My desire to understand what leads to communities flourishing shapes my passion and approach to teaching as well. I want my students to leave my classes having developed as sociologically-minded citizens with strong critical thinking skills and the scaffolding to empathetically engage with others.

To do this, I use formative quizzes that allow students to improve their knowledge because they realize the gaps in their understanding. I regularly build exercises and assignments off of Brookfield’s model of critical thinking. Together with my students in class, we search for the assumptions that underlie both sociological and commonsense understandings of society, and evaluate whether the warrants for these claims hold up. Finally, we engage in several exercises and activities where the students apply the sociological imagination not to their own lives but to the lives of those who are different from themselves. I believe that this builds a critically-engaged empathy which allows students to carefully consider how we may best build a society in which many may flourish.

The Kaneb Center for Teaching and Learning at the University of Notre Dame
The Kaneb Center for Teaching and Learning at the University of Notre Dame

While¬†working on my PhD, I pursued excellence in teaching through earning several teaching certificates from the Kaneb Center for Teaching and Learning, including the “Striving for Excellence in Teaching” and “Advanced Teaching Scholar” certificates.

Sample Syllabi

Marriage and the Family (SOC 20342): By taking a sociological approach to learning about the family and by gaining knowledge about national family trends and patterns in the U.S., this course gives students the theoretical and empirical tools necessary for understanding how family life is linked to the social structure; to economic, cultural, and historical events and transitions; and to societal factors like race, class, and gender. A major goal of this course is to encourage students to think critically about their own ideas and assumptions about marriage and family life.

Introduction to Sociology (SOC 150): This general education course serves as a broad introduction to the wide-ranging and diverse set of ideas and intellectuals that constitute the discipline of sociology. While we cover both the main theoretical systems of thought and empirical findings on the nature of human society, we also place a great deal of emphasis on applying these sociological insights within our own lived experiences. Using reflective writing, formative quizzing, and in-class exercises, this introductory course allows students to uncover myriad ways in which the broader society has shaped our individual lives, and the various means by which individuals and groups have acted collectively in the past in order to build a more just and equitable society.

Latino Communities Organizing Against Violence (SOC 33062): A seminar course that examines current efforts by activists and organizations working on violence prevention and intervention, students in this seminar gain a deeper understanding of community organizing and the consequences of youth exposure to and participation in violence. As an active participant, during a five-day immersion, students explore the rich cultural heritage of Chicago and South Bend and interact with numerous groups and individuals engaged in responding to and reducing gang violence. Site visits and discussions with local stakeholders encourage reflection on the challenges and opportunities that youth face in the city.

Minorities in American Society (SOC 4043): An upper division course that requires a research paper and ongoing portfolio, Minorities in American Society builds from a Race and Ethnicity textbook and major articles in the field to deepen students’ thinking and understanding of race and ethnicity. As topics that arouse deep passion all over the world, race and ethnicity are among the most significant and vexing social phenomena of the contemporary world. Students learn about the legacies of global macrohistorical forces that are still central to micro-processes of self-definition and identity inside and outside of nation states. The purpose of this course is to explore a number of issues concerning race and ethnicity including issues of identity, inequality, social class, discrimination, and immigration. This course is organized to exemplify sociological principles and mechanisms in the production and re-production of social processes that create a minority group and shape minority-majority relations.