Since 2007, Ms. Brekken has taught undergraduate legal topics in the Applied Economics Department. Through offering legal concepts in the department of Applied Economics, students learn how to translate economic and scientific findings into effective legal and regulatory frameworks within the US legal system to create effective policy for the future. The legal and economic dimensions of agricultural, food and environmental issues to foster an in-depth understanding of public policy debates that affect agricultural production and environmental quality.
Ms. Brekken is the instructor for Agricultural Law (AEC 388, 4 credits), offered both on-campus and via E-campus. Students with a degree in Agricultural Business Management must grasp the legal constraints and consequences of their business decisions. Agricultural Law provides students with the concepts they need to understand the legal framework that agricultural businesses operate within and to engage in informed decision making.
Ms. Brekken offers Environmental Law (AEC 432/532, 4 credits) as both on-campus and Ecampus courses. She also teaches AEC 253, Environmental Law, Policy and Economics, (4 credits) for Ecampus students, which is a Bacc Core Western Perspectives course. Students in Environmental Economics and Policy must understand the historical and current legal and regulatory framework for environmental protection and natural resource management. Environmental Law introduces students to the existing pollution control laws in the US, analyzes choice of regulatory tools and evaluates outcomes of environmental laws and regulations. In particular, emphasis is given to how the constraints of the US legal system (federalism, separation of powers, Commerce Clause) impact the development and enforcement of environmental laws.
Ms. Brekken developed and taught Food Systems (AEC 411/511, 3 credits), an interdisciplinary College of Agriculture course incorporating content from 6 departments at OSU. Food Systems is a required course for the Food, Culture and Social Justice undergraduate certificate through the Department of Anthropology and the Organic Farming Certificate.
In addition to her regular teaching schedule, Ms. Brekken mentors undergraduate students through URSA Engage (Undergraduate Research, Scholarship, and Arts Program), the Natural Resources Leadership Academy, and supervising student experiential learning research projects. She provides guest lectures for courses such as AEC 121, Introduction to Applied Economics; ENSC 101 Intro to Environmental Science; AGRI 438, Exploring World Agriculture; ECE 530, Contemporary Energy Applications, and co-taught Toxicology 507/607 Seminar: Science, the Law, and Environmental Policy with Prof. Jeff Jenkins.
In addition to teaching, Ms. Brekken is also the key advisor for students who aspire to attend law school after completing their undergraduate degree. As a member of the graduate faculty of Applied Economics, Masters of Natural Resources, Food in Culture and Social Justice, and Public Policy, she is available for MS committees for students who include legal concepts in their work.
Because of her commitment to student success, inclusion and diversity, Ms. Brekken has taken the lead on curriculum and academic initiatives in Applied Economics. She is led a faculty working group in conjunction with a graduate student seminar focused on pedagogy in both face-to-face and online courses. She regularly engages in professional development opportunities as both student and presenter to improve inclusion and pedagogy in the department and university.
Future expanded class offerings will give students a greater depth of knowledge on cutting-edge legal developments and tools used for environmental protection, with emphasis on the intersection with agricultural production, in particular the changing regulatory landscape and impacts in the face of climate change.