Teaching Philosophy
My teaching philosophy is organized around two main goals for student learning. First, I find it essential to cultivate an interactive and participatory classroom environment where students actively set the tone and shape the content of the class. Task-oriented group exercises, class discussion, and student contributions to course content are central to this participation. In my classes, participation takes diverse forms. Students engage with different members of the class over the course of the semester, and take on different roles within their groups to ensure that diverse forms of collaboration are required. For instance, I’ve recently incorporated a class blog in some of my courses, which uses rotating roles to vary the form of student participation. While some are required to post on the reading, others’ primary responsibility is to respond to these posts, bring in content external to the course, or read all the contributions carefully to be called upon during class discussion. 

Many students have become accustomed to taking on a passive learning role in the classroom, and some find participation intimidating. Therefore, my courses introduce active learning incrementally, developing students’ skills and confidence in being vocal as the course progresses. Students are given multiple avenues for participation to serve the various learning styles and personalities. For instance, those who are less likely to speak up during a discussion involving the entire class will often get more involved when taking on a facilitator role, or when working through an exercise in a small group setting. In addition, I incorporate low-stakes forms of participation and leadership that enable the more timid students to gain confidence and structure class exercises so as to curb students who tend to dominate the floor. Many students have told me that they grew more confident and able in expressing themselves after taking a course with me, even when you might not expect this from the course content (e.g., in my quantitative research methods course). 

As I mentioned above, an important part of the active learning environment I strive to cultivate is student contributions to course content. Students in my courses often participate directly in crafting the grading rubrics for their major assignments. I also tailor materials and exercises to students’ stated goals for and interests in the course. This not only increases student attentiveness and makes the lessons more memorable, but also gives students more chances to learn by teaching and integrates our learning with learning outside the course. It additionally allows students the opportunity to view themselves as part of a dialogue with their classmates, gain confidence in expressing themselves, and develop empathy for others – a skill which I have found to be dwindling in recent years. Indeed, a number of my classes involve a component that requires students to build sociological mindfulness, practice perspective-taking, and sit with views that differ from their own. 

Second, I place great importance on equipping students with practical skills that can be transferred beyond the course context. I structure my syllabi to instill in students the capacity for independent and critical thought, as well as concrete research and writing skills. As with active learning, it is essential that these skills be developed incrementally. Therefore, I routinely have students submit informal written exercises and ungraded “minute papers” in response to class readings and discussion. In many cases, I simply ask them to pause and write down their own thoughts before a group or class discussion. In several cases, I have adjusted the course curriculum mid-semester to help students build skills in a particular area (e.g., working with spreadsheets, practicing a writing technique) when they seemed to need additional experience. 

Students in my courses receive multiple forms of feedback for larger papers and research projects, including instructor and peer review. I find it essential to emphasize the development and revision of research and writing over the course of the semester, as many students have a sense of detachment from their work; they have grown accustomed to preparing something quickly for a deadline and never reading it again. In my courses, they are instead required to engage with their own work and the work of others long-term, and come to appreciate rather than fear peer feedback. Many students in my courses report that the single most challenging and beneficial assignment was reading a portion of their paper aloud before a group of their peers during class time. Learning to view one’s own work as the reader would is yet another form of perspective-taking that I strive to develop in my classes.  

Teaching Interests and Capacities 

Through my professional training, my experiences as a research lab coordinator, and my own research, I have amassed considerable knowledge about the design and implementation of experimental and survey-based human subjects research. I also have training in both univariate and multivariate statistics. Thus, I am well-prepared to teach a course on survey or experimental research methods or introductory statistics. I have previously taught two courses on survey research and data analysis. I am also well-prepared to teach a course focusing on experimental research methods or introductory statistics.

Given my extensive training in both psychological and sociological social psychology, I am prepared to teach a wide variety of courses including social psychological theory, group processes, personality and social structure, social interaction, and microsociology. This fall, I am teaching one such course at Mount Holyoke, which emphasizes issues of status and power in social interaction. I will teach a course on self and society this spring.  Since many students take interest in marketing and consumer behavior, I also have experience presenting social psychological theories through this lens. My undergraduate course on the social psychology of consumer behavior is one example.

My research on cultural meaning and interdisciplinary training in this field also make me a good candidate to teach courses on the sociology of culture, particularly courses emphasizing quantitative work. My senior research seminar is one example of this preparation, offering an interdisciplinary and multi-level perspective on culture. Additionally, I am prepared to teach courses in economic sociology or related fields, such as work and organizations or globalization. For example, I developed and taught my own course on organizations and global competitiveness. I have also taught a version of this course that emphasizes the social and economic inequalities associated with globalization.

My capacities as an instructor are reflected in positive student evaluations of my past courses and professional awards for my teaching. I have received the Excellence in Graduate Teaching Award and, for merit in instructorship and course development, the Bass Fellowship for Undergraduate Instruction.

Experience with College Teaching
Teaching at Mount Holyoke College

Self and Society (Sociology 316)         Spring 2015
Introduction to Sociology (Sociology 123)         Fall 2014, Spring 2015
Status and Power in Social Interaction (Sociology 216)   Fall 2014
Survey Research and Data Analysis (Sociology 225)   Spring 2014, Spring 2015
Globalization, Organizations, and Inequality (Sociology 216)   Spring 2014
Teaching at Duke University

Contextualizing Consumer Behavior (Sociology 390)  Fall 2013, Spring 2012
Organizations and Global Competitiveness (Sociology 342)  Fall 2013, Summer 2009
Senior Research Seminar, Cultural Sociology (Sociology 490)  Spring 2013

Teaching Assistantships

Statistics and Quantitative Literacy (Statistics 10)  Fall 2011
Human Development Capstone Seminar (Human Dev 191)  Spring 2011
Introduction to Psychology, Cognition, Learning and Motivation  2003-2005

Professional Preparation

I completed my Certificate in College Teaching in the spring of 2012. Duke’s CCT program provides pedagogical training in teaching through coursework and classroom observation. Through this program, I completed two courses to develop my teaching skills and capabilities with technology and visual communication. In 'Fundamentals of College Teaching', I received training on how to lead effective discussions, design learning activities, utilize instructional technology, promote active learning in the classroom, and develop and apply grading criteria appropriately. In 'College Teaching and Visual Communication', I received training in print, presentation, and web design, as well as the use of instructional technology for college teaching. I additionally received constructive written feedback on my teaching through peer observation of my Spring 2012 course, Contextualizing Consumer Behavior.