Teaching is one of the primary and most rewarding forms of my own social justice activism. The public school system of which I am in part a product of, has largely failed to prepare students for the world-making projects of an intellectually, creatively, and civically engaged life. Despite the neoliberal restructuring and under-resourcing of many universities across the country, I regard my students as engaged intellectuals and resourceful culture producers, not merely customers purchasing a service. I am committed to working in the public university system and arming my students with the necessary skills to think, imagine, render, and defend dangerous, new, and/or unpopular ideas that will remake the world in more equitable ways. To achieve this, eight axioms guide my teaching:
- Engagement: I adaptively engage students by employing a diversity of teaching strategies depending on the course topic and class size. Strategies to empower students, incite curiosity, and inspire creativity include: small group discussions, interactive and hands-on workshops, in-class debates, multimedia lectures, performance lectures, student led presentations and workshops, in-class co-editing, in-class exams, take home research and writing assignments, group critiques, field work, and off-campus excursions.
- Difference: I account for difference in the classroom. Whether teaching across disciplines or across diverse life experiences, the classroom must remain a respectful environment for all students. Although I am hesitant to invoke concepts of safer space, as safety and discomfort are often conflated and discomfort is a valuable teaching tool, I strive to maintain a classroom environment where students can feel comfortable to make themselves vulnerable, ask “stupid” questions, and use the wrong language in order to create teachable moments and challenge students assumptions about both identities and disciplines.
- Discipline: I expect students to participate in every class and meet assignment deadlines. In class attendance is taken, marks for participation are given, and late assignments are not accepted without proper documentation of medical or family emergency.
- Rigor: I have as high expectations of my students as I do of myself. Not all students produce A/B work and I do not inflate grades to satiate students’ demands for them. I also moderate the classroom environment to minimize texting, facebooking, and other social media unless it is integral to the course material.
- Humility: Although I have a decades worth of experience studying in a university setting and three years of experience teaching in one, I know that learning is a lifelong endeavor, that I don’t know everything, that what was true yesterday might not be true tomorrow, and being able to laugh at and learn from my own mistakes are crucial attributes of a humble educator. I have a lot of expertise, experience, and skills to share with my students, but I am not infallible or all knowing.
- Evaluation: I evaluate student success based on their ability to follow instructions, fulfill course requirements outlined in the course syllabus, and their ability to demonstrate intellectual and/or creative growth through writing, in-class discussion, and/or cultural projects.
- Outcomes: By thoroughly engaging students, accounting for difference in discipline and life experience, creating clear course structures and deadlines, demanding the best from students, teaching with both humility and humor, and providing clear evaluation processes, my students will be able to meet course requirements, increase their capacity for critical thinking, and be able to articulate their ideas through writing, cultural productions, and/or civic action.
- Growth: I will continue to grow as an educator by learning with my students, collaborating with my colleagues, presenting my research at conferences, publishing in academic, activist, and artistic publications, maintaining a demanding studio practice, participating in local, national, and international activist/artist projects, participating in professional development opportunities, and through securing applicable research grants.
- Introduction to Sexuality Research
- AIDS Film and Video
- HIV/AIDS: Social, Cultural and Scientific Aspects of the Pandemic (teaching team)