Teaching Areas of Interest
Conservative Social Movements, Crime & Deviance, Masculinity, Methods, Nationalism, Race & Ethnicity, Whiteness
Abbreviated Teaching Philosophy
I believe sociology instructors have a duty to help students take what they learn in the classroom into their daily lives. Sociology is uniquely positioned to help people challenge preconceptions about the social world, to teach them to identify sources of continuing social problems, and consider workable solutions. I emphasize that learning is not only about passing a test or attaining a certain grade, but rather about understanding the world, thinking critically, and applying the skills learned in the classroom to daily life.
I strive to make my classrooms inclusive spaces for all students. I use a variety of methods (e.g., group discussions, relevant guest speakers, and videos) in the classroom to reach students who have different learning styles or preferences. I also encourage students to draw on their own diverse cultural and life experiences to as part of the learning process. The personal stories of students who have first hand experiences with poverty or racism, for example, are much more valuable than any statistics I could offer for illustrating these problems’ impact and the need to address them.
Sample feedback from former students:
Thank you so much for all of your help and understanding this entire course. I could not be happier with how you have helped improve my writing skills. Thanks again!
- email from a Criminology student
I really enjoyed how we could go over terms especially that were a little hazy in lecture. ... [Y]ou helped me understand the things I needed to by leading us there, but not always telling us the right answer. You let us find that ourselves.
- anonymous feedback from a Social Inequality student
Amy gave me the chance to excel and work independently. She allowed me to be creative and obtain hands-on experience in the research process. She was constantly available for input and troubleshooting and made me feel like I was a valuable part of her research.
- letter from an undergraduate RA
Teaching and Mentoring Experience
Graduate Student Instructors at the University of Michigan teach weekly discussion sections that are coordinated with larger lectures. Discussion sections complement the lecture material while allowing undergraduates to be exposed to new material as they develop a fuller understanding of course concepts and those concepts' relation to their daily lives.
I am the 2011-2012 recipient of the University of Michigan Sociology Department's Exceptional Graduate Student Instructor Award.
In Spring 2012, I obtained the University of Michigan Graduate Teacher Certificate, which is coordinated through Rackham Graduate School and the Center for Research on Learning and Teaching see: http://sitemaker.umich.edu/um.gtc/introduction_to_program
Courses for which I was a Graduate Student Instructor:
- Sociology 102 “Power Politics and Religion” (Fall 2011)
- Sociology 368 “Criminology” (Winter 2011)
- Sociology 102 “Social Inequality” (Fall 2010)
- Sociology 101 “Principles of Sociology” (Fall 2007)
- I was the immediate supervisor for 16 undergraduate students on both qualitative and quantitative RA work (2007-2011)
- I was a Graduate Student Mentor for 2 sociology Honors Students (2010-2012)
Altogether, I have instructed more than 300 undergraduate students at the University of Michigan. I also regularly mentor fellow graduate students in departmental workshops and reading groups.