Yizhao Yang

Planning, Public Policy and Management

yizhao@uoregon.edu | 541-346-0833

Courses: PPPM440: Land Use Planning and Policies

In my courses you will (select two practices that are important to your teaching):

  • Make connections to lived experiences and real-world challenges.
  • Learn with and from peers.

I was invited into the Teaching Academy because (select all that apply):

  • I was a Fellow in the Teaching Difference, Inequality, Agency CAIT Group.

In what ways are you working to make your teaching inclusive? For example, did you make any choices to improve students' sense of belonging in the course or to help students see their own interests and concerns as connected to those of the course?

I encourage students to see how land use planning (the subject of this course) is connected with lifestyle, quality of life, and wellbeing through the characteristics of the built environment. I encourage students to think, discuss, and articulate how their own behavior, enabled or constrained by the environments they live in, bears consequences to matters of concern to them (e.g., health, climate change, equity, etc). I help them see the value of understanding the subject area by showing that decisions made via land use planning can have real impacts on the environment and hence people's lives.

What do you do in terms of professional engagement with the teaching and learning culture on campus or nationally? For example, did you attend any workshops, read articles about student learning, observe colleagues with similar goals for their students?

I read professional magazines in our field (e.g., Planning Magazine) to learn about current debates and new ideas and schools of thought. I also update course content with the American Planning Association's reports and guidelines. I have observed other faculty's teaching and learned new pedagogical methods and techniques (e.g., how to do mid-term surveys, how to write learning objectives, etc). I have participated two workshops aiming to make my teaching more engaging and inclusive—the Sustainability Faculty Fellow Workshop and the Difference, Inequality and Agency CAIT group.

In what ways was your teaching in this course research-led—informed by research on how students learn and inflected by UO's research mission? For example, did you articulate specific goals for student learning, structure small-group discussions and activities during class or online, assign activities to help students prepare, offer students an opportunity to reflect on their learning, or invite students into research processes?

Some improvements I made to this course are direct responses to students’ suggestions (e.g., giving students small-group discussion opportunities to help them prepare for assignments). I phrase learning objectives for this class based on research I conducted about different levels of learning and I explain to students how their weekly class learning objectives are connected with term-long learning goals. I conduct mid-term survey and discussion in class to learn about what has worked and what can be improved. 

What are you reading?

A book I am currently reading is Who's Your City by Richard Florida.