Seven overarching components guide my teaching philosophy. First, teaching inherently involves relational interaction across issues of hierarchy, ability, race, gender, sexual orientation, socioeconomic status, historical inequality, and the valid construction of knowledge. Hence, I ground my instructional philosophy in a critical perspective by focusing on the relationship between power and knowledge, giving value to experiential learning, and making student empowerment a goal of my teaching. I employ a critical perspective by valuing the knowledge that students bring with them into the classroom and cultivating an atmosphere that encourages students to make connections between course materials and lived experiences. I foster critical thinking skills; as a class we read, do, be, create, write, and deconstruct.
I use student-centered pedagogy to develop and employ interactive lesson plans that engage a diverse student population in participatory learning. When developing a syllabus I thoughtfully consider how each reading might connect with students and intentionally include material from authors that occupy diverse social locations. My lesson plans include space for students to engage with our designated topics and bring their knowledge into the learning space. For instance, I cultivate participatory learning by assigning each student the responsibility of reading and presenting a journal article on a specific subject area. In this process, I select articles that provide differing perspectives or outcomes and after the students have presented their work, I facilitate a conversation about the importance of being good consumers of educational research.
I follow principles of universal design and intentionally teach in a manner that includes visual, auditory, and kinesthetic learning opportunities. I understand that not everyone learns in the same way or at the same pace. Rather than viewing these differences as deficiencies, I value the diversity that learners bring to my classroom and I include disability as part of the curriculum in my courses. Further, I am mindful of how assessment techniques create barriers and I design courses that have multiple ways for students to demonstrate that they have achieved the intended learning outcome.
My philosophy is intentionally inclusive of a variety of teaching formats because I developed and refined my principles while teaching face-to-face, hybrid, online, telepresence, and accelerated courses. In an online, telepresence, and hybrid setting I am intentional about cultivating my social presence and making sure to build assignments that develop technological literacy. In the online format, I use technology to adapt activities. For example, I hold open office hours via google hangout and create small group projects via padlet to build community. I appreciate how each instructional format allows me to grow and develop as a teacher and learner.
I view education as a public or social good. As a fundamental component of a democracy, education is necessary to create engaged citizens that contribute to society in a thoughtful and meaningful manner. Therefore, exceptional postsecondary education must be financially accessible to all students. I inhabit my values by choosing to teach at institutions that have open-enrollment policies, serve minority populations, or hold a socially just mission.
I view teaching, research, and service as fundamentally connected activities. Teaching is a dynamic process and research plays an integral role by bringing new content into the curriculum and classroom. I foster innovations within my teaching practice by focusing part of my research on postsecondary educational systems. Further, as I describe below, service via engagement with students outside the classroom is an imperative part of the learning environment.
I employ a holistic approach to teaching that is informed by my varied experiences as a student affairs practitioner. As a practitioner, I bring experience fostering research skills, facilitating accommodations, nurturing community engagement, and helping students connect their degree with a career path. I know that valuable learning occurs outside of the classroom and working with the student as a whole person is a hallmark of my teaching philosophy.