant for three other policy courses. Last summer, she developed and taught a workshop on U.S. civics at the Science Policy Institute.
The most formative course she has taught is the United Nations Climate Change Negotiations Practicum course, which teaches students about the dynamics and intricacies of these negotiations. The course culminates with students traveling to and participating in the negotiations, leading to an innovative learning experience.
Pechar’s teaching philosophy highlights the importance of experiential learning and ensuring student ownership of the material. Her approach has been developed through formal training such as the Certificate in College Teaching and the Preparing Future Faculty program at The Graduate School. Pechar’s research focuses on breaking down the polarization of environmental policy and exploring how different subgroups of Americans and their identities affect how they perceive climate change policy.
“The biggest thing that has evolved in my teaching is that my classes are a lot more student-focused. I find that students learn more through discussion and activities than they learn through lecture. I make class time about helping them ingrain that knowledge into their own personal experiences.”
In Their Words
Excerpts from Pechar's Nomination
“She really grew into the role of our junior faculty colleague, and did an absolutely excellent job. She was highly effective in the classroom, presenting the material and leading discussions. She engaged the students in her presentations, and she also enlisted the students in giving their own presentations during the semester and in writing blog posts from the COPs”
“She has shown effective leadership in organizing and teaching courses and leading students to international negotiating sessions overseas. Emily has the skills and ambition to generate research and policy analysis, and conduct top-quality teaching, on complex questions intertwining science, psychology, politics, and public opinion.”