Gary Green, associate professor and assistant dean of academic affairs in the Warnell School of Forestry and Natural Resources, says teaching and mentoring are his passion.
Where did you earn degrees and what are your current responsibilities at UGA?
I earned my master’s degree in sport management and my doctorate in recreation and leisure studies from UGA. I am currently an associate professor and assistant dean of academic affairs in the Warnell School of Forestry and Natural Resources. As assistant dean for academic affairs, I provide additional academic support and guidance to students and exemplify to them Warnell’s legacy, that we are a family.
When did you come to UGA and what brought you here?
I came to UGA in 1992 to complete my master’s degree and my doctorate. The quality of the university and programs attracted me, as well as did living in a different country (I am British).
What are your favorite courses and why?
“Natural Resource Conservation Issues” (FAN/MARS 1100) is a large (150+ students) class that I really enjoy, as I have the opportunity to interact and discuss with students the major issues facing our natural environment and planet, and some possible solutions. I also enjoy the “Teaching Practicum” course (FANR 8900/9990) a fairly small graduate class (15 students), where I help graduates develop their professional and teaching skills.
What interests you about your field?
Human dimensions of natural resources examines how people of different backgrounds and cultures use, appreciate and think about our natural resources. As such, my research focus continues to change as our culture and population changes. Hence, every day brings new challenges and experiences!
What are some highlights of your career at UGA?
Several of my students have received university-wide research and teaching awards, and I am very proud to have seen and helped in their recognition. I was also very fortunate and humbled to receive the Graduate School’s Outstanding Mentoring Award and the Richard B. Russell Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching Award, which continue to mean a tremendous amount to me, as students’ comments and feedback on my mentoring and teaching were a major factor in my receiving these awards.
How does your research or scholarship inspire your teaching, and vice versa?
My research allows me to use concrete, real-world examples in class that, I believe, help students more easily apply and understand the concepts they are striving to learn in class. Having the opportunity to teach on a daily basis to a wide variety of students helps to hone and develop my presentations skills, which in turn helps me to more effectively present my research to different stakeholders.
What do you hope students gain from their classroom experience with you?
To recognize the strengths and weaknesses of their own knowledge and that of others. And, to gain the confidence and ability to express and support their own opinions and to listen to and appreciate the view of others in a professional manner.
Describe your ideal student.
I always enjoy and am challenged by those students who bring a good work ethic, intellectual curiosity, positive attitude and sense of humor to class. Any student who has these qualities, in my humble opinion, can succeed in class and in life.
Favorite place to be/thing to do on campus is…
Walking with my wife (Kim), my children Grace (5), Abby (4) and Zack (4) in the botanical garden, which is bursting with color and wildlife in the fall.
Beyond the UGA campus, I like to…
Spend time with my family, being a good husband and goofy dad. I also love to read mystery novels like Sherlock Holmes, and there are always several books on my nightstand seeking my attention.
Community/civic involvement includes….
I support and attend UGA’s musical concerts and the Georgia Museum of Art exhibitions. Every year, I attend UGA’s holiday carol concert, which for me heralds the start of Christmas.
Favorite book/movie (and why)?
“A Prayer for Owen Meany” by John Irving. It illustrates how someone can overcome multiple obstacles and setbacks in their life yet still find a way to succeed and make a meaningful contribution to society.
Proudest moment at UGA?
My proudest moments are always seeing my students develop as scholars, professionals and as individuals, watching them graduate, meeting their families and helping them to move on to careers they are truly passionate about. Also, a student who graduated 15 years ago recently called to share his sincere gratitude to me for helping him set his foot on the path that had recently led him to landing his dream job in natural resource management.
Is there anything else you’d like to add? (Other pertinent information to share)
Teaching and mentoring are my passion, and UGA and Warnell have provided me with a career and home in which to share this passion, and I am very grateful. I enjoy mentoring many students because I often learn as much as I seek to impart through my interactions with them. Mentoring is always a very rewarding experience.
When asked, “what is my greatest professional achievement?” The answer is always “my students.”
To me, this is the key reason I became and remain a professor.
(Originally published Jan. 3, 2016)