Cory Christopher is the newly appointed Director of UC Forward, the University's trans-disciplinary program that pairs students, faculty, and outside stakeholders from different fields and varying perspectives to develop innovative solutions to today's real world problems. Cory will be responsible for promoting and fully implementing UC Forward, including teaching Gateway courses, evaluating faculty proposals for UC Forward course funding, assessing student and faculty outcomes from course participation, and promoting UC Forward to students, faculty, and potential external partners in the Cincinnati community. True to the spirit of the provost's office, Cory's primary focus is the student body. As such, he plans to develop a system that allows for the development of student-initiated, faculty-sponsored courses into the UC Forward framework, with the hopes of strengthening the professional relationships between UC's students and faculty. He is especially excited about collaborating with faculty who want to develop UC Forward courses that re-imagine traditional university lectures while earning students credit towards graduation within their major.
Cory earned his BS (2000) and MS (2002) degrees in Ecology from the School of Ecology at the University of Georgia, and his PhD (2008) in Biology from UC’s Department of Biological Sciences, under the mentorship of Guy Cameron. Cory’s post-doctoral research at Washington University in Saint Louis focused on applied ecological restoration and the ecology of seed germination. As a Teaching Assistant at UGA, he taught mainly non-majors Ecology laboratory courses, and he developed an appreciation for facilitating mixed-discipline student interactions. While at UC, Cory taught Ecology lectures and experiential field courses that helped solidify his passion for inquiry-based, experiential student learning. Most recently, he managed the Advanced Inquiry Program (AIP) at the Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden. AIP is a Master's Degree program offered through Project Dragonfly at Miami University. AIP brings together local educators from a variety of disciplines and grade levels and helps them develop their skills of scientific inquiry, research collaboration, and community engagement. While at the Zoo, Cory taught a variety of conservation-focused graduate courses, including community-based conservation courses in the Amazon and in Kenya’s South Rift Valley. During his 3 years at the Zoo, Cory advised more than 60 Master's students on projects ranging from consumer-driven conservation to engaging senior citizens in environmental education. As the director of UC Forward, he believes every student deserves the right to a transformational education, and that no learning is genuine unless the students are passionate about what they are doing.