Jennifer Lynn Lathem
Lecturer in Geosciences
Life Sciences 147
Phone: (812) 941-2017
I received my undergraduate degree in Geography from IU Southeast in 2006, went immediately into my graduate program at Indiana State University, then started teaching at my alma mater in the Fall of 2008. I love this university, and I am very fortunate that I was able to return "home" to share my passion for the natural world with our students.
In addition to being a Lecturer in Geosciences, I am also a wife and a mom to three very busy children.
- Indiana State University, Terre Haute, United States
- Master of Arts, Major in Geography
- Indiana University Southeast, New Albany, United States
- Bachelor of Arts, Major in Geography, Minor in Geology
As an educator, I am dedicated to getting my students excited about learning. Our Earth is a very exciting place, and as an educator of the geosciences, I encourage my students to open their minds to the wonder of the world in which they live. To do this, it is crucial that I make the content relevant to students…to connect the learning in the classroom to the real world. My teaching employs the use of relatable examples and current research/events to explain concepts. In addition, experiential learning is of utmost importance and used whenever possible. This helps students to understand the material, but it also helps to make the material more interesting and relevant so that they have a better chance of retaining the knowledge long after the semester has finished. To help with retention of knowledge, I practice the retrieval processes with students in my classes. The literature on learning suggests that long-term retention of knowledge increases when the student has plenty of opportunities to retrieve the information from their brains. This is practiced with daily small stakes quizzes and review sessions that allow students to retrieve the information learned from a previous class meeting. Another key ingredient to learning is detailed and valuable feedback. Feedback is necessary to growth in all aspects of our lives. Documented feedback is provided to students through Canvas, our university’s learning management system, on all graded and ungraded assignments.
Students are individuals, they differ from one another, and, therefore, learn best from various different methods. It is very important that I use a variety of instructional material, teaching methods (including active and collaborative learning) and assessments (including the practice of the retrieval process) to reach my students’ diverse learning needs. This variety also helps to keep the students’ attention during class time. I create an open and relaxed learning environment in my classroom, both face-to-face and virtual, as I feel that both are important to a student’s success. Students are encouraged to stop me to ask questions or to make comments at any time, and small breakout group discussions are also incorporated within both face-to-face and virtual class meetings. These teaching techniques allow students to feel more comfortable and open to learning. In my classes, students participate in multiple collaborative assignments, which helps to create a fun and safe learning environment as well. Students in my classes become comfortable with me and with one another which makes it easier to become comfortable with the content.
I am personally interested in the success of each student, and I strive to be as available as possible. I am always willing to make time to meet with my students outside of class, whether it be face-to-face or via a virtual meeting. When students recognize my willingness to help them and provide sincere thoughtful feedback, they may feel more comfortable and dedicated to the course. I recognize that students’ schedules are often very different from my own, so I reply to student emails/messages outside of “normal” working hours including on nights and weekends. I feel that a good rapport with my students provides for a more successful learning environment. Students and their needs are a priority to me.
I believe in the power of education, and I believe in the power of connection. When students feel connected to their university, their peers, their instructors and their learning, they will be more successful in terms of their education. I connect with students and build relationships to break down any barriers that may exist to their learning, and I am confident that it is the key to student success.
My research interests include natural hazards/disasters (specifically flood and karst hazards), floodplain inhabitant flood hazard adaptations, and pollution, conservation and sustainability issues associated with surficial and subsurface water resources.
As a lecturer, my primary focus in on teaching rather than research, consequently I am not currently engaged in a research project.
Photography (nature and people)