My teaching of political science and legal studies is driven by a focus on achieving two complementary goals: on the one hand, to inspire interest in the course subject with every student, regardless of their background, and secondly, to impart a broader set of skills that will serve my students as they embark on their lives after graduation. My focus on these goals helps students to become independent, creative thinkers who are able to communicate their ideas effectively, and encourages them to become engaged citizens who are able to make relevant judgments and discriminations. Every assignment and classroom activity I assign is designed to develop these qualities in students while helping them to become more comfortable with becoming active participants in their own political worlds.
In this category, I have included a listing of the courses I have taught previously, both as the instructor of record, as well as courses for which I have served as a teaching assistant. When I design syllabi, my goal is to create opportunities for students to engage with the course material by providing ways in which they can link the topics to their own daily lives. In addition, I introduce students to important research in political science and legal studies. By exposing students to peer-reviewed research in the social sciences, they acquire an understanding of the rigors of social science research, as well as an awareness of what it takes to formulate a good research question, and the research methods available to answer them.
Also included in this section is a statement about my commitment to diversity as a teacher-scholar. While I create challenging courses and set high expectations for my students, I am always focused on making sure they can meet these expectations. I do so by grading fairly, employing a variety of teaching styles, and by working with students on an individual basis to make sure they can reach their full potential—in my courses as well as in others. I consciously create curricula that engage students in a variety of ways, including classroom experiences that combine lectures with screening films, debates, and presentations; written assignments that may focus on research, synthesis, or creative writing; and providing supplementary information to students when necessary in the form of study guides, handouts, or web links.