The liberal arts background I experienced as an undergraduate left a outsized impression on me as a lifelong learner and an instructor. I thrived on the opportunities for engaging with my instructors in mentor-mentee style roles and felt like I learned the most when I had more face-time with my instructors and research mentors. I try to provide those opportunities for one-on-one or one-on-several interactions in my courses whether they are online or in-person. One of the ways I have found that is reasonably successful in online courses is to cover non-essential but interesting topics related to the course material during my office hours sessions when students don't have questions about the course material - this may include brief supplementary lectures, detailed walkthroughs of past assignments, or specimen prep activities related to a given vertebrate taxon. These activities attract a small but engaged group of students that allow me to better get to know the students and better understand their educational and career goals and how I can help make those happen.
Additionally, in my teaching I like to balance the aspects of learning for the sake of personal edification and exploring one's curiosity with building concrete skills that will serve students on the job market. For my mammalogy course, this includes teaching students how to use R to collect and analyze data in multiple contexts, perform mammal trapping activities, and writing up analyses in a publication format. I remind my students that my goal is to equip them with the skills they need to hit the job market and the ability to find questions that they are passionate about exploring beyond the classroom environment.
Another aspect of teaching that is important to me is promoting an atmosphere where all feel welcome. I am proud to teach at ASU, a Hispanic-serving institution, and particularly enjoy working with BIPoC, LGBT+, students with accessibility needs, and first generation students to help eliminate barriers to success where I can. I was also a first generation university student and am keenly aware of the challenges facing students from low-income families without history of engaging in the university experience - it has also taught me empathy for students who are in other positions where their background presents challenges to equal participation and success in the academic process. Finally, it is important to me to acknowledge the indigenous peoples who have lived since time immemorial on the land which I, too, now live and work - including the Piipash, Akimel O'odham, and Tohono O'odham. I encourage my students to consider the perspectives of Native Americans in my mammalogy course by discussing the knowledge held by the Akimel O'odham, Piipash, and Tohono O'odham peoples regarding Arizona native mammals, in an effort to shine an important spotlight that the westernized perspective of science and natural history is not the only perspective that exists. This is a new pursuit for me but it is important to my values; I am interested in developing this aspect of my teaching as I continue to hone my teaching strategies.
Format: Online asynchronous, 100 students
Format: In Person, 2 sections, 24 students