JENNIFER FOLLSTAD SHAH portrait
  • Assistant Professor (Lecturer), Environmental & Sustainability
  • Assistant Professor (Lecturer), Environmental & Sustainability
  • Research Assistant Professor, Geography Department
  • Academic Advisor, Environmental and Sustainability Studies

Current Courses

Spring 2019

Professional Organizations

  • American Water Resources Association. 01/01/2018 - present. Position : Member.
  • American Society of Limnology and Oceanography. 12/01/2000 - present. Position : Member.
  • Society for Freshwater Science. 12/01/2000 - present. Position : Member.
  • Ecological Society of America. 12/01/2000 - present. Position : Member.

Teaching Philosophy

I believe that three concepts are integral to a successful course: (1) academic inquiry is an evolving and creative process, (2) different learning styles should be incorporated into teaching techniques, and (3) critical thinking skills are the basis of an informed citizenry and new generations of professionals. Tools I use to integrate these concepts include open dialogue in flipped classrooms in which students can select topics of discussion, directed problem solving exercises, directed readings, and laboratory exercises designed to be completed both online and via field-based exploration.

I have a nested hierarchy of teaching goals for students, depending on their respective career tracks. For non-majors, I hope to help them better understand pressing environmental issues and identify potential solutions to environmental challenges. I want these students to clearly understand fact from opinion, appreciate the role of science and technology for society, recognize the uncertainties of current scientific theory, identify environmental injustice, and embrace opportunities for achieving planetary sustainability. For majors planning to make a career in the fields of environmental science and sustainability, I intend to better prepare them for future coursework, instill in them the ability to apply principles and generalizations to new problems and situations, provide skills to critically analyze and synthesize data with which to make good decisions, and foster independent intellectual and experiential-based inquiry. For all students, I encourage participation in student groups, student projects, and internships that help them to work on issues of most interest and gain a diversity of skills applicable to future career paths and engaged citizenry. 

Courses I Teach

  • ENVST 2050 - Introduction to Environmental Science
    The goal for this class is to have students versed in the topics of: 1) Ecology and Sustainability, 2) Biodiversity, and 3) Earth Resources and Environmental Quality. The course consists of lectures, participation exercises, which will require critical thinking and data analysis, and the laboratory assignments (at-home and field based). These activities are designed to help students better understand laws of nature, pressing environmental issues, and innovative solutions to global environmental challenges.
  • ENVST 2100 - Field Experience: Environment and Sustainability
    This course provides an opportunity for students, focused on studies related to the environment and sustainability, to meet each other, in a field-research setting, and discuss a major environmental sustainability issue. The class will be held over a three-day weekend in the local area (overnight camping required). This class is open to all interested students, but is required for all Environmental Studies majors. Each year the class will focus on a particular issue related to the environment or sustainability that is of interest to the region where the class is being held. Local stakeholders will be invited to address the students and engage in dialogue.
  • ENVST 2100 - Introduction to Environment and Sustainability
    This course consists of a series of lectures from University of Utah faculty on a wide variety of research focuses on the environment and sustainability. The instructor provide context for understanding interconnections in topics and develops an integrated framework for understanding and analyzing the material. The course exposes students to a diverse range of philosophical and scientific viewpoints, as well as approaches to studying the environment and aspects of sustainability.

Teaching Projects

  • Sustainable Streams and Riparian Zones. Project Lead: Jennifer Follstad Shah. University of Utah Teaching Grant - Individual 08/01/2018 - 12/31/2018. Total Budget: $3,405.00.
  • Global Learning Integration for the Environmental and Sustainability Studies Program. Project Lead: Jennifer Watt. Collaborators: Jennifer Follstad Shah, Brett Clark. Global Learning Across the Disciplines (GLAD) Teaching Grant 09/01/2015 - 12/31/2016. Total Budget: $10,000.00.

Student Projects

  • Response of riparian plant communities to landscape legacies in a changing environment. Sydney Boogaard. 01/21/2019 - 05/31/2019
  • Detangling the effects of temperature, nutrient availability, and stream invertebrates on leaf litter decomposition. Jessica Gallafent. 06/04/2018 - 08/17/2018
  • Detangling the effects of temperature, nutrient availability, and stream invertebrates on leaf litter decomposition. Jessica Gallafent. 01/15/2018 - 05/31/2018
  • Point Intercept Transect Surveys on Myrtle Spurge (Euphorbia myrsinites). Brianna Milot. 01/15/2018 - 04/12/2018
  • Temperature sensitivity of leaf litter breakdown in streams varying in nutrient availability. Ian Schwenker-Punnett. 09/01/2017 - 12/15/2017
  • Temperature sensitivity of leaf litter breakdown for two common European riparian plants. Jihyun Noh. 09/01/2017 - 12/15/2017
  • Stable isotope signatures of organic matter in the Jordan River, Utah. Nicholas Storey. 08/14/2017 - 12/15/2017
  • Point Intercept Transect Surveys on Myrtle Spurge (Euphorbia myrsinites). Brianna Milot. 02/01/2017 - 05/05/2017
  • Nitrogen Cycling in the Jordan River. Michael Navidomskis. 09/01/2016 - 12/31/2016
  • Survival and growth of conifer seedlings planted through student stewardship projects at Alta Ski Area. Anna Albertsen. 06/01/2016 - 10/31/2016
  • Accuracy of low-cost CO2 and PM 2.5 air quality sensors: Potential citizen science tool? Alexandre Veilleux, Luis Vidal. 01/11/2016 - 05/04/2016
  • Effects of cattle grazing on phragmites growth and nutrient cycling within wetlands of the Great Salt Lake. Jay Jensen. 06/01/2015 - 04/30/2016

Current Students

  • Brittany Duncan, Master of Science (M.S.), Project Type: Thesis. Role: Member. Institution: Utah State University.

Former Students

  • Brittany Duncan, Master of Science (M.S.), Project Type: Thesis. Role: Member. Institution: Utah State University.
  • Eric McCulley, Master of Science (M.S.), Project Type: Thesis. Role: Member. Institution: Utah State University.