RolkeSusan Rolke

Instructor, Environmental Science
Instructional Laboratory Technician

•    Biology and Environmental
•    Science/Natural Sciences

Degree Information:
•    M.S. Science Education, Montana State University
•    B.S. Math/Physics, Keene State College

Courses Taught:
•    Introduction to Environmental Science I/II
•    Foundations of Math

Research interests:
•    Science education  

I believe my role as an educator is to enable others in the learning process.  Teaching is not about how much information I know, but about how I can empower my students to learn by enabling them to take control of their education and thereby attain a meaningful learning experience. 

My classroom is student centered with students actively engaged in the learning process.  I believe that in order for true learning to take place the role of the student needs to be transformed from that of a passive listener to an active participant.  This belief is strongly influenced by my own educational experience that knowledge is social and constructed during cooperative-peer interactions.  Reflection on my experience in college led to the realization that the most valuable aspects of my education was from interaction with my peers as we sought to comprehend the information and attempt to apply it in new and novel ways. 

I believe students build knowledge through dialogue as they engage in hypothesizing, analyzing, and challenging each others’ perceptions as they strive to internalize the information, thereby, building a deeper level of understanding.  Peer interaction enables students to clarify and reorganize their understanding, leading to cognitive restructuring and deeper conceptual understanding.  Although PowerPoint presentations are common in the lecture portion of class, team work and discussion are employed during lab.

I am passionate about enabling and stimulating intellectual growth.   While students are ultimately responsible for their education and learning experience, I strive to spark their curiosity and desire to learn through the use of relevant, real-world problems by appealing to students’ innate curiosity, and through the creation of a personal connection to the problem as the students seek to determine a plausible solution.  In Introduction to Environmental Science students learn how their actions impact the world around us and explore viable solutions.

My hope is to inspire my students to be life long learners and, in the case of my environmental science students, to continue to consider how their decisions affect our planet.  I hope to serve as a role model as I continue to refine my teaching skills through reading, experimenting with new methods, attending seminars and classes, as well as, sharing my stories regarding the choices I make to live more sustainably. 

W.B. Yeats captured the essence of teaching when he wrote: “Education is not the filling of a pail, but the lighting of a fire.”  My goal as a teacher is to ignite within my students their ability to achieve their true potential.  To that end, I believe it is essential to cultivate curiosity, empower students to learn, foster critical thinking, and inspire students to take action.

Publications and Presentations:
•    Classroom Climate Change (2010)

Professional Memberships:
•    National Science Teachers Association
•    Sigma Pi Sigma, National Physics Honors Society

Conferences Attended:
•    Twelfth Annual Symposium in Science Education

•    Chair, Faculty Development Committee

Personal Interests:
agriculture, astronomy, astrobiology

Contact Information
    Phone: 603.899.4384
    Fax: 603.899.4389
    Office location: Marcucella Hall 130