Valerie Banschbach Profile
Dr. Valerie S. Banschbach
Professor - Environmental Studies
Chair - Environmental StudiesCourses
Ph. D. University of Miami, Coral Gables, Florida
B.A. Pomona College, Claremont, California
Research & Teaching Interests
Wildlife conservation; animal behavior; agro-ecology; social insects (esp. ants and bees); tropical ecology; pedagogy and curriculum development in environmental studies and science; entrepreneurship for scientists
Teaching accomplishments include leading the inaugural offering of the Roanoke College Yucatan Semester Program, January - April of 2017 by teaching courses on Sustainable Agriculture and Food Systems, and Conservation Science, at three sites in Mexico, for Roanoke College students and serving as their on-site mentor. My co-edited book (under contract with Palgrave Macmillan, Springer Nature, with Teresa Lloro-Bidart) on Animals in Environmental Education represents another significant accomplishment in innovative, interdisciplinary pedagogy.
Nominated for President-Elect of the national Association for Environmental Studies and Sciences. Elections in progress until May 1, 2018.
The Association for Environmental Studies and Sciences is the leading national organization for scholars and other professionals conducting interdisciplinary environmental scholarship and teaching. About AESS: "From its beginning, the Association has been envisioned as a community of environmental scholars and scientists, not a confederation of disciplines. Fundamental to its members’ embrace of higher education is the notion that broad advances in environmental knowledge require disciplinary, interdisciplinary, and transdisciplinary approaches to research and learning." -AESS website
U.S. Fulbright Senior Scholar at the Wildlife Institute of India, July 2013 - December 2013, Uttarakhand. Taught graduate-level Wildlife Science courses. Conducted research on ants as bioindicators of the impacts of organic farming. My blog about the Fulbright experience and work is available at: http://valeriebanschbach.com
Research on ants as bioindicators in a fire-dependent, threatened ecosystem: Sandplain forest in Vermont. Since 2010, I have studied the ant biodiversity of burned and unburned plots of land in one of the most threatened forest types in the Northeastern United States, sandplain pine-oak-heath forest. This work is done in collaboration with the Vermont Army National Guard who own and manage the largest remaining parcel of sandplain forest in the state of Vermont. I have engaged 9 undergraduates in this work, and we have presented invited lectures, posters and talks at regional and national conferences in the USA and in India about the work. A peer-reviewed journal article describing some of our results appeared in the Northeastern Naturalist in 2014. In 2015, I worked with a Roanoke College student who received a Summer Scholar grant to and accompanied me to Vermont for fieldwork for his project for Honors in the Environmental Studies major.
Research on ants as bioindicators in agro-ecosystems. To date I have studied ant communities of farms and gardens in Uttarakhand, India, Roanoke VA and Washington DC. In Summer 2016 and 2017, I have been working with students on the ant communities of community gardens in urban and suburban settings to learn how urban biodiversity of insects is affected by garden projects.
Elected and served as a public school board member and board chair in the Underhill ID District, Jericho, Vermont, for 6 years.
Hiking and outdoor exploration. Travel. Yoga.
BooksAnimals in Environmental Education: Interdisciplinary Approaches to Curriculum and Pedagogy. Under contract with Palgrave Macmillan, co-editor with Dr. Teresa Lloro-Bidart, anticipated publication in 2018. The book emphasizes integration of the arts, humanities, and natural and social sciences. Each chapter considers how interdisciplinary curricular and pedagogical practices shed new light on our understandings of and ethical/moral obligations to animals. Engaging conceptual frameworks such as intersectionality, posthumanism, and significant life experiences, and considering topics such as equine training, meat consumption and production, urban human-animal relationships, and zoos and aquariums, the chapters collectively contribute to the field by foregrounding the lives of animals to produce novel ideas for animal-focused education.
*Denotes undergraduate co-author.
Banschbach, V.S. 2016. Small liberal arts colleges foster success in STEM and Entomology. American Entomologist 62(2):125-126. Summer 2016. Invited as part of peer- reviewed symposium: Partnering with Liberal Arts Colleges. Edited by K. Larsen, D. Howard and C. Hall.
Banschbach, V.S. and *E. Ogilvy. 2014. Long-term impacts of controlled burns on the Ant Community (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) of a Sandplain Forest in Vermont. Northeastern Naturalist. 21(1): NENHC-1-NENHC-12.
Banschbach, V.S., *Yeamans, R.L., *Brunelle, A., *Gulka, A. and *M. Holmes. 2012. Edge effects on community and social structure of Northern temperate deciduous forest ants. Psyche. vol. 2012, Article ID 548260, 7 pages, doi:10.1155/2012/548260. Available at: http://www.hindawi.com/journals/psyche/2012/548260/
Banschbach, V.S. and R. Letovsky. 2011. Teaming Environmental Biology and Business Administration Seniors on “Green” Enterprise Plans at Saint Michael's College, Colchester, VT. Journal of Environmental Studies and Sciences. Available at: http://www.springerlink.com/openurl.asp?genre=article&id=doi:10.1007/s13412-011-0036-x
Banschbach, V.S. and R. Letovsky. 2010. The use of corn and sugarcane to produce ethanol fuel: A fermentation experiment for environmental studies. American Biology Teacher, 72(1): 31 – 36.
*Denotes undergraduate co-author.
1. "Animal Minds, After Darwin". Public lecture for Darwin Days, Roanoke College.
2. Co-organizer, co-chair (with Teresa Lloro-Bidart) and presenter, peer-reviewed session at the American Educational Research Association annual national meeting in New York, New York on "Animals in Environmental Education: Interdisciplinary Approaches to Curriculum and Pedagogy". April 2018. The session features invited speakers from Austrailia, Austria, Canada and the US. My presentation, co-authored with Marwood Larson-Harris is entitled "Connecting the Science of Animal Cognition and Emotion with Ethical Reasoning in the Classroom".
1. Speaker at Association for Environmental Studies and Sciences, Annual National Meeting in Tucson, AZ on “Building Empathy across Species: An Interdisciplinary Approach to Teaching Ethical Reasoning about Animals.” Selected for peer-reviewed panel on “Community Building in Sustainability Education.”
2. Presenter at Digital Pedagogy Lab Summer Institute on Critical Digital Pedagogy. University of Mary Washington, Fredericksburg, VA. Gave a lightning talk on “Distance collaboration: A ‘Glocal’ Approach to Senior Capstone in Environmental Studies.”
Organizer, Chair and Presenter in a session at the Association for Environmental Studies and Sciences Annual National Meeting in Washington, D.C. on "Teaching about Animals in Environmental Studies: Collaboration across Disciplines, Empathy across Species”. June 2016. The session featured presentations by four scholars and three co-authors who spoke about case studies and connections in pedagogy across the fields of Environmental Studies and Human-Animal Studies.
1. Council of Independent Colleges of Virginia, Solar Market Workshop for Curriculum Development, Presented with W. Mackay Pierce*, “Engaging the College Community in the Movement toward Solar: Co-Curricular Efforts” at Marymount University, Washington D.C.
2. Entomological Society of America, National Meeting, Minneapolis, MN.
a) Invited presentation, “Standing out in a Crowd: How a Liberal Arts Education Gives Students the Edge in Graduate School” at the, in a Member Symposium entitled, “Partnering with Liberal Arts Colleges”, Co-authors: Abagail Davis* and Tyler Quigley*
b) Co-author on Abagail Davis*’s contributed poster presentation, “Ant Communities of Cornfields in the Roanoke Valley of Virginia” at the Entomological Society of America, National Meeting, Minneapolis, Minnesota
Available as a Media resource for the following topics
Environmental issues. Conservation of biodiversity. Insects: ants, bees and wasps in particular. Animal cognition, emotions and welfare. Impacts of forest fire. Agriculture and food, including organic farming. Corn and sugarcane as biofuels. Environmental education. The Association for Environmental Studies and Sciences professional society.
Willing to speak to professional, social or civic groups on
Wildlife conservation. Animal cognition, emotional capacities, and welfare. Organic farming and food issues, with a focus on India and/or Vermont. Ants: ecological and economic importance; use as bioindicators of ecosystem health. Travel, teaching and research on wildlife and agriculture in India, as a Fulbright-Nehru Senior Scholar. Behavior of social insects: ants, bees and wasps. Forest restoration via fire.