Message for Students
If you are coming to my webpage as a student, please know that your education and growth are of upmost importance to me. Texas A&M is a public, land-grant institution, which means that it was designed to serve the people of the state of Texas from its very conception. My teaching is informed simultaneously by my university’s goals to “prepare students to assume roles in leadership, responsibility, and service to society” and by my department’s mission “to educate global citizens and future leaders, preparing our students for a globally interconnected future.”
In her podcast, Michelle Obama described feeling limited as a young person “because schools don’t show you the world…they just show you a bunch of careers.” If I am lucky enough to have you in my classroom, my goal is to show you a small slice of the world with the hope that you will walk away feeling a bit more limitless.
Many of the pivotal debates we are facing as a collective are led by individuals who are deeply-entrenched in their position. My teaching philosophy is largely informed by taking up these debates and challenging my students to ask “are we even asking the right questions?” One of my core values as an instructor is that learning to ask the right questions is the foundation of quality scholarship and leadership and, thus, my syllabi do not typically shy away from contentious topics.
In a world where global contact is increasingly present in the lives of undergraduate students, one of my primary objectives as an educator is to help my students see that coursework in the Humanities allows us to draw connections between diverse cultures. Language and literature not only cultivate communication between people, but also provide students with an opportunity to reflect on their own language(s) and culture(s) in new ways. As a researcher who is interested in the movement of people across national boundaries, my pedagogical goals are consistently informed by transnational theories.
Regardless of the course content I have outlined on a syllabus, I believe that students should be trained to harness their own power as learners. As such, I pair content-related learning objectives with the development of professional skills. In other words, I evaluate the students by asking them to complete assignments where they can showcase what they have learned in a way that simulates future workplace tasks.
I am committed to working in an educational environment with small class sizes because as the instructor of a small class I can nourish my students’ curiosity about the complexity of our studies — I believe that the curiosity of students should guide their learning and, therefore, my teaching.
My classroom environment and teaching philosophy reflect my personal commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion in higher education. These tenets are not only integral to class discussion and teamwork, they are becoming more and more widely recognized as ethical, academic, and professional imperatives.
I believe that teaching is a practice that is developed both in and outside of the classroom. I have been fortunate to obtain a wide-range of classroom experience during my time at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Université de Paris VII – Diderot and Sam Houston State University. Some of those courses have included elementary and intermediate level language courses while others were upper-division courses themed around coming-of-age novels, travel literature, genre studies or migration.
I believe it is important to supplement classroom experience with pedagogical trainings, conferences and workshops. To that end, I have made use of the following opportunities to sharpen my teaching practice:
- The University of Michigan, Ann Arbor’s Graduate Teacher Certificate Program
- SHSU Online’s Course Redesign and Faculty Certification Program
- SHSU’s Writing in the Disciplines Program
- SHSU’s Active Learning Summer Institute
- SHSU’s Odyssey Grant, to attend the Lilly Conference on Teaching for Active and Engaged Learning
- Texas A&M’s Course Build Institute, organized by the Center for Teaching Excellence