There's nothing that Professor Mike Goodman enjoys more than the "buzz" that comes with teaching.
Seeing his students progress into a variety of career roles, inspired and prepared by their experiences in the Department of Geography and Environmental Science at Reading, is something that excites and motivates him.
As an interdisciplinary, critical human geographer, Mike focuses on the cultural politics of food, humanitarianism and the environment. His teaching includes the third-year module Consumption, Politics and Space, which explores the framing and practices of the creation of sustainable societies through a critical geographical lens.
He also teaches on the second-year Berlin field class module.
In 2021 Mike was recognised with a Teaching Excellence Award for Archaeology, Geography & Environmental Science. This award, voted for by students through the Reading University Students' Union (RUSU), is a clear marker of how highly students value Mike's commitment to delivering an outstanding education.
Addressing today's important issues
Mike ensures that his teaching is closely related to the pressing issues of today, including environmental politics, the media framing of humanitarianism, the ways that celebrities impacted the response to the COVID-19 pandemic through posts on Twitter. This helps equip students with critical thinking and analytical skills required by industry.
“Politics are now thoroughly digital and this is how many societies are not just getting information about contemporary issues, but how societies are wrestling with the ways in which problems and solutions are framed and acted upon.
"For many, social media plays a role in framing how we might choose to live our lives and understanding the broader consequences of this framing is something my students explore."
Part of Mike's analysis has been driven by his students and their digital lives in efforts to understand the rise of digital lifestyle and sustainability influencers. This research helps understand how they've challenged norms and made us think differently about how we make our decisions and how we live our lives.
“My research sits at the centre of my teaching. In my third-year Consumption, Politics and Space module we explore how framing by social media, TV and news outlets create 'geographical imaginaries' in the minds of audiences and work to change their behaviours as consumers and citizens.
"The critical conversations we have during our interactive sessions and seminars in my class always gets me to think about new and evolving topics. Students always bring interesting angles and analysis to everything we talk about in the module and this is one of the best parts of being a teacher and lecturer at Reading.”
Inspiring student destinations
Students in Mike's classes are asked to produce critical engagements with the geographical media they look at, to not take anything at face value and to think practically about solving problems through real-life solutions.
“I love the buzz that teaching students brings to the classroom. Seeing students generating new knowledge and ideas on their own really excites me as a teacher.
"Past students of mine have gone onto various jobs in industry, as well as in government and the NGO sector. Many have said that my class both inspired them and also prepared them practically in ways they really appreciate. I'm absolutely thrilled that so many of my students are so successful after they graduate."
Engaged and supportive community
As a member of staff in the Department of Geography and Environmental Science at Reading, Mike is part of a globally recognised teaching staff holding a diverse range of expertise, which in turn helps ensure students can select from a wide range of themes in both human and physical geography.
“The Department is an incredibly exciting place to study geography. We're committed to delivering the best possible student experience, and also to engaging students in confronting and working to solve some of the most pressing environmental, social and political problems in the UK and across the world.
"Through a rich mix of theory, concepts, fieldwork, placements, internships, skills training, practical problem solving and case studies – as well as any number of topics students are themselves interested in – we educate students in how to make the world a better place while preparing them for a future driven by their chosen interests."