I believe in teaching that connects students to the communities we study and pedagogy that privleges rigorous engagement with social theory through critical written analysis.


Teaching Philosophy

As an educator, I am committed to realizing the personally transformative potential of higher education.  In my courses, I blend dialogue and lecture, encouraging students to cultivate a sociological imagination that apprehends the linkage between their personal troubles and broader social issues.  The connections between the individual and structure, between the personal and political, demonstrate the powerful ways that seemingly impersonal social forces both enable and constrain everything from our life chances to the most cherished aspects of our identities.  In the classroom, I work to honor and incorporate students’ experiences, just as I challenge their received wisdom and “common sense.”  This approach showcases the relevance of sociology, increases student investment in the learning process, and cultivates critical and libratory thinking. 

Teaching Materials

Classic and contemporary social scientific research serves as the empirical foundation of my courses.  I also draw on compilations of testimonies complied by local organizations, non-fiction novels, guest speakers, community events, current events, music, and film to deepen, complicate, or contradict the core findings presented in the academic literature.   I seek to bring the voices and experiences of those under study into the classroom.  Whether partnering with a progressive, neighborhood elementary school in a Sexualities class or collaboratively designing a survey instrument and collecting original data in a Quantitative Methods course, this approach grounds students in the practice of sociology and invites them to envision pathways toward justice.

Teaching Strategies

I stress the development of written and verbal expression in my courses.  In each of my courses, the majority of assignments—annotated bibliographies, medium length analytic essays, or research papers—are oriented toward writing.  Developing this highly portable skill is crucial for many students’ future academic and professional endeavors.  I offer feedback in class, in office hours, and on their graded work.  Responding to students’ varying levels of access to education and preparation for the university, my grading of their written work rewards improvement over time, reflecting an approach to grading that is not only evaluative, but also communicative. 

In class, I blend lecture with student-led discussion, small group and full group problem solving exercises, and presentations.  This variety of formats facilitates participation from even the most reticent of students, increases investment in the course by making students responsible for their learning, improves public speaking skills, and enriches dialogue among students who come to see each other as sources of information and expertise. 

The classroom becomes a nexus where social science, student experience, and the outside community and world meet.  Here the collaborative and critical engagement of social scientific research becomes a transformative opportunity for the individual student and for the larger community. 

My teaching experience includes:

Assistant Professor, University of San Diego (2013-present)

  • Introduction to Sociology (Soc 101)
  • Quantitative Methods (Soc 225)
  • Sexualities (Soc 313D)
  • Criminalizing Immigration (Soc 460)
  • Law and Society (Soc 472)

Adjunct Instructor, Whittier College (2011)

  • Race and Immigration (Soc 290)

Instructor of Record, University of California, Santa Barbara (2010-11)

  • Introduction to Sociology (Soc 1)
  • Latina/o Immigration (Soc 144LI)
  • Law and Migration at the Intersection of Race and Gender (Lawso 163)

 

 

 A student's classroom portrait

A student's classroom portrait