Dr. Alexandra Sutton Lawrence has spent nearly her entire adult life in academia, going on from her bachelor’s degree in biology from Howard University, to Texas A&M for her master’s in Wildlife & Fisheries Science, onto her Ph.D. in Environmental Science at Duke, where she also worked as the Science Program Policy Director.
Now, Dr. Lawrence continues her work in higher education, having joined Unity College’s Distance Education faculty while residing in North Carolina. Dr. Lawrence teaches students on subjects including deforestation, biodiversity, and population. This summer she tackles EVPC 202, a course that explores water energy, scarcity, and waste.
Online teaching certainly isn’t new to Dr. Lawrence.
“I’ve always enjoyed teaching in an online environment,” said Lawrence. “One of the cool things about distance education is that you get to be creative with how you guide students to best learn on their own. I get to incorporate some innovative media that can enhance how the material is delivered.”
Those types of media can range anywhere from videos and relevant pop culture references to works of art and Spotify playlists — anything that can make the course more immersive for students.
“I really want students to soak up all the knowledge that they can when it comes to feeding their passion for the environment,” said Dr. Lawrence. “They’re taking courses online with Unity College because the environment is something they already care about. I want to make it more powerful and real for them, equip them with the tools to tackle problems that arise regarding the environment, and get them accustomed to thinking critically about how to deal with climate change and species extinction. My goal is to get students thinking critically about the natural world.”
Currently, Dr. Lawrence is the Southeast Regional Program Director for The Wilderness Society. Dr. Lawrence has held previous policy positions at The Wildlife Society and the Consortium for Ocean Leadership, and her research has been supported by The Explorers’ Club; National Geographic’s Big Cats Initiative; and Sigma Xi. She is also the founder of Kedge Conservation, a social innovation startup that works to promote financial literacy, access, and equity in East & Southern Africa.
“We are thrilled to have Dr. Lawrence as part of our Distance Education faculty,” said Dr. Amy Arnett, Chief Distance Education Officer at Unity College. “She brings a unique approach to her courses, and obviously a wealth of knowledge. She has a knack for getting the most out of her students, and I’m excited to see how her teaching style continues to evolve in the coming years.”
“It is thanks to faculty like Dr. Lawrence that Unity College’s Distance Education program has really taken off,” added Unity College President Dr. Melik Peter Khoury. “We’re able to connect students from all over the world with experts from all over the world, and they all share a passion for the environment. We’re fortunate that faculty like Dr. Lawrence are drawn to our mission, and I have no doubt that students will get a lot out of her courses on their journey to become environmental stewards and responsible global citizens.”