Center for Studies in Demography and Ecology

Yen-Chu Wang

Lecturer, College of the Environment
University of Washington

website


CSDE Research Areas:

  • Environments and Populations

As a geographer, I have always been interested in exploring the connections between human societies and the environment. I received broad trainings in both the biophysical sciences and the social sciences and integrated quantitative, qualitative, and GIS methods into my research. My thesis analyzed the spatio-temporal changes of urban landscape patterns in response to urbanization, with a focus on green space conservation and landscape ecology. In my doctoral research, I explored different perspectives on ecological restoration from the standpoints of scientists, professional practitioners, and volunteers. Based on case studies from Wisconsin and Michigan, I cross-examined the meanings of science, nature, and public participation embedded in restoration ideologies and practices. 

 

Currently as a lecturer in the Program on the Environment at the University of Washington, my primary role is undergraduate education, through which I experiment with innovative teaching strategies. My current research projects include comparing student learning outcomes between in-person and online formats of the same course, methods for cross-cultural learning experience through virtual collaboration, and case study pedagogy. I am an active member of the UW Center for Teaching and Learning. Externally, I am involved in the National Socio-Environmental Synthesis Center’s program on “Teaching Socio-Environmental Synthesis with Case Studies.” I frequently present my work at conferences by associations such as the American Association of Geographers, Association for Environmental Studies and Sciences, and North American Association for Environmental Education.  

 

At the UW, I am also a core faculty member of the Taiwan Studies Program. I lead a summer study abroad program to Taiwan with the theme on exploring environmental and social resilience. In the course “Environmental Issues in East Asia”, we survey contemporary environmental issues in China, Japan, South Korea, and Taiwan through a comparative lens. Every Winter Quarter, I organized a lecture series focusing on Contemporary Environmental Issues in East Asia. In addition to teaching and research, I advise students on Capstone projects, including topics about environmental education, greenway infrastructure, sustainability design, community outreach, clean-up site prioritization and many others.