Teaching is a very important part of what I do, and I try very hard to be a thoughtful and mindful instructor. I also believe that the most effective way to contribute to durable social change is through education, and as such the classes that I offer focus as much on exploring one’s assumptions and world-view as they do on conveying technical knowledge. My own undergraduate and graduate training involved a combination of studies in the social and natural sciences, the liberal arts, and the philosophy of science. I believe that this mix of perspectives and tools was important to my success through graduate school, and to my growth as a trans-disciplinary researcher. My goal as a teacher, therefore, is to draw from these same fields to provide my students with the tools to think critically and synthetically, and to develop an aptitude for both cross-pollination and cross-cultural understanding.
In the classroom, I play the role of mentor and lead-learner, and use assigned readings, opening remarks, and mini-lectures to set the stage for an open and informed discussion. I strive to create a safe and inclusive learning environment, where everyone’s thoughts and perspectives are treated as relevant and valuable.
I likewise recognize that learning is a “whole person” process; to keep students engaged, especially those with different learning styles or cultural backgrounds, I structure my coursework to include a mixture of readings, videos, and hands-on activities, and also regularly assign works of fiction, poetry, science, art, film, or music, which helps students to learn that problems can and should be assessed from multiple perspectives.
Below are some quotes and quantitative outcomes of teaching evaluations that I've received over the years. I strive to be honest and transparent in this aspect of my career. I am still learning myself, and am happy to report that I have evidence of growth in teaching and mentorship over the last few years.