Profile - Victoria Downey

Victoria Downey teaching

Instructor Profile

Meet Victoria Downey
Instructor of Geography

Master of Arts (MA) in Geography, University of Kansas; Bachelor of Arts (BA) in Geography with Departmental Honors, University of Kansas

Question and Answer

  • Question

    Would you list some recent accomplishments?


    • Honored Faculty Member, Anoka-Ramsey Community College Chapter of Minnesota State Colleges Faculty Association, 2014
    • Silver Chalk Award, Anoka-Ramsey Community College, 2013
    • Downey, V. 2010. Entries for “Orientalism,” and “Post-Colonialism,” Encyclopedia of Human Geography, edited by Barney Warf (Beverly Hills: SAGE).
    • Master’s Thesis: Representations of Waikīkī: An Analysis of Hawaiian Tourism Through Hotel Brochures and Websites (2007)
  • Question

    What is your approach to teaching?


    As an instructor, I believe my primary responsibility is to inspire. While a student might walk out the door of our college with a well-earned degree and increased knowledge and know-how, in my opinion, the greatest benefit that they can receive is a lifelong love of learning. In my courses, I work to cultivate this by creating a positive learning environment in which students are excited to engage with the material. Students are encouraged to challenge given assumptions, to think critically about contemporary issues, to take part in meaningful discussion with their peers and, most of all, to enjoy the process of learning,

  • Question

    What inspires you as a teacher?


    I was fortunate to have some excellent instructors during my own college experience, particularly Garth Myers and Kurt Kipfmueller, that have helped me to develop my own teaching style which seeks to bring the outside world into the classroom.

  • Question

    What makes your curriculum interesting or valuable to students?


    Geography isn't always initially of great interest to students, but what I hope students discover is that everything is interconnected. For instance, when we look at deforestation of the Amazon Rainforest in Mato Grosso, Brazil students discover that a large portion of that is for cattle production, some of which is shipped to China to support their growing middle class's demand for beef. Deforestation contributes to climate change in several ways, one of which is by reducing the forest's ability to act as a carbon sink, and increased cattle production also increases methane emissions, which furthers climate change and causes impacts worldwide, including here in Minnesota. We may seem isolated, but we are far from it!

  • Question

    How do you think students describe your teaching methods and classes?


    Hilarious! In actuality, I do try to engage students in a variety of ways, including small and large group discussions, more traditional lectures, short video clips and through humor.

Fun Facts

  • Fun Fact #1

    I also teach yoga (Vinyasa and Ashtanga styles) and have practiced yoga since 2003.

  • Fun Fact #2

    I used to be a synchronized swimmer and was the coach of the University of Minnesota Synchronized Swimming Team from 2009-2012.

  • Fun Fact #3

    I am from Kansas City, which makes me a huge KC Royals and Kansas Jayhawks fan!

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