Karen C. Seto

Associate Dean of Research; Director of Doctoral Studies; Professor of Geography and Urbanization Science

Teaching Statement

I want to train the next generation of geographers and Earth system scientists. Just as the invention of the microscope provided a new lens to view science, modern geographic tools such as remote sensing, GIS, and spatial analysis provide a fresh perspective on the world, the environment, and the relationship between people and the environment.

My teaching philosophy rests on three tenets: integrating students in research, developing writing skills, and fostering systems thinking. My approach to education mirrors my research: I emphasize interdisciplinary training that is hands-on and cutting-edge. In lectures and seminars, I employ the Socratic method of teaching and challenge students to think critically. I find mentoring and teaching students fulfilling because it offers an opportunity for me to engage and collaborate with the next generation of scholars, and in turn, expand my own worldviews.

I offer a range of classes, from technical courses on urban remote sensing and digital image processing to seminars on urbanization, global change, and sustainability. I am a geographer and enjoy fieldwork with students. Geography is the study of the relationship among the what, the where, and the why. Where better to study the links between humans and the environment than in the field?