Teaching Philosophy

As an instructor of international relations, my goal is to foster well informed, critical thinking citizens and voters and to help students develop the skills they need to be successful in their future careers. I accomplish my goals through my teaching philosophy.

My teaching philosophy centers on three overarching principles: intuitive understanding of theory, application of theory to real world events, and independent research.

In my classroom, I use a variety of active learning techniques including simulations, games, discussion, and interactive lectures. Experiential learning through simulations, allows students to intuitively engage with abstract, theoretical concepts. For example, students in my Introduction to Comparative Politics class learn about the economic market and taxation through a card game simulation, where groups of two work as households to grow rice, buy and sell land, and pay taxes.

In addition, I work on introducing students to the principles of independent research across the courses I teach. Students are introduced to the research process in my introductory courses, learning the principles behind asking good research questions, writing literature reviews and proposing good theoretical answers. In my methods courses, students build on their research skills by learning the skills needed to test their theories against real world evidence. Later, in my upper division courses, students expand their research skills to include an independent research project and paper.

Finally, I focus on the acquisition of practical skills. In my Terrorism and Counterterrorism course, students work collaboratively to write and present information briefings on different terrorist organizations. In my courses that are offered for general education credit, student learn how to produce web content by writing a blog post that applies a theory learned in class to a current event.

My teaching has been evaluated by students as above college and department averages. This success is driven by my commitment to continuous pedagogical training, including certifications earned from the Notre Dame Kaneb Center for Teaching and Learning as well as participation in Teacher’s Workshops.

I am also committed to fostering student success inside and outside of the classroom. Check out my blog “The Office Hour” at: http://the-office-hour.com