University of Canterbury (2015-present):

I teach the Forest Transportation and Road Design course, where students learn to plan and design access roads in New Zealand’s steep terrain.  Students develop practical skills in road surveying, assessing soil and aggregate strength, designing horizontal and vertical curves, and calculating cut and fill volumes with RoadEng.  Students learn to design forest road pavements based on soil and aggregate strength, planned traffic characteristics, and cost-benefit analysis.  Students also learn to design road drainage systems and stream crossing culverts based on design storm peak flow rates.

The course culminates in the forest road design assignment, which is a is a hands-on learning experience that aims to allow students to synthesize concepts covered in class and to build skills that are highly applicable to a career in forest harvesting operations.  During a two-day field trip, students are hosted by a forest management company on a tour of forest road operations.  The company provides students with a real world road access problem.  The students are tasked with surveying multiple road routes, developing road design reports, and making a professional recommendation to the harvest planning manager.


Associate Professor Rien Visser and students inspecting a newly constructed spur road.












Students from the 2015 field trip measuring road gradient along the direction of travel. The students worked uphill from the proposed landing location to the existing road.


Road plan and profile developed by students from the 2015 field trip.  This was one of two route options proposed by students.

Virginia Tech (2011-2014):

I was a teaching assistant for three semesters in the Department of Forest Resources and Environmental Conservation.  Courses included Forested Wetlands, Forest Soils and Hydrology, and Forest Boundaries and Roads.  I was a guest lecturer in each of the aforementioned courses, as well as Nonpoint Source Pollution Modeling, a course offered by the Department of Biological Systems Engineering.  I earned a graduate teaching certificate that is offered by the Graduate School at Virginia Tech, called Preparing the Future Professoriate.

In the Spring 2013 semester, I co-taught Forest Boundaries and Roads with Dr. Michael Aust. My portion of the course focused on planning forest road location, construction, use, maintenance, and road closure with an emphasis on protecting water quality.  I prepared learning objectives and lectures, assisted with the organization and implementation of field laboratory trips, prepared and graded exams, and evaluated both student learning and my own performance through feedback-generating exercises.


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