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Faculty Profiles

Dr. Alison Graettinger

Dr. Alison Graettinger
Assistant Professor

Department: Earth and Environmental Sciences
EUReka Course: GECRT-SC 101: Nature’s Fury: How to Live in a Changing World?
See Dr. Graettinger’s Syllabus.

Describe the process of developing your new EUReka course.
The new UMKC Essentials general education model is focused on “doing”, so the course was designed for those requirements, a natural fit for EUReka.

How does teaching a EUReka course compare to teaching similar classes?
Having the semester focus around the students doing their own research has allowed me freedom in other areas. That let us pivot as events happen. I definitely spend more time coaching students to realize their independent thinking is welcome and an asset. The amount of growth I’ve seen has been very rewarding.

What benefits have your students gained from the EUReka course?
Taking this class early in their career (first semester) pushed the students to take more ownership of the direction of their study and hopefully gave them more confidence to approach future classes as a place to learn what else can be understood or discovered, rather than thinking it has already been done.

What advice would you give instructors thinking about developing a EUReka course?
Because this course was new, adapting to the unique needs of a research-focused class was easy. If adapting an existing course, try to give a bit more freedom than your first inclination. You will want room to take a turn and explore the new ideas or insights that develop while students do research.

Any other thoughts?
Teaching a EUReka course augments one of the best parts of teaching—seeing things in a new way. Students ask questions that are different than those an instructor would ask. When the course makes room for big questions, like those in research, students bring so many new perspectives.