In Brief (Full Statement Available Upon Request)
My teaching philosophy is rooted in the belief that co-creation of meaning occurs in the classroom and that the university could be understood as world-making. As such, my teaching objectives extend beyond simply delivering course content to ensuring students achieve their individual potential and grow into compassionate humans who challenge the status quo. As a critical feminist media studies researcher who often takes a scholar-activist approach to research on difficult topics, I work to create a classroom environment that encourages inquiry-based learning in which students are active participants, deep understanding of real-world content applications, and the ability to apply critical and creative thinking to conceptual problems. Ultimately, this is about instilling not only professional but also political, social and media literacy in an increasingly complex and hyper-mediated environment.
I use a flipped active learning style and a variety of scaffolded pedagogical techniques that reflect these philosophical objectives. From a bird’s eye perspective, my teaching practice is built on a foundation of engaged pedagogy that honors the diversity of students’ lived experiences and recognizes emotional well-being. As an interdisciplinary mixed-methods researcher with a background in journalism, I believe in the power of experiential learning to make dense content accessible and better enable students to see how theoretical concepts can be applied either in their professional fields or, sometimes, for social justice aims.
Because upper level theory courses often touch on sensitive topics and writing-intensive courses can be stressful for students, I intersperse gamification in my classes. Additionally, unless a given class necessitates the use of a computer or a student needs a computer for accessibility, my classrooms are tech-free to limit distraction and maximize engagement. However, as a former journalist with appreciation for the potential of technology, each of my courses includes online components, such as quizzes and discussion boards, as well as tasks requiring familiarity with tools students are likely to use as communication and media professionals.
To conclude, all of my pedagogical strategies are designed to create a learning environment in which students are active co-producers of knowledge and are able to translate what they’ve learned into future classes and, more importantly, their lives after college. Now, more than ever, it is imperative students understand the power of communication and media technologies. As communication and media scholars, we are best positioned to help our students think deeply about these issues, choose language to discuss them intentionally and mediate conflicts that may arise from them. When we conduct public and community-engaged scholarship, we also are able to bring these same skills to society at large.