Minnesota State University, Mankato
Animals and Society, Applied Sociology, Program Planning, Social Movements, Social Research
Past Courses Taught
Environmental Sociology, Women in the U.S. Economy, Sociology of the Body
Graduate Teaching Assistant Experience and Training (2004-2011): Conflict Resolution, Introduction to Sociology, Marriage and Families, Mass Media and Society, Statistics, Sociology of Science, Sociology of Gender (2 classes), Sociology of Sexuality, Sociology Majors’ Seminar
All of my courses have four pedagogical goals: teach the content matter in an engaging way, develop students’ ability in at least one fundamental skill (e.g. critical reading, persuasive writing, research, etc.), build and engage critical thinking, and empower students to bring what they learn in the classroom into their daily lives. People do not all process information in the same way, so I provide students a variety of ways to learn, both inside and outside the classroom. I incorporate diverse materials, exercises, and ways to evaluate student progress so that each student can approach learning in a way that they are comfortable, while also being challenged with other learning techniques.
In line with my dedication to student learning and engagement and my commitment to helping students build a bridge between the classroom and their community, I often incorporate service learning and applied project-based learning into my teaching. I do this in small ways with individual assignments, and in more substantial ways through course design and program development. This is highlighted by my commitment to student internships—I currently manage an internship program within my department and, while working in the nonprofit sector, I established internship programs at two organizations. When pedagogically and pragmatically appropriate, I build courses around partnerships with community organizations. Currently, in my Applied Sociology and Program Planning classes, I bring community organizations into the classroom as our “clients.” They bring their research or program development needs to the students, who develop studies and programs to meet these needs. I tailor course materials so that they will meet student learning outcomes while also facilitating the student projects. By partnering with community organizations, these applied projects also provide a service learning opportunity, a method proven to increase student learning outcomes. To further increase student engagement and provide a way for students to share their work beyond the classroom, I maintain a blog on which many of these student projects can be viewed: https://studentshowcaseblog.wordpress.com/.
At my core, I am student-centered, and consider teaching to be a privilege. Collectively, educators help to shape students. It is my goal to assist students by planting new seeds and empowering them to grow burgeoning ideas and passions, weed out entrenched ideas that do not align with their knowledge and values, and to think critically and conscientiously as they continue to develop their intellectual and social selves.