Twenty-seven Nicholas School faculty members, PhD students or contract instructors have earned high marks from students for their exceptional teaching.

The ratings are based on year-end course evaluations of undergraduate and graduate courses taught this spring.

Undergraduate students rated two faculty members, Stuart Pimm, Doris Duke Professor of Conservation Ecology, and Brian Silliman, Rachel Carson Professor of Marine Conservation Biology, among the top 5 percent of all Duke instructors teaching natural science.

Twenty-five other Nicholas School instructors, representing all three of the school’s academic divisions, also received ratings of at least 4.5 on a scale of 1 to 5 for the ENV and EOS courses they taught.  

These instructors, some of whom were recognized for multiple courses, are:


  • Xavier Basurto, ENV 528 Community-Based Conservation
  • Emily Bernhardt, ENV 564 Biogeochemistry
  • Barbara Garrity-Blake, ENV 533 Marine Fisheries Policy
  • Prasad Kasibhatla, ENV 529 Our Changing Atmosphere; and ENV 979 The Science of Climate Change
  • Sari Palmroth, ENV 705 Silviculture
  • Cindy Van Dover, ENV 512A Deep-Sea Science & Environmental Management


  • Robert Bonnie, ENV 212 U.S. Environmental Policy
  • Nicolas Cassar, ENV 362/EOS 364 Changing Oceans
  • Daniel Dunn, ENV 350 Marine Science & Conservation Leadership
  • Amanda Gould, ENV 290 Special Topics: Acting Environmentally: Environmental Art, Action and Activism
  • Pat Halpin, ENV 765 GIS for Coastal & Marine Management
  • Dave Hinton, ENV 89 First-Year Seminar: Gulf Disasters and Recovery
  • Tim Johnson, ENV 830 Building Energy on Campus
  • Megan Mullin, ENV 684 Politics of the Urbanized Environment
  • Joshua Osterberg, ENV 278 Comparative Physiology of Marine Animals
  • Sari Palmroth, ENV 806 Duke Forest Practicum
  • Stuart Pimm, ENV 390 Special Topics: Seabird Survival & dispersal Analysis
  • Danica Schaffer-Smith, ENV 590 Special Topics: Lidar Stephen Roady and John Virdin, ENV 314 Managing the Oceans to Solve Global Problems Dean Urban, ENV 724 Landscape Analysis & Management
  • Liz Shapiro-Garza, ENV 795 Community-Based Environmental Management Practicum
  • Stephen Roady and John Virdin, ENV 314 Managing the Oceans to Solve Global Problems
  • Dean Urban, ENV 724 Landscape Analysis & Management


  • Meagan Dunphy-Daly, ENV 205 Marine Megafauna
  • Deb Gallagher, ENV 973 Business Strategy for Environmental Sustainability
  • Kate Hoffman, ENV 537 Environmental Health
  • Randy Kramer, ENV 557 Social Science Surveys for Environmental Management

“We thank these colleagues for their commitment to our educational mission, and we take pride in their exceptional teaching performance,” says Jeff Vincent, interim Stanback Dean of the Nicholas School.

He added, “The generous-minded students in my own course – ENV 531 Economic Valuation of the Environment – responded with ratings that qualified it to be included in the large-course category, too. I strongly suspect that feeding them, to make the course’s evening lab sessions bearable, played a role.”