My approach to teaching is to construct a course that I would be interested in taking. I like diversity in course material and like to teach diversely so my classes are not similar though I try to make them all stimulating and interesting. Sometimes the class day is spent with me doing a formal lecture, other days students are debating, viewing a documentary or deconstructing a children's film, working in small groups on a project. In my courses I assign a variety of "texts" including academic books and journal articles, opinion pieces, documentaries and autobiographic pieces.
All of my courses are based on the belief that "student centered learning" is an avenue towards student empowerment. Students are expected to take ownership of their educational experience by thinking critically about race, gender and class inequality in group and individual relationships, and in social institutions. For sociologists, critical thinking means more than being critical of an author's position or disagreeing with the professor; rather it is the ability to question why we live in a society structured on social inequality. It involves questioning who benefits from the current social arrangements, and which groups are harmed by it. To this end students are encouraged to use their sociological imagination to consider alternatives to the existing structures of power, privilege and entitlement in the United States.
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Assistant Dean, College of the Pacific
Wendell Phillips Center 204