Photo of Jennifer Lathem

Jennifer Lynn Lathem

Life Sciences 147
Phone: (812) 941-2017


I received my undergraduate degree in Geography from IU Southeast in 2006, went immediately into my graduate program at Indiana State University, then started teaching at my alma mater in the Fall of 2008.  I love this university, and I am very fortunate that I was able to return "home" to share my passion for the natural world with our students.

In addition to being a Senior Lecturer in Geosciences, I am also a wife and a mom to three very busy children. I volunteer at their schools, and I am a member of the Parent Teacher Organization (PTO) where I served on the board for three years. I am actively involved in my church community, St. Michael Catholic Church in Charlestown, IN, where I serve as a Catechist (teacher of religious education), a member of the Faith Formation Commission, a lector, and a volunteer with our youth group.  

Academic Background

  • Masters

    • Indiana State University, Terre Haute, United States
    • Master of Arts, Major in Geography
  • Bachelors

    • Indiana University Southeast, New Albany, United States
    • Bachelor of Arts, Major in Geography, Minor in Geology

Professional Interests


Teaching Philosophy

I want my students to be excited about learning, and I encourage them to open their minds to the wonder of the world in which they live.  To do this, it is crucial that the content is made relevant for them to connect the learning in the classroom to the real world.  My teaching employs the use of relatable examples and current research/events to explain concepts.  In addition, experiential learning is of utmost importance and incorporated whenever possible.  This helps students understand the material, but it also makes the material more interesting and relevant so that they have a better chance of retaining the knowledge.  To help with retention of knowledge, I practice the retrieval processes on a regular basis.  The literature on learning suggests that long-term retention of knowledge increases when the student has plenty of opportunities to retrieve the information from their brains.  This is practiced with small stakes daily quizzes and active review sessions that allow students to retrieve the information learned.  Another key ingredient to the learning process is detailed and valuable feedback.  Feedback is necessary for growth in all aspects of our lives.  Documented feedback is provided to students through Canvas, the Student Engagement Roster, and on all graded and non-graded assignments. 

Students are individuals…. they learn in different ways.  I use a variety of instructional material, teaching techniques (including active and collaborative learning), and assessments to reach my students’ diverse learning needs.  Both formal and informal assessments are utilized to ensure that course learning outcomes are met and that student learning is achieved.  This variety of teaching and assessment techniques cultivates student engagement.  My classroom, both in-person and virtual, is an open and relaxed learning environment.  Students are encouraged to ask questions and to make comments at any time, and small breakout group discussions are incorporated within both in-person and virtual class meetings.  These teaching techniques allow students to feel more comfortable and open to learning.  In my classes, students participate in multiple collaborative assignments, which creates a fun and engaging learning environment.  Students become comfortable with me and with their classmates, and this allows them to naturally become more comfortable and confident with the content. 

I am personally interested in the success of each student, and I strive to be as available as possible.  I make time to meet with students outside of class, both in-person and virtually.  I genuinely care about them, and I want them to know it, see it, and feel it.  When students recognize my passion and willingness to help them, whether it just be a listening ear or sincere thoughtful feedback, they “buy in” and become more dedicated to the course and to their education.  I recognize that students are busy and that their schedules may not align with mine, so I am available to them outside of “normal business hours”.  A good rapport with students creates a healthy learning environment.  Students and their needs are a priority to me.   

I believe in the power of education, and I also believe in the power of connection.  When students feel connected to their educational experience, they will be more successful.  This includes connections to their university, their peers, their instructors, their content, and to their own personal learning.  I am convinced that these personal relationships and connections are key elements to student success.


My research interests include natural hazards/disasters (specifically flood and karst hazards), floodplain inhabitant flood hazard adaptations, and pollution, conservation and sustainability issues associated with surficial and subsurface water resources.

As a lecturer, my primary focus in on teaching rather than research, consequently I am not currently engaged in a research project.  

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4201 Grant Line Rd.
New Albany, IN 47150
(812) 941-2333

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