ENT4251 Forest Entomology (3 credits, every fall semester)

Is that stately ash in front of your grandparents’ house scheduled for removal? Is the leader on your spruce curling over instead of standing straight? Is your Christmas tree turning red instead of staying green?  Forest ecologists, urban and woodland foresters, horticulturalists, arborists, and resource managers face challenging yet essential tasks in being able to identify, diagnose, and manage insect challenges associated with trees. The number of invasive species, and multi-species complexes, is increasing every year. The course emphasizes the identification, biology, and diagnosis of insect-caused damage associated with forest and shade trees, and examines the range of management options available, from the very simple and isolated to the very complex and widespread.

No previous experience with insects is required.

Select comments from ENT 4251 student evaluations

  • “I literally looked forward to this class every Monday and Wednesday.  I had a blast learning about the complex insect problems that can play a role in forest systems as well as hearing about your various experiences in your career.  Your excitement about entomology is contagious.  I wish I could take more courses with you, because I feel like I retained more information from this course than any other.”
  • “Brian had very good practical experience and stories to accompany lecture material.  This helped drive home the material.  Brian was willing to take time answering questions in class on topics that students wanted to know more about.”
  • “Extremely knowledgeable and engaged with students.  Genuinely wanted everyone to learn the material.”
  • “Worked with me a bunch and very respectfully to help me succeed in this class.”
  • “I really appreciated the detail presented in this course.  He clearly has a lot of experience and the real-world stories and studies he could bring into the lecture material were helpful for memory purposes and for stimulating interest.  He really cares about the topics presented and was dedicated.  The information presented was applicable for future careers; very practical, which was nice!”
  • “It seemed like Brian really put effort into getting to know the students.”
  • “Lectures always had me laughing and learning.  I knew nothing about insects before so I’ve gained a wealth of knowledge.”
  • “Engaging and funny lectures with a lot of good information.  Anecdotes honestly provided lots of good context that helped information about insects be more meaningful and memorable.”
  • “Interactive lectures.  Not only was he simply giving us the information, he was engaging us to solidify the information.”
  • “Very enjoyable professor.  I wish I still needed a stats class, so I could have him again.”

ENT5126 Spatial and Temporal Statistics (3 credits, spring of even years)

Spatial and temporal statistics continues to be one of the fastest developing areas of statistics. We start with a brief refresher on data management and linear models (regression and ANOVA), then touch on temporal data and the three major areas of spatial statistics (spatial point processes, lattice data, and geostatistics). Lectures are accompanied by lab exercises so that students leave the course armed with both a toolkit of methodologies appropriate for their thesis data and conversation starters at parties.

I teach this as an applied course. I recognize not every student (or faculty member!) is comfortable with calculus. We pay careful attention to evaluation of statistical assumptions, diagnostic work, and best practices. The course consists of two 1-hour weekly lectures and a 2-hour hands-on laboratory component. Enrollment is capped at 24 students.

Select comments from Ent 5126 student evaluations

  • “This is the single most useful course I have ever taken in all of my undergraduate and graduate course work.  Brian made the material both understandable and applicable, while also making the course fun and enjoyable (not an easy feat for a stats course).”
  • “Brian is very knowledgeable about statistics, but is able to explain concepts in a way that makes difficult material very easy to understand.  This was my third statistics course, and Brian explained the basic key concepts I had previously learned in a way that broadened my understanding and increased my knowledge of the subject immensely.”
  • “Brian took time to answer all questions thoroughly.  He brought in real life examples to reinforce concepts – very helpful!  Feedback on labs was quick and he went over problems in a way that ensured understanding.  He seemed to keep track of our progress and reviewed material we struggled with.”
  • “I have taken many statistics courses.  This was the best one, in terms of the material is very clearly presented, the most practical, and cutting edge perspectives.  For example, I have been in courses where antiquated or irrelevant statistical approaches are presented.  This course was probably the best in terms of presenting very useful, applied methods.”
  • “THANK YOU… I liked the insights into how stats is used in real publications (AKA “stats forensics” moments where we’d deduce sample size from degrees of freedom or other “puzzles”) The labs were excellent!  Real ecological data!  Humor in instruction! I like that a little biographical info about statisticians was woven into the material – it helps me remember things!  Very patient with questions and nonjudging when they were very “basic” or “obvious” – never made to feel that way.”
  • “Brian excels at making difficult material accessible.  Brian is very engaging, making it very easy to pay attention to the material.”
  • “The instructor was one of the best statistics professors I have ever had.  First, he cared about us as people and was sensitive to our needs (even pointing out in one class that he could tell the stress of the semester was visible) and being open to adjusting the schedule as needed.  He wrote on the board to illustrate points clearly – I don’t like powerpoint slides of stats equations because it makes the teaching too fast to absorb.  He was available for extra meetings and always open to help.”
  •  “This was the best statistics course I have ever taken!  The instructor was motivated, well-prepared, and his slides were great.  He drew a lot on the board, which really helped.  He looked at how to interpret statistical outcomes in detail and from a somehow different angle and made me finally understand.  The lab exercises were amazing!”
  • “Brian wrote out many examples and problems on the board, instead of only relying on slides.  I found this easier to follow and learn from than only viewing slides.  This was a great course that I would definitely recommend to others!”
  • “The instructor could take any question and provide an answer (if an answer was possible).  I feel that the course material provided nearly everything I will need to succeed in my program as well as the tools to go out and learn anything else on my own.”

Other courses

I have taught courses in both ecology and statistics. Since 2006, including tenure as an adjunct faculty member at UNBC in British Columbia, I have taught

as well as a number of independent study or thesis projects for undergraduates, and occasional guest lectures at universities in North and South America (either in person or remote).