At the core of my teaching philosophy are four objectives.
Cultivate Intellectual Curiosity. I design my courses and the assignments within them to help each student develop her or his intellectual curiosity. This involves providing frameworks, questions, and vigorous discussion forums that encourage students to ask new kinds of questions and to work hard—often together—at building answers and identifying the next questions.
Produce Knowledge Collectively. Whether it’s intellectual knowledge or a proposal or project in a work environment, a lot of what we do involves collaboration. Group work can be complex, so I offer students opportunities as well as strategies and coaching for them to succeed and discover the rewards, maybe even joys, of working with others.
Enhance Enjoyment of Literature & Film. Most people can sit down and read a novel or go to the theater and watch a movie and then talk about it with friends or family. I try to give students techniques and tools for analyzing the stories that circulate through society (both high culture and mainstream popular culture) with greater concision and insightfulness.
Connect the Classroom to Life Outside of College. I am convinced that a Liberal Arts education is an excellent preparation for work after college as well as for lives that involve building communities, finding joy, and taking care of others—human and otherwise. When students explore a novel or film in my classes, I guide them to consider how the story itself as well as our analytical and research skills connect to larger professional and social concepts, abilities, and aspirations.