Teaching

Pedagogical experience and Approach

Education is a deeply-held passion of mine, and it was through the pursuit of teaching opportunities that I was first introduced to ecology. During my graduate and postdoctoral training, I worked to build my pedagogical toolkit through undergraduate and graduate student teaching and mentorship, despite never holding a position with teaching duties. I applied these tools and experiences to design highly-rated courses and lectures in statistics, R programming, and conservation biology.

In 2019, I designed and taught a statistics course for upper-level PhD students at the University of Louisville (Advanced Applied Analysis – BIOL 671). The goal of this course was to demonstrate how to analyze and present real data including all of the problems and errors that typically are not covered in statistics courses. I began with interactive lectures to review statistical theory, and then I flipped the classroom for the rest of the semester.  I helped each student analyze one of their dissertation chapters outside of class and then they presented their analytical approach to their classmates.  Students learned how to apply their conceptual knowledge of statistics to real-life situations and gained practical experience with a wide variety of statistical tools.

I concurrently taught half of a lecture-based Conservation Biology course (BIOL 567) for graduate students and upper-level undergraduates.  This course applied ecological theory to understand how anthropogenic activities are disrupting natural ecosystems.  We then focused on how conservation professionals work to restore and protect our planet’s ecosystems and biodiversity.  Although this was a lecture-based course, I organized my lectures to require continuous student interaction, including group discussions and active learning modules.

Mentorship

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Undergraduate research assistant Riley Kneale attaches a respirometry collar in Panama.

Outside of the classroom, I particularly enjoy mentoring students.  My experiences as an undergraduate research assistant shaped my future career and I want to provide similar opportunities to the next generation of scientists. As for graduate students, I filled a niche in my department as someone who will help shape the experimental design and statistical analysis of students’ dissertations. Although I work within academia, most individuals will not pursue academic jobs. Consequently, I work to prepare my mentees so that they can ask and answer questions in any future career path. Ultimately, mentoring students is an excellent medium for combining my interests in research with my passion for education, and I plan to continue mentoring students throughout my career.

Student Testimonials

Advanced Applied Analysis:

“I have felt a constant fear of statistics throughout my graduate and undergraduate career and a great deal of this fear subsided with this course. I think this course was designed very well.”

 “Incredibly knowledgeable with the content and in particular, R. Any question I had regarding my analysis was answered quickly and clearly. Evan was also fantastic at explaining the concepts behind our analyses, emphasizing why it’s important the statistics are run the way they are”

“This course was super beneficial for me and I loved having Evan as an instructor. I would gladly take any of his courses in the future!”

Intro-to-R workshop:

“Evan really made sure we all understood since the beginning of the workshop, he had a great disposition for helping each of the participants, always answered our questions and doubts. And he definitely knew what he was talking about. He did a great job!”

“Evan was great at engaging the students and making sure we were all ready to move on to the next concept at the same time. He stopped to walk around the room and help us figure out problems we were having with the program. It was also great using real data with real errors so that we learn how to spot similar errors in our own data.”

“As instructor, Evan Gora was outstanding. He is not only very easy to understand, but he also has the appropriate willingness to answer all questions from basic to complex. He is extremely patient, which is great in any instructor.”

“A master-class in programming!”

Conservation Biology:

“Evan is incredibly passionate and knowledgeable about Cons Bio and it showed in his lectures. He was great about engaging the class and trying to get students to participate which helped facilitate my learning. By far my favorite course taken at UofL.”

“[Evan] explained everything very clearly and provided interesting examples to make the subject matter more engaging. Seemed very knowledgeable of the subject matter.”

“I liked how Dr. Gora provided lots of interesting bits of information and relevant examples to the material we were covering. They were very passionate about the material and they seemed to understand it well which made it an enjoyable learning experience.”