Teaching

My courses are not haphazardly strung together. They are designed according to a set of learning outcomes. For all of my courses, I use a framework of significant learning outcomes that extend higher order thinking. The assignments I construct are intended to evaluate the extent to which outcomes have been met. This means I don’t simply include an assignment because they are the “standard” in graduate school.

 

 As a student, I thrived in ambiguity. I typically rebelled against too much structure. This means that, by nature, I favor flexibility. I view students as adults, and I give them license in co-constructing an environment in which they can learn. That being said, I’ve realized that some structure is warranted in order to clearly communicate guidelines and allow the course to progress. My aim is to strike a balance.

 

Writing, for me, is sacred. It is the basis for creating new knowledge, and it is a springboard for the imagination. As such, I spend a good deal of time writing and ask students to do the same. There is no such thing as perfect writing, and I work with students to improve your structure, grammar, and/or voice. The best scholars I know take criticism gracefully. I encourage students to always view their writing as a project under construction.

 

I am a proponent of learning by doing. Not all topics, of course, can easily be transformed into an applied learning activity. Nevertheless, I am committed to thinking creatively about how to make courses experience-based. This means tackling real-world problems in the world of education policy and leadership. It also means working closely with partners across the UNCW campus to enhance students' understanding of issues in the field.

 

This is a graduate program in a professional college. One of our primary objectives is to prepare students for the next stage of their career, whatever that stage may be. We aim to flexible in the structure of this program so that it is accessible to different learning styles and life circumstances. We do this through hybrid courses and careful advising. What I won’t do is structure my teaching around convenience. My goal is to teach students skills, knowledge, and competencies in a rigorous way. I push students at times and tell them when I think the quality of your work is lacking.

 

Lastly, I am open to students' feedback. Becoming a better teacher is vitally important to me. I invite students to their your thoughts with me by email or during office hours. 

My Evolving Teaching Philosophy

 

They all loved what they were doing. They did not tell - they catalyzed a burning desire to know. – John Steinbeck, “On Teaching”

 

Teaching reminds me of distance running. It’s both physically and mentally draining, yet eminently rewarding. It requires careful pacing and attention to context. And improvement comes incrementally. 

 

At the heart of my teaching is the certainty that I don’t know everything. I don’t think of you as empty vessels waiting for my knowledge. Rather, I recognize that students are intelligent people with a wealth of experiences. Although I will work hard to share with students what I have learned over time, I am also committed to learning from them and building a course that acknowledges students' abilities.

Recent Courses

[NEW] EDL 595/695 Innovative Approaches to College Student Success [Click to see recent syllabus]

A summer elective, this new course takes an in-depth look at college completion data and equity gaps, seeking to understand the recent craze over student success and college attainment. We then explore as many as seven different approaches that have become popular among scholars, practitioners, and policy wonks to increase student success, including behavioral nudges, predictive analytics, success coaches, emergency grants and scholarships, and registration reforms. We critically evaluate these approaches and consider how we can adjust our own practices as higher education professions to improve college student success.

EDL 552 CRITICAL ISSUES IN HIGHER EDUCATION [Click to see recent syllabus]

This course serves as a capstone to the master’s degree in higher education. It aims to survey a range of persistent, unresolved issues in student affairs and higher education administration. Although we will examine the implications of these issues for practice, we will also give attention to institutional leadership and policy-making. Higher education is never static, and many of the issues we will discuss represent moving targets—just as we get a handle on them, there is high probability our knowledge will need to quickly be updated. 

EDL 555 LEGAL AND POLICY ISSUES IN HIGHER EDUCATION [Click to see recent syllabus]

The purpose of this course is to explore a range of issues at the intersection of law, policy, and regulatory compliance in higher education. Applied in nature, the course equips emerging and seasoned higher education professionals with a basic understanding of legal considerations in the field and the ways in which institutions and individuals respond to legal challenges. In particular, we examine freedom of expression, affirmative action, due process rights, gender discrimination and sexual assault, and risk management. Moreover, we discuss pertinent federal and state higher education policy priorities.

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