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Teaching Philosophy

For me, effective teaching is an ethical obligation. I approach teaching with great seriousness, viewing the classroom as a space of transformative potential. I have taught both face-to-face and online courses, engaging undergraduate and graduate scholars. I consistently receive high marks on my teaching evaluations. Qualitative insights from scholars demonstrate my approach of teaching challenging and rigorous courses, while also supporting scholars in their own personal and professional becoming.

The following principles inform my pedagogical thinking:

  • We are all scholars~educators~speakers: Informed by pedagogues such as Gert Biesta and Paulo Freire, I believe our language must be intentional. I refrain from use of the word ‘students,’ which creates a false hierarchical and banking model of educational practice. Rather, I refer to those in classes I teach as scholars. My syllabi contain the following assertion addressing this point: Our lived experiences and perspectives vary and are important to our study. You should view yourself as a scholar~practitioner~educator~speaker. These are not distinct categories, but rather, entangled.
  • Disequilibrius Decolonization: I believe we learn best when outside our comfort zones. Therefore, challenging readings/videos/multimedia and assignments are included in my courses. Readings are meant to be challenging and push scholars into a state of cognitive dissonance and disequilibrium. Further, many texts explicitly center marginalized voices. This is a decolonizing pedagogical praxis (Brown & Au, 2014; Patel, 2015).
  • Deep Reading/Watching/Listening/Writing/Creating: My courses all require intense reading~watching~listening~writing~creating. I believe we must be exposed to multiple perspectives in order to understand the complexities of our work.  I also believe we have an obligation to apply our knowledge to our personal experience~work.
  • Becoming~Human~Becoming~Professional: I believe in providing flexibility in my course syllabi – openings for students to chart their own becoming~human~becoming~professional. Thus, while we will engage in particular activities collectively, there are ample opportunities for scholars to pursue their own intellectual and professional interests around the broad course topic.
  • Community: I believe we learn through intra-action (Barad, 2007) and dialogic exchange (Freire, 1974/2013; hooks, 1994, 2003). Therefore, courses I teach engage heavily in communal practices to honor each individual’s contributions to our scholarly community. I also encourage scholars to share their knowledge with a larger higher education-student affairs community. This can be done through listservs, social media, or submitting conference proposals.
  • Tenderness~Love: I am increasingly informed by engaged feminist pedagogues, such as Cynthia Dillard, Laura Rendón, bell hooks, Gloria Anzaldúa, Mary Jo Hinsdale, and Becky Thompson. hooks (1994) discusses the classroom as a transformative space and urges faculty to choose to care for the souls of their students. Thompson (2017) describes “A pedagogy of tenderness” as “those spontaneous, planned, and found rituals of inclusion that lean us toward justice, that rest on rigorous study, that treat the classroom as a sacred space, that coach each other into habits of deep listening, that treat ‘memory as an antidote to alienation,’ that multiply joy” (p. 5). I work hard to create conditions for this engaged feminist pedagogy to emerge. I instruct scholars that it will require all of us to work and be open toward making this reality.

Additionally, I take professional development regarding pedagogical strategy and teaching seriously. I actively experiment with new technologies in both face-to-face and online courses. I attend teaching and learning conferences, read teaching and pedagogical literature extensively, and consult my colleagues to better understand their approaches to teaching. Further, I utilize teaching evaluations to inquire about effective practices in my courses, and regularly adjust based on scholar insights.


In regard to online learning and technology, I continue to enhance my skills and approaches. The current program wherein I teach has a fully online master’s program. I attended the Digital Pedagogy Lab in Summer 2017, a week-long seminar focused on critical digital pedagogies. I have taught online courses traditionally and rhizomatically. I have utilized SLACK to enhance discussions and community building; Hypothes.is to engage in critical co-reading activities; recorded interviews with leading scholars in the field; and frequently conduct synchronous meetings with scholars in my online courses.

Course Taught

Sam Houston State University
HIED 5361: Contemporary Issues in Higher Education (Spring 2016).
HIED 5367: Diverse College Students (Fall 2015; Fall 2016; Spring 2017; Spring 2018; Fall 2018).
HIED 5364: Leadership in Higher Education (Fall 2015; Spring 2016).
HIED 5379: Research in Higher Education (Fall 2015; Spring 2016; Summer 2016; Fall 2017).
HIED 6360: Student Services in Higher Education (Summer 2016; Spring 2017; Summer 2017; Spring 2018).
HIED 6372: Practicum (Spring 2017; Spring 2018).
HIED 7374: The College Student (Summer 2016; Summer 2017).
HIED 7376: Higher Education Curriculum (Fall 2016; Fall 2017; Fall 2018).
HONR 3375: Honors Seminar: Understanding Whiteness (Fall 2017).

Louisiana State University
EDCI 7901: Curriculum Theory (Fall 2015). Adjunct Professor.
EDCI 7901: Curriculum Theory (Fall 2014). Graduate Teaching Assistant.
ELRC 7612: College Student Development Theory (Spring 2014; Spring 2015). Graduate Teaching Assistant.

University of Louisiana at Lafayette
EDFL 395: Orientation Leadership (Spring 2012).
CNED 395: Orientation Leadership (Spring 2008, Spring 2009, Spring 2010, Spring 2011).

University of Maryland College Park
EDCP 317: Introduction to Leadership (Fall 2004). Graduate Teaching Assistant.
EDCP 108D: Career Planning & Decision Making (Fall 2003). Lead Instructor.

Visible Pedagogy

A Teach@CUNY Project

David White

Digital - Learning - Culture

Helen Kara

Writing and research

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