2023-2024 Engaged Faculty Fellows

Jeff Bougeois, Senior Lecturer, Department of Management, Miami Herbert Business School 

Jeff Bourgeois, Senior Lecturer in the Department of Management,  has been a leadership educator and researcher  in more than a dozen cities in five countries. His past experiences teaching and working with students in Switzerland, Belize, China, and Italy have informed his approach to helping students better understand their place in the world and how they can emerge as thoughtful, intentional leaders. Through courses like MGT480 • Leading Change,  Dr. Bourgeois strives to help students practice leadership beyond the limits of the traditional classroom. Employing innovative models of change and theories of leadership, students in MGT480 will partner with local nonprofit organizations to develop a policy, program, or technology aimed at creating sustainable mitigation of climate change vulnerability in Miami-Dade. Working in a classroom as organization (CAO) model, students will select their leadership, establish a mission and vision, and recruit volunteers to assist them and the nonprofit partner organizations in leading change in the campus community.

Nina Miville, Associate Professor of Practice & Associate Dean, Department of Industrial Engineering, College of Engineering

Xavier Cortada is a Professor of Practice at the University of Miami Department of Art and Art History. The crux of Cortada’s work finds itself rooted in a deep conceptual engagement of his participants. Particularly environmentally focused, the work Cortada develops is intended to generate awareness and action towards global climate change issues. Using the power and elasticity of participatory art to engage, Cortada and his students educate and inspire community members to work together and learn together to solve our community's problems. Through Plan(T), one of his many engaged art projects, Cortada, and his students helped our community plan and plant for a future impacted by sea-level rise and saltwater intrusion.

Matthew Nelsen, Assistant Professor, Department of Political Science, College of Arts and Sciences 

Dr. Matthew Nelsen, an assistant professor in the Department of Political Science at the University of Miami, is deeply dedicated to his research on the dynamics of local-level institutions, particularly schools and neighborhoods, in shaping democracy. His passion for this field led him to earn his Ph.D. in political science from Northwestern University in 2020 and contribute to notable publications such as Perspectives on Politics and the Washington Post. 

As a public scholar, Dr. Nelsen has collaborated with organizations, including the Obama Foundation and iCivics, contributing to research to inform policy change. Before academia, he taught 5th grade in the San Antonio Independent School District, earning recognition as a Rising Star teacher. Dr. Nelsen is an alumnus of Teach For America and has provided tutoring through Nurturing Wisdom Chicago.

As a fellow Dr. Nelsen developed a new course, Education Politics and Policy. The course aims to examine the democratic importance of public schools by focusing on civic education initiatives; discuss contemporary education policy debates. 

Theresa Pinto, Lecturer, Department of Ecosystem Science and Policy, College of Arts and Sciences 

As a transdisciplinary environmental justice practitioner who staffs a nonprofit law firm in addition to her role as a lecturer, Theresa Pinto brings community-based learning and civic engagement into the classroom.  As a first-generation college student, Theresa’s journey to lawyering and advocacy has been anything but conventional.  After earning a Master of Science Environmental Science, Policy, and Management, she embarked on a career in regulatory compliance with the U.S. Department of Agriculture.  Driven by a persistent belief in more effective advocacy for environmental and marginalized communities, Theresa obtained her J.D. from the University of Miami.  She is currently a practicing community lawyer and lecturer in the Ecosystem Science and Policy program at the University of Miami. As an Engaged Faculty Fellow, Theresa developed a course that merged an introduction to administrative law with community-engaged course work. 

Lisa Reid, Lecturer, Department of Writing Studies, College of Arts and Sciences 

Lisa Reid applied to be an Engaged Faculty Fellow to further develop her understanding of critical literacy and equity pedagogy in writing courses. Building from earlier community literacy work, she plans to revise a previously taught first-year writing course and present it as “Educating for Diversity, Social Justice, and Inclusive Civic Engagement,” with an added community-based, service-learning component. As an Engaged Faculty Fellow, Lisa plans to partner with the Boys & Girls Club of Miami-Dade. Students will have the opportunity to design and participate in culturally inclusive literacy activities with members. This course seeks to foster meaningful interactions and cultural awareness as well as support critical, multimodal literacy for both UM students and Boys & Girls Club members.

Julia Wester, Lecturer, Department of Anthropology, College of Arts and Sciences 

Julia Wester, a lecturer and Associate Director of the undergraduate program in Ecosystem Science and Policy, holds a master’s in conservation biology and management from Oxford. She previously worked on state policy as a legislative aide in the Florida Senate before completing her Ph.D. at the Abess Center, focusing on emotions, norms, and water recycling policy development. Dr. Wester has collaborated on projects funded by the Save Our Seas Foundation and National Geographic Explorer, studying human-wildlife interactions in South Florida and the southern Caribbean. Her current research centers on stakeholder engagement and local policy in Miami and Biscayne Bay.

As a fellow, Dr. Wester revamped ECS403 | Social-Ecological Systems in South Florida, integrating community-engaged learning to foster deeper student involvement in relevant community and civic action.