Catherine Keske, Ph.D..

Catherine Keske  Ph.D.

Bottle Cove, Newfoundland (CANADA)


If I were to condense my teaching and mentoring into a single statement, I would say that I have inspired and guided others to grow and to attain success in ways that they might not have otherwise envisioned were possible. 

As a teacher and mentor, I strive to understand each individual’s unique interests and strengths.  I facilitate lifelong learning opportunities, regardless of whether my interactions are in brief conversation, over the course of a teaching term, or sustained, as in the case of an adviser/advisee or collegial relationship.  I believe that every person has unlimited potential, and I am honored to have the opportunity to help others realize their talents on their journey through life.  It is rewarding to guide students and colleagues to reach their fullest capabilities, as others have done for me. 

Statement of Teaching Interests:  Multi-disciplinary and Methods Classes

I enjoy teaching multi-disciplinary courses that weave together different skill sets to approach resource and environmental problems. 

I’ve been fortunate to teach in different academic environments that embrace interdisciplinary research and teaching. 

Over the years I have taught a variety of research methods courses, including upper division undergraduate econometrics and graduate-level research methods for environmental management.  At University of California-Merced, I teach Coupled Natural and Human Systems (ES 292/MIST 253) for Ph.D. students in the Environmental Systems program and Ph.D. students in the Management of Complex Systems program.  This course presents a continuum of research methodologies to students who are seeking a social science research phase for their biophysical research work.  The course is also designed for social scientists that seek to learn more about using mixed methods research methodologies for environmental management. 

I also teach Law, Policy, and Risk Management (MIST 208) in the Ernest and Julio Gallo Master of Management program, as well as the integrative Capstone experience (MIST 210).  MIST 208 is an expansion of my experience teaching Environmental Economics, and Public Utility Regulation, at the Denver University Sturm School of Law as an Adjunct Professor for a number of years. 

I also teach interdisciplinary energy policy courses.  In the next year I plan to teach Energy Policy (ENVE 164), which is currently offered by UC-Merced’s Civil and Environmental Engineering Department as an Upper Division undergraduate course.  I look forward to blending engineering, economics, and policy in this course so that students may obtain employment in the energy industry, or at least become more aware of energy choices, so that as a society we can shift our policies and consumer decisions towards more sustainable ones.  I’ve enjoyed teaching smaller, graduate-level multi-disciplinary energy policy and energy assessment courses in the past and I look forward to working with undergraduate students in larger class sizes, in the near future. 

In summary, I am passionate about teaching multi-disciplinary courses on methods and sustainability at both the graduate and undergraduate levels.  I have played an active role in expanding the UC-Merced division’s academic programs in sustainability and management. 

If you are considering applying to graduate school at UC-Merced, or if you are already enrolled at UC-Merced and are considering one of my courses, please feel free to email me .

My course syllabi change each year, as I modify course material to incorporate contemporary issues and student feedback.  Older versions of course syllabi are searchable on the UC-Merced website .

Teaching Philosophy

Personal growth and development for teachers is best attained by a commitment to learning, hard work, integrity, and empowerment. 

With this in mind, I commit to delivering each lecture in a manner that is consistent with what I would expect as a student.  I enter the classroom organized, prepared, and passionate about the material that I deliver.  I invest time to understand what students desire to gain from the class, while adhering to curriculum and professional standards so that students will be able to successfully complete future courses, their degree, and (hopefully) a career that they love.  However, I am mindful that enduring “teachable moments” may arise when students pose spontaneous questions.  I embrace these extemporaneous situations, but I always come to class prepared, knowing that each lecture may unfold differently than planned, depending upon the needs of students. 

I structure the organization of my courses and decisions in a manner that I believe fosters respect and equity. I provide voluminous, honest, and constructive feedback about how students may improve their performance and achieve better understanding of the material.  I also take time to reflect upon the feedback that students provide to me and I make adjustments and adaptations to foster success.  I consider myself a rigorous but positive teacher who is committed to helping students come away from the class with lasting knowledge of course content, as well as my core values.  I deliver feedback and courses in a manner that I believe reflects a high degree of integrity and that will foster learning in both the near term and the long run. 

I seek opportunities to empower students and colleagues, whether it is in the classroom, in research collaboration, or part of network development.  I have grown personally and professionally because individuals at important junctures in my life have invested time to understand my interests and match me with opportunities where I could flourish and grow.  I feel fortunate to have gained enough experience where I can return the favor.  As a mentor, if my mentee succeeds, then I succeed. 

If you are interested in working with me as a graduate student at UC-Merced, or wish to speak with one of my current or former students, please feel free to email me.