featured Teacher February 2013

Dr. Deneen Long-White


CETLA’s 2012 Green Teacher of the Year, Dr. Deneen Long-White, is a lecturer and advisor in the Department of Health, Human Performance, and Leisure Studies in the College of Arts & Sciences. With more than twenty years of experience in public health, she was greatly concerned about environmental health.  In fact, it is one of the six dimensions of wellness that she teaches students in her health science course.  That is why, in 2011, she decided to seek green teaching certification.  “Each of us has a responsibility to reduce our individual carbon footprint in order to preserve and protect the earth for future generations,” she explains.  “The course helps to reinforce that concept, and thus I thought it was best not just to ‘talk the talk,’ but to also ‘walk the talk’….”

To “walk the talk,” Dr. Long-White began to shift more and more of her course materials and assignments online.  She not only posted syllabi and handouts online, but encouraged Long-Whitestudents to purchase used textbooks or e-books.  Eventually, she started teaching her health science course completely online.  However, she has continued to incorporate green teaching strategies in all of her courses, including the face-to-face ones—and she has relished the challenge.  “Deciding to eliminate waste and become green,” she observes, “made me think out of the box on how to incorporate green techniques in the classroom while maintaining high standards of pedagogy.”  What she discovered was that “teaching green” did not simply save paper and energy; in some instances, it also improved teaching, learning, and assessment.  For example, Dr. Long-White recalls what happened when she decided to conduct all of her tests online via Blackboard, even while students were in the classroom:

I thought this would be overwhelming.  However, it was quite easy.  Students are able to use their tablets, laptops, or smartphones to complete the test, which is done in the classroom.  At the completion of the test, they are able to instantly know their score, thus enabling them to know their progress in the course sooner.  The students are happy with this benefit, and I am able to eliminate using reams of paper required to administer a paper test to over 300 students.  In addition, it frees up my time….

Since she joined the Green Teaching program in 2011, Dr. Long-White has learned valuable tips at CETLA’s  semi-annual Green Teacher ceremonies, where green-certified faculty receive prizes and share best practices.  She has implemented some of those tips in her courses and plans to explore others that leverage social media such as Twitter and polling. Having earned both Blackboard and Distance-Learning certification—as well as a tablet for qualifying as Green Teacher of the Year—Dr. Long-White is well-equipped to harness technology to teach better and greener.  “Becoming certified has helped my teaching methods evolve from the traditional paper, pencil/pen, and hardcopy textbook to methods which our 21st Century students expect,” she says.

Note:  To find out how to apply for Green Teaching certification, go to CETLA’s Green Teaching website.  This semester’s deadline is Earth Day, Monday, April 22.