Valerie Banschbach

Faculty and Staff

Associate Provost and Dean of Sciences and Education in Provost's Office and Environmental Studies, and Professor in Environmental Studies

Valerie Banschbach has developed and administered innovative curricula and pedagogy in environmental studies and sciences, biology, and general education.  She advocates for the liberal arts and sciences as education that provides strong opportunities for students to find their purpose and become the leaders, problem-solvers, and engaged citizens the world needs.  She has strongly incorporated intercultural learning, service-learning and community-engaged experiences into her work, and supported her colleagues in these endeavors, promoting these high impact practices for the benefit of students and the public good.  Valerie has developed travel courses to Costa Rica, India and Kenya as well as a semester program in Yucatán, Mexico, during her time as Professor and Chair of Environmental Studies at Roanoke College, and Chair of Biology and Founding Director of Environmental Studies at Saint Michael's College.  She has enjoyed seeing the world through the fresh eyes of her students when travelling and reflecting with them.  Valerie has published numerous peer-reviewed scientific articles and two co-edited books with Springer Nature.  In 2019, she published Animals in Environmental Education, describing interdisciplinary pedagogical and curricular innovations in critical pedagogy about non-human animals. She has frequently been invited to speak and participate in panels and organizes symposia at scholarly conferences. Recognitions include Saint Michael’s College Norbert A. Kuntz Service Award; Saint Michael’s College Class of 2014 Appreciation Award; selection for the Senior Leadership Academy of the Council of Independent Colleges; selection as President of the Association for Environmental Studies and Sciences; and a State Council of Higher Education of Virginia Outstanding Faculty Award in 2019. 

Valerie recently (April 2021) co-edited an interdisciplinary volume (link below) presenting ways of teaching about environmental justice contestations, with a focus on controversies over oil and natural gas pipeline development viewed from the perspectives of diverse stakeholders.  Her scientific research in behavioral and conservation ecology has engaged undergraduates in the process of science on projects relevant to environmental problems and/or focused on novel and intriguing behavior of non-human animals.  Valerie's recent work has used ants as bioindicators to monitor forest restoration in Vermont, exploring links between urban gardens and biodiversity in Virginia, and assessing impacts of agricultural methods on insect diversity in India.  She was awarded a U.S. Fulbright Senior Scholar grant (2013-14) for research and teaching at the Wildlife Institute of India in Uttarakhand, India.  Undergraduate student researchers mentored by Valerie have earned many accomplishments including co-authoring peer-reviewed journal articles, receiving grants, giving national conference presentations, and being chosen for the Posters on the Hill Conference of the Council for Undergraduate Research.  

Pipeline Pedagogy: Teaching about Energy and Environmental Justice Contestations (2021)


B.A., Biology, Pomona College, Claremont, CA; Ph.D. Biology, University of Miami, Coral Gables, FL