My teaching intends to help students become better equipped to read, write, think critically and creatively, act ethically, work independently and collaboratively, and help address social and environmental problems. My research, teaching, and service are interconnected and I use models such as service learning and community-based projects to help students learn practical skills in ways that that also address community interests, priorities, and problems.

I teach courses on environmental communication and communication research methods and I center rhetorical theories and methods within these courses. I have also taught courses focsued on sustainbility science, communication and facilitation, and rhetorical ethnography. I serve as the Undergraduate Advising Coordinator for the Department of Communication and Journalism and teach a course that helps undergraduate students majoring in communication, media studies, or journalism learn about these majors and educational opportunities on the UMaine campus and surrounding communities.

Here are recent courses with syllabus links and additional resources.




The Environmental Communication Community of Practice (EC CooP) is a learning community composed of faculty, graduate students, undergraduate students, and community partners who share interests in environmental communication and interdisciplinary approaches to sustainability. We host workshops and discussions focused on civic engagement and community organizing; making meaningful career connections through online presence, networking opportunities, and relationship development; writing and peer support; grant proposal development; oral and poster presentations for academic conferences; and coordinating research and fieldwork activities. We do engaged research and service projects, such as video recording, and in future we intend to create facilitated dialogues on issues that matter. We also maintain an archive of environmental communication civic and career resources and a listserve where we regularly post relevant announcements and share content. Please contact me if you’d like to join our group and/or listserve.

Here are some photos from adventures in engaged learning:

Visiting the Great Works dam removal site to feel rhetorics of river restoration and collect aquatic insects to learn about river health.
Sean Smith describes the Great Works dam removal site
Learning about Penobscot River hydrology with Professor Sean Smith.
Visiting the Penobscot Nation’s Water Resources Program to learn about water monitoring and their cultural scientific approach.
Reflecting on changing meanings and relationships with water and place.
Group at Leonards Mills
Visiting Leonard’s Mills to explore environmental communication related to Maine’s logging history.
Documenting Juniper Ridge
Documenting perspectives of the Juniper Ridge landfill.
An early morning walk and nature journaling on campus trails.
Developing sensory awareness through journaling.
Abby and Hannah purple glove high five
Learning about campus food waste by digging into compost.
A field trip with the Penobscot Nation’s Water Resources Program.
Graduate students visit the Wells National Estuarine Research Reserve to learn about watershed-based collaborations and enjoy the ocean.
Getting a sense of river restoration at the former Great Works dam site.
Professor Sean Smith shows students tidal flow data in a lesson on river ecology and hydrology.
Using biological metaphor to trace associations in complex cases of social and environmental justice.
Learning about research ethics through a case study of Gang Leader for a Day.
Concept mapping communication research methods.