Kristi Straus receives UW Distinguished Teaching Award

Encouraging students to examine their personal impact on the environment by carrying their waste for a week is just one way Program on the Environment lecturer Kristi Straus pushes the envelope when it comes to teaching students about sustainability.

Kristi Straus

To honor her dedication to engaging students with innovative teaching curriculum and methods, Kristi has been awarded the Center for Teaching and Learning Distinguished Teaching Award, one of the highest recognitions at the University.

Recipients of the award display extensive knowledge and mastery of the subject matter and guide students through independent and creative thinking. At the Program on the Environment (POE), we can attest to Kristi’s capacity for collaboration and her propensity to get all of us pumped up about education.

Congratulations, Kristi!

Kristi is deeply invested in sustainability education and wants her students to understand how the choices they make in their own lives matter in the world around them. She is committed to making education accessible and fun, and is a MESA instructor in her spare time. She is also passionate about mentoring teaching assistants to develop their skills as educators.


Recipients will be honored in a public ceremony in June 2017. Stay tuned for more details from the Center for Teaching and Learning.

I feel so grateful to be a POE lecturer. I have the freedom to be creative, to try new things in the classroom, to share so much of myself with my students, to focus on what I find inspiring. I love the connections I make with students, faculty and staff.

To find so much joy in my work is the real prize. To be honored in this way is a wonderful surprise, and feels like icing on the cake. –Kristi

As one of the Program on the Environment’s core faculty, Kristi teaches a variety of courses, including introductory environmental studies and analysis courses to the ever popular Sustainability: Personal Choices, Broad Impacts which heightens students’ awareness of the impacts of their consumption.

As part of her leadership with the UW Center for Teaching and Learning Initiative, Kristi is launching an exciting new flipped classroom study abroad experience through her Sustainability course, in partnership with Tsinghua University in China. Applications are still being accepted for this opportunity to bridge learning on sustainability education on a global scale.