Teaching

My Teaching Philosophy:

My teaching philosophy is largely shaped by my experiences as a first-generation college student. My first experiences with college were rife with feelings of helplessness. I struggled to keep up in courses. I floundered in class discussions, feeling that I could not articulate the things that I knew to be true. I believed that I lacked the language to make my knowledge claims and questioned my own intellect when my ideas ran counter to those of my peers, people who I perceived came to college with a superior set of skills. Not until I was mentored by professors in my major discipline that I saw myself as an agent of knowledge – as a person who was capable of not just consuming but producing knowledge. Learning his about myself empowered me to become the scholar that I am today. My teaching philosophy is centered around the idea that all students should feel empowered as active producers of knowledge.

Developing students’ critical thinking skills is among my top goals as a teacher. Because I see students as agents of knowledge, I believe that the classroom is a site of knowledge production where students should be able to ask questions, debate, and learn to embrace conflict. I want students to be able to construct arguments that illustrate that they can think creatively and challenge conventional knowledge – moving beyond “common sense” and into conversations that push back against hegemonic ways of knowing.

Classrooms should be safe spaces for inquiry. It is important that I impress upon students that we must all work together to maintain the safety of our classroom. This could mean anything from making sure that students are not misgendering one another by enforcing the use of correct personal gender pronouns – or setting discussion guidelines that reinforce that racism, sexism, homophobia, and transphobia will not be tolerated within the classroom. Students thrive when they feel safe to produce knowledge.

It is also important to create a classroom environment where students can feel inspired to take the knowledge created in the classroom out into the world. Students often feel burdened when learning about social problems. Often students ask me “so, what can we do?” after covering topics that highlight injustice, and it is vital that students are allowed to explore solutions to the problems we present rather than being forced to leave the classroom feeling hopeless

Moreover, teaching goes beyond the classroom. Mentoring and advising are key to student success. Similar to my undergraduate experience of being guided and mentored toward seeing myself as an agent of knowledge, I believe that students seek out support from faculty. Students want to be advised and mentored. They want to know that there is someone there who can offer advice and be an advocate for them. However, mentoring is a two-way street. Mentoring and advising students can create a space for growth for mentors as well.

Teaching Awards:

Elizabeth Baranger Excellence in Teaching Award, University of Pittsburgh. 2013-2014.

Courses Taught: 

Principles and Concepts of Sociology (2019)- St. Catherine University

This course is an introduction to the discipline of sociology. In this course we will discuss the major concepts, theories, and research in the discipline in order to form a sociological perspective. You will learn how to use what C. Wright Mills calls the “sociological imagination” to understand and explain the world that you live in. Leaving this course, you will be able to apply major concepts and theories of sociology to issues and events in the world that you live in. You will be able to identify, think critically about, and make sociological arguments. Lastly, you will be able to use an intersectional lens to inform your critical thinking skills when examining issues and events of the past and present.

SOCI 1000 D01 Syllabus

Social Theory (2019) – St. Catherine University

This course is designed to give students an overview of sociological theory. In this course we will critically engage with the many different theoretical orientations and theorists that help to shape the ways that sociologists go about conducting their research. We will begin by studying classical theory and thinking critically about what is considered the sociological “canon.” Through this examination, we will discuss the importance of including subjugated voices into our understanding of foundational sociology. This will highlight the invaluable work of scholars like W.E.B. Dubois and Ida B. Wells.

SOCI 3700W Syllabus

Senior Seminar for Critical Race and Ethnicity, Women’s Studies, and Women in International Development (theme: Afrofuturism) (2019) – St. Catherine University

This writing intensive capstone seminar is focused on the topic of Afrofuturism. In this course we will use speculative fiction, or, what Imarisha and Brown (2015) have coined as “visionary fiction” to explore that it means to “decolonize the imagination.” According to Imarisha and Brown, visionary fiction is “vital for any process of decolonization, because decolonization of the imagination is the most dangerous and subversive form there is: for it is where all other forms of decolonization are born. Once the imagination is unshackled, liberation is limitless” (pg.). Working through this process of decolonization, we will explore what a liberated future would/could look like. All of this exploration will be done through an intersectional lens that takes into account power relations like race, gender, class, and nation. It is my hope that exploring these concepts and their connections to social justice and movements will be fulfilling to you and will spark an interest in imagining your own future. With that in mind, each of you will have the opportunity to concentrate on your own areas of academic interest that will culminate into an amazing final research paper.

WOST seminar syllabus

Women’s Issues from Global Perspectives (2018) – St. Catherine University

In this course we will examine gender and social movements from a transnational perspective. We will begin the course by taking an in-depth examination of the construction of gender the cultural meanings of gender, and the ways that gender intersects with other power relations. Next, we will apply the concepts and ideas that we have learned about gender to global and local women’s movements to explore different conceptions of feminism and women’s agency.

Womens Issues Syllabus

Challenging Oppression (2018) – St. Catherine University

The purpose of this course is to provide students with an in-depth understanding of the dynamics of inequality, intersecting oppressions and social change. This course represents an innovative collaboration that bridges the curriculum/co-curriculum, the classroom and the community, theory and practice. Student participants explore classism, racism, sexism, heterosexism, ableism and speciesism through interaction with community presenters, service work, academic reading and student initiated projects. In addition to breaking down stereotypes, and gaining practical multicultural knowledge, students will be engaged in a community building process, and learn how to become effective allies and activists by acquiring new skills in this area.

This course will examine issues of inequality from an interdisciplinary perspective that is based on the work of Adams, Bell and Griffin (2000). Their model of social justice education addresses inequality from multiple vantage- points (i.e. humanities, social sciences, public policy and professional areas of study). Adams, et al. approach the “isms” with a theory of oppression that emphasizes intersection, privilege, prejudice, and power, identity and internalization, the systemic foundations of domination and subordination, and options for social change. Students will examine classism, racism, sexism, heterosexism, ableism and speciesism in detail through readings, discussions, guest speakers from the community, visits to community partner agencies, a civic engagement/community work and learning component, and a research project.

Challenging Oppressions Syllabus

Race, Class Gender (2018) – University of Minnesota

In the midst of social unrest, it is important for us to understand social inequality. In this course we will analyze the impact of three major forms of inequality in the United States: race, class, and gender. Through taking an intersectional approach at these topics, we will examine the ways these social forces work institutionally, conceptually, and in terms of our everyday realities. We will focus on these inequalities as intertwined and deeply embedded in the history of the country. Along with race, class, and gender we will focus on other axes of inequality including sexuality, citizenship, and dis/ability. We will analyze the meanings and values attached to these social categories, and the ways in which these social constructions help rationalize, justify, and reproduce social inequality. Using in-class discussions, readings, and multimedia, we will also explore how individuals and groups have used these social categories to form and re-imagine identities and push for new ways of understanding the social world while pushing for social transformation.

Sociology 3251W

Progress and Identity (2017) – Macalester College 

In many contemporary social movements, the roles of race and class may either seem obvious or relatively easy to ascertain. But what happens when we add gender to this mix? What are the different roles that women take on in social movements and how can we account for differences across movements? How do gender, race, and class intersect in social movements? For example, what happens when we compare the ideas of progress in Black Lives Matter and white nationalist movements with particular emphasis on women’s place(s) in the future? In this course, we scrutinize the intersections of race, class, and gender as they relate to the ideals to which movements aspire. Social movements that emphasize concepts such as progress, development, and nation-making indicate visions of the future that can illuminate how gender, race, and class shape peoples’ lives. We will focus on the experiences of women (as individuals and as members of groups or organizations) in their historical and structural locations and explore what concepts such as progress, development, and nation-making mean for women in the struggle over feminist meanings and claims.

Progress and Identity Syllabus

Sociology of Sexuality (2016) – Macalester College 

In this course we will examine social theories and sociological research on the topic of sexuality. We will explore the concept of sexuality as it intersects with race, gender, age, and class. The course will be divided into three different sections. In the first section of the course we begin by defining sexuality and discussing why and how we should study sexuality sociologically. Second, we will focus on theories of sexuality. The third section of the course will focus on applying these theories to everyday life through looking closely at contemporary issues of sexuality and sexuality in popular culture. This course is designed to give you a basic understanding of sociological implications of sexuality in the United States.

MacalesterSexualitySyllabus

Race, Class, and Gender (2016) – University of Minnesota 

In the midst of social unrest, it is important for us to understand social inequality. In this course we will analyze the impact of three major forms of inequality in the United States: race, class, and gender. Through taking an intersectional approach at these topics, we will examine the ways these social forces work institutionally, conceptually, and in terms of our everyday realities. We will focus on these inequalities as intertwined and deeply embedded in the history of the country. Along with race, class, and gender we will focus on other axes of inequality including sexuality, citizenship, and dis/ability. We will analyze the meanings and values attached to these social categories, and the ways in which these social constructions help rationalize, justify, and reproduce social inequality. Using in-class discussions, readings, and multimedia, we will also explore how individuals and groups have used these social categories to form and re-imagine identities and push for new ways of understanding the social world while pushing for social transformation.

Sociology 3251W

Social Theory (2015)-University of Pittsburgh:

Social theory is the basic foundation of the discipline of sociology. In this course we ask the following questions: What is Theory? How does it relate to our lives? What is its utility? This course will examine both “classic” and “contemporary” developments of social theory through the examination of stratification and power, culture, social order, pragmatism and revolutions, in addition to more contemporary issues such as theories of deviance, symbolic interaction, feminist theory, critical race theory, queer theory, and neoliberalism.

Social Theory Syllabus

Race, Gender, and Development (2014-2015)-University of Pittsburgh:

In this upper-level course we will look closely at the intersection of race and gender as they relate to the concept of “nation-making,” “development,” and “progress” within the context of the United States. We will also explore what these concepts mean for women of color in the struggle over feminist meanings and claims. Focusing on the historical and structural location and biographical, group, and organizational experiences of women of color in the US context, we will investigate (a) conceptual paradigms which address questions of “intersectionality”(b) the social relations of race, class, and gender in “nation-making,” “development,” and “progress” through the lens of social movements and organizations of women of color. The course will be conducted through a mix of lectures, discussions, and film/video presentations. Students will be expected to prepare an eight to ten-page term paper on a particular sociohistoric experience, or theoretical point related to course material.

race-gender-and-development syllabus

Sociology of Gender (2014) -University of Pittsburgh:

In this course we will explore how gender shapes our lives and the world around us. The course begins with the distinction between one’s sex, which is biologically determined, and one’s gender, which is learned, socially constructed, context specific, and malleable. Through class discussions of theory and empirical research, we will explore the social forces that shape our perceptions of sex, gender, and sexuality. We will focus on the gendering of institutions, such as education, media, religion, work, politics, and the family. We will also be attentive to the ways in which gender intersects with other social identities, such as race, social class, and sexual orientation. Although the primary context for this course is contemporary American society, issues and examples from other cultures may be introduced.

Sociology of Gender- Syllabus

Courses TA’d:

Black Media (2010-2011) – Ohio University

Introduction to Sociology (2013-2014) – University of Pittsburgh

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