My teaching philosophy centers on emphasizing critical thinking skills and encouraging students to develop their theoretical and analytical proficiencies. I introduce empirical evidence to show the relevance of applied research, with the hope that students will respond with curiosity to the material. I also encourage students to actively engage in and participate in discussions, and realize that they can have dissenting opinions.
I am enthusiastic in nature and passionate about teaching. These characteristics are reflected in my style of teaching. Because students have various learning styles, I apply a variety of teaching mediums to stimulate interest in the course material. I prefer not to lecture excessively, but instead combine lecture with in-class activities, including group discussion, student presentations, inviting guest speakers from the community, and drawing from various media sources.
I also incorporate aspects of experiential learning as an important component in my teaching. For example, local guest speakers provide a critical perspective and allow students to hear firsthand how topics covered in the course apply in real life situations. Other examples of experiential learning involve taking students to local non-profit organizations. These fieldtrips allow students to make connections between our classroom discussions on inequality.
Promoting undergraduate research is one of the most rewarding experiences for me as a professor. I encourage students to participate in professional meetings and to date, have served as faculty mentor/advisor for 12 undergraduate students who presented their research papers at the Annual Western Department of Sociology and Anthropology Undergraduate Research Conference at Santa Clara University and the Annual Meeting of the Pacific Sociological Association. I also invite Sociology undergraduates to work on my research projects, supervising their independent research, training them on qualitative and quantitative survey data analyses, leading to our joint presentations at professional conferences.
Please visit these pages for additional information:
Ethel Nicdao, Associate Professor of Sociology
Wendell Phillips Hall 201