Recent Courses

  • Introduction to Sociology
  • Family and Intimate Relationships
  • Transitions to Adulthood over the Twentieth Century
  • Urban Sociology

Other Teaching Interests

  • Qualitative Methods
  • Gender
  • Life Course Theory
  • Culture

Teaching Philosophy

My teaching style incorporates traditional and unconventional teaching styles. I believe that in order to give students the opportunity to be creative thinkers, it is important to provide them with a strong scholarly foundation. Through lectures and discussion, I aim to clarify what are often opaque texts in order to provide students with the tools for critical thinking and original theory. I teach students to convey complex concepts in a clear and lively way using a variety of methods such as writing exercises and supervised peer review. I encourage students to explore the interplay between sociological theory and everyday life through classroom discussion, personal essays, and examples from popular culture.

I emphasize writing as a critical learning tool. Students are required to write a final paper based on the exploration of existing theories or the analysis of original research. I stress the importance of grounding theory in concrete data, whether theoretical essays, literary texts, or qualitative interviews and ethnographic field-notes. I encourage students to engage in a structured, multi-step writing process, beginning with a detailed outline and culminating in a polished research paper. I assign deadlines for key steps in the process throughout the course. I regularly give the students detailed feedback and make myself available for assistance outside class. I also encourage exploratory writing through personal essays, reaction papers, and individual presentations.

In teaching and practicing social science, I have found two strategies most effective in the development of writing skills. First, I believe that exchange between peers is a key element. In the position of editor, the student gains the ability to be critical about theory, syntax, and style. And in the position of writer, the student receives a fresh perspective and valuable feedback. Second, I find that a writing manual such as Becker’s “Writing for Social Scientists” serves as a useful complement to substantive academic texts. By suggesting concrete strategies, it breaks up the daunting writing process into a set of manageable tasks.