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Emily Pechar, 2019 Dean’s Award Winner

March 11, 2019

Emily Pechar

Emily Pechar

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.

On Teaching

Three Areas of Focus in Teaching


Becoming More Student-Focused in the Classroom


Getting Away from Lectures


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.”