The course offerings and associated syllabi on this page reflect the guiding principles that I discuss on my Teaching Philosophy page. Some of these courses have been offered only once, so I have not yet had the opportunity to test the success of incorporating my reflections as an instructor and the student evaluation comments into my design of these courses. Other courses, however, I have been fortunate enough to be able to offer three or more times (under different titles/numbers), which has permitted me the chance to review and refine the strategies, activities, and learning assessment tools from these courses. For further discussion and summaries of teaching evaluations and curricular revisions, visit the Teaching Development and Innovative Pedagogy pages, respectively. The syllabi also reflect growth in syllabus design over my years of teaching, with the ANTH 3450 and ANTH 2400 syllabi serving as the most recent examples.
I. Statement of Teaching Responsibilities:
ANTH 3470 (Honors): Ethnicity and Multiculturalism:
Departmental Objectives: Although also offered as a non-honors section in the department, this course serves the function of preparing Honors College students for the intensive, high quality writing expected of them for their senior theses. It also fulfills the Department of Anthropology’s goal of students understanding the diversity of this multicultural nation and world along with the cross-cultural tensions that arise and how the anthropological perspective addresses these issues.
Instructional Approach: Given these goals, my teaching methods combine broad historical and case-study-based readings, weekly lectures, visual media, and class discussions with biweekly annotated bibliography assignments, written reading questions/comments, formal student discussion leading in pairs, and final research papers incorporating course (anthropological and sociological) concepts.
ANTH 2400: Principles of Cultural Anthropology:
Departmental Objectives: This course is designed to give students an introduction to the the methods and theories underpinning the discipline (particularly the subfield of cultural anthropology) through cross-cultural case studies.
Instructional Approach: My methods for this course involve a combination of weekly course lectures, brief clips and longer videos with viewing guides to illustrate concepts, interactive board exercises to gauge understanding, longer (periodic) small group activities (breakout groups in WebEx), online discussion board participation over the readings, and an in-depth observation assignment with field notes to develop students’ ethnographic skills and awareness of cultural assumptions. I also administer three exams (multiple choice and short essay) to ensure the students are able to recall and apply key concepts in the lectures and readings.
ANTH 3450: Anthropology of Climate Change:
Departmental Objectives: I developed this course to initially be offered as a topics course within the Anthropology major, before successfully applying for it to be a permanent, recurring offering with general education credit.
Instructional Approach: This course’s design was informed by the knowledge gained through my recently earned Climate Change Policy and Management Certificate along with the climate change pedagogy discussed in the learning community I facilitated in two consecutive years for the WMUx Office of Faculty Development. Students are apprised of the nature and dimensions of the climate crisis, yet provided with resources to craft solutions in their assignments while applying an anthropological lens. Notably, a weekly “good news” assignment, where students selected and talked about an article highlighting positive strides in climate justice, mitigation, and/or adaptation proved helpful in reducing the anxieties that attend courses that address this subject. By the end of the semester, students are expected to be able to (a) distinguish between and define the applied and theoretical positions anthropology (including archaeology) has taken toward the growing climate crisis since the 1990s; (b) identify the comparative strengths and weaknesses of key climate change solutions/approached discussed in the core text; (c) explain the potential roles and contributions of anthropology and collaborating communities toward climate change mitigation, justice, adaptation, and communication; and (d) analyze the complex challenges of climate change in an instructor-supplied case study; and evaluate a self-selected climate action plan, while integrating anthropological theory and addressing climate mitigation, adaptation, and justice.
SOC 2820: Methods of Data Collection:
Departmental Objectives: Provide majors in the discipline (or related fields) with the basic qualitative (and some quantitative) methods – along with the rationale behind the selection of different methods – applied by social scientists.
Instructional Approach: I presented material through PowerPoint lectures with visuals/examples to illustrate each method discussed. Students demonstrate understanding of these methods through three exams and applied knowledge through two methods projects. A few of the adjustments I plan to make to my approach when I offer it in Fall 2016 are to update the ethnographic examples I use as case studies; revision of some of the multiple choice questions that proved difficult for even the most successful and diligently prepared students in the class; and revising/adding more in-class discussions of concepts each week.
HNRS 4300: Racial and Ethnic Humor in the U.S.:
Departmental Objectives: This was a topics course built upon my scholarly research in this area, designed to be offered for honors students in the Lee Honors College.
Instructional Approach: I applied some non-traditional instructional strategies with this course. Most class sessions involved either an in-class writing or an introduction of relevant terminology, full class discussion of comedy/humor clips, occasional lecture and blackboard demonstrations of concepts, and group-based discussions of readings that each group later presented and discussed with the other discussion groups. A semester-long humor journal (written with a visual component), three papers (reading analysis, humor composition, and ethnographic observation project), and weekly in-class writings comprised the tools I used to evaluate their learning. The papers required students to use readings from the course along with lecture vocabulary to inform and help them to analyze their own humor compositions, journals, and comedy performance observations.
II. Associated Course Syllabi: