Challenging. Empowering. Belonging.
I challenge students to learn. This probably seems self-evident. What college professor isn't challenging their students to learn? But traditional education models use rewards and punishments to push students through, rather than inviting them to engage in the learning process. A history course can unlock a new perspective on the world; it can change the way we think about the people around us and the people of the past; it can help us better understand our present. I want my students to be open to those possibilities. I've long since rejected the models of rote memorization, and I am moving steadily away from standard grading practices. I want students to feel challenged, to come to class because they want to be there, and not because they're afraid to miss class.
I empower students to learn through collaborative, investigative, and reflective assessment. In all of my classes, I invite students to help make decisions, big and small, like what kind of grade-assignment scheme we will use, or what topics we will discuss in class. I use small group discussion to encourage peer-learning when working with challenging texts and concepts. I use project-based learning to facilitate a clear understanding of the significance and application of what they learn in my classes, and I give students the chance to investigate and explore topics that interest them, or that they have a connection to. I have used various iterations of reflecting “ungrading,” where students spend their time reflecting on course material and their own learning and growth throughout the term, and respond to feedback on assignments and projects. These efforts make success achievable for all of my students, by giving them a stake in the learning process while meeting them where they are.
I strive to create communities of belonging in each of my classes. Through universal design for learning, social justice-oriented pedagogies, and feminist teaching practices, I am trying to build an inclusive classroom, but inclusivity is not enough. I want every student to know that they belong, in my class and at my institution. I check in with students regularly throughout the term, and make adjustments to my courses with their student feedback. I design the course so that it is navigable and accessible for every student, through multimodal delivery of content, a range of different assignments to help process and engage with course material, and a flexibility that makes the class accommodating even before students seek accommodations. I revise my courses every time I teach them to diversify and decolonize my course structure, materials, and assignments. Most importantly, I know that my social justice and pedagogy journey is just that: a journey. It's not finished, and there's always more road ahead.
I have designed and taught courses at small liberal arts colleges and large research institutions, from introductory level to seminar, online, hybrid, and face-to-face, in European history, gender/sexuality studies, and digital history methodologies. In addition to the courses listed here, I've also taught standard introductions to Global History and European history. Sample syllabi are hyperlinked and identified with a **
In 2018, students worked together in my Intro to Digital History course to build a digital exhibit for Fort St. Pierre
In 2019 my colleague EmmaLeigh Kirchner and I took 19 students to Dublin, Belfast and Galway. Our courses overlapped in theme - she explored the contemporary issues surrounding prisons and incarceration in Ireland, and I taught the history of Crime & Punishment in Ireland. More than half the students took both classes.
In 2018 I took 18 students to Washington DC for a specialized program at the US Holocaust Memorial Museum organized by Jake Newsome, then Educational Coordinator. Students were given a guided tour of the museum, spoke with two survivors, and Dr. Newsome led a seminar session on homosexual victims during the Holocaust.