My goal as an educator is to contribute to the development of my students so that they become more independent, self-aware, engaged scholars. My students have agency in their learning and as such they must take responsibility to be present as learners. It is not only possible, but necessary to provide rigorous educational experiences in a compassionate way. My students are humans, with lives, families, jobs, and personal challenges. Honoring their humanity enriches the compassion with which I approach supporting them. My classroom is a learning community where I celebrate the richness of student experiences and foreground those in the classroom as a critical learning tool.
I use active learning strategies to leverage knowledge about how learning happens to engage my students with course materials and embed them in a culture of teaching and learning. This facilitates greater connection with course materials and between students. Every student in my classroom is provided opportunities to practice collaboration and leadership; these are essential as they enter or continue in the workplace, as well as for building their engagement with the community.
An integrated understanding of related civic issues and social justice is also a critical part of my teaching and learning. I am a social justice-oriented educator, and embrace diversity of person, thought, and culture within my classroom. I empower my students to civically engage and challenge them to draw connections between course content, the field of higher education, and the broader community.
All of these methods are a matter of both teaching and modeling for my students.
I expect my students to understand, engage with, and contribute to scholarship in and outside the classroom. My role is to present thoughtful ways in which they can do this. My teaching then extends to my research, where I make a point of including students. I was provided with ample opportunities as a graduate student to engage with my mentors in their work; this had a profound impact on who I am as a scholar. I pay this forward by prioritizing opportunities for students in grant proposals and regularly inviting students to join my projects.
I have a strong commitment to measuring my teaching and my students’ learning. As a reflection of students’ experience, course evaluations and grades are an important piece of how that evaluation happens, but to ensure a robust understanding of my work I employ additional tactics. These include periodic student check-ins through both anonymous questionnaires and face to face discussions, longitudinal review of student work, and review of students’ personal scholarly growth and goal achievement through advising. My growth as an educator and my students’ growth as learners are intertwined, and these diverse formal and informal evaluation methods give me a more complete understanding of the impact of my teaching and help me identify potential areas for growth.
As a leader, scholar, and teacher in higher education, I am a role model for my students and a community liaison. I model through my teaching, through my research, and through my service. Teaching is an important way for me to connect future and current scholars and engage with both. Teaching higher education and educational leadership means having a direct impact on the facilitators of educational experiences that shape our work force, our citizenry, and indeed our society. I find this profoundly humbling and take my work as an educator and scholar to heart.