McGraw Center Faculty Discussion: How Do We Create Deep Engagement?

by McGraw Center

Forum/Panel Discussion

Thu, Nov 3, 2022

4:30 PM – 5:30 PM EDT (GMT-4)

Add to Calendar

Online Event



Dynamic and engaged discussion; attentive listening; creative and analytical thinking: we hope for these qualities in our classrooms and our students’ work. What exercises, homework assignments, and final assessments generate deep engagement among our students? In what ways does technology deepen engagement?


Rob Pringle's profile photo

Rob Pringle

Professor of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology

Princeton University

I am fascinated by nearly all facets of ecology and conservation, and research in my lab addresses a correspondingly broad suite of questions. How do ecologically similar species coexist? What do animals eat when we’re not looking, and how are food webs organized? Why are large herbivores and carnivores so ecologically important, and what happens when they go extinct? What rules govern the assembly of biological communities and patterns of biodiversity in space and time? What determines the strength and outcome of ecological interactions across gradients of climate and soil fertility? Why do species sometimes cooperate with each other, and under what conditions to these mutualisms break down? When one species invades a new environment, what happens to the species that were already there? How do plants defend themselves against animals that want to eat them? How do regular spatial patterns form in nature, and how do they enhance the stability and productivity of ecosystems? What are the mechanics of large-scale ecosystem restoration following civil war and faunal collapse? How do termites, elephants and other ecosystem architects engineer their environments? How do physiological constraints and trade-offs influence animal behavior and population dynamics?

Our work on these questions is motivated by curiosity, and the questions are united by a single goal: to understand how wild ecosystems work by studying their modular components and emergent properties. By understanding how things work, we can appreciate them more fully and understand better how to fix them when they break.

We work primarily in African savannas as well as on small Caribbean islands. We use a range of empirical and theoretical approaches, but a particular focus of our current work is to combine DNA metabarcoding and other molecular analyses with manipulative field experiments to derive a mechanistic understanding of ecological patterns and processes.

Katherine Stanton's profile photo

Katherine Stanton

Director, McGraw Center for Teaching and Learning; Associate Dean, Office of the Dean of the College

Princeton University

Kate has worked at the McGraw Center for Teaching and Learning for many years. She received her Ph.D. in Literatures in English from Rutgers University and taught in the Rutgers Writing Program. She served as Assistant Director of the McGraw Center from 2003 to 2007, before leaving to spend ten years at Harvard in different administrative roles in academic affairs and faculty affairs. She also taught regularly in Harvard’s Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies program. Since returning to Princeton, Kate has been instrumental in implementing multiple enhancements to McGraw’s Teaching Initiatives and Programs for Faculty.

Hosted By

McGraw Center | View More Events

Contact the organizers