Pedagogy and Training

I am a recipient of the Political Studies Association’s Sir Bernard Crick Prize for Outstanding Teaching in 2021. I have been nominated by the EUSA teaching awards numerous times for my teaching, specifically in the categories of Outstanding Commitment to Liberation in the Curriculum (shortlisted), Best Course, Course of the Year, Teacher of the Year, and  Supervisor of the Year.

My pedagogy is dedicated to fostering an environment in which students engage actively in critical analysis of their everyday lives in order to gain a better understanding of diverse opinions. My activities encourage students to challenge their existing ideologies and develop skills to synthesize complex arguments. For example, in a Model UN debate in my Gender and Politics class, students were assigned to advocate incorporating suffrage extension to immigrants as a form of democratic indicator. Encouraged to link their own political participation experiences with suffrage and citizenship, students formulated comprehensive arguments to question the conventional conceptualization of democracy. In arguing the other side, students demonstrated their ability to think beyond their own ideology. This exercise also enabled them to reflect on their own privileges and apply them to their understanding of the political process. In the same class where gender stereotypes in electoral politics were discussed, students applied their classroom education in critiquing existing political campaigns. Students created unconventional campaigns in which candidates’ abilities to lead were emphasized, instead of having their qualities highlighted based on traditional notions of gender.

Diversity is another key element in my teaching philosophy and I was recently recognized as an Emerging Diversity Scholar by the University of Michigan. In my Introduction to Women’s Studies class at Penn State and other classes I have taught at universities in China and Cambodia, I bring in diverse perspectives to help students extend analyses of the readings and current events into comprehensive issues. During these discussions, we examine the ways in which individuals’ experiences are associated with the varying aspects of social structures and political institutions. To make this process work, I create a learning environment where diverse perspectives are welcome and mutual respect is the rule. Through the discussions from multiple viewpoints, I witness students’ developments in their skills in presenting information and synthesizing complex arguments using logic and facts and in searching for connections and relevance on their surroundings. Most importantly, I observe that students have transformed from seeing individual struggles as personal issues to understanding the influence of social constructs.

I strive to motivate students to make informed judgments as they go on to become active and accountable members of the community. As an educator, I will continue to improve my strategies of stimulating students’ learning, bringing in diverse insights to their lived experiences, and helping them develop critical thinking skills in evaluating the political processes that will remain with them long after they leave my class.

Additional Training in Teaching

I hold online teaching and residential certificates. I also regularly participated in the feminist pedagogy workshop run by the Department of Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies at Penn State, as well as the Teaching Circles at Smith College and Newcastle University.

Certificate in Advanced Studies in Academic Practice: Module Design and Supporting Learning, Newcastle University, 2018

This provides a critical, structured contemporary approach to designing modules, and similar units of student learning on non-modular schemes. We review and develop relevant values, skills and approaches to contemporary Higher Education (HE) learning, teaching and student support, including module design, the supervision of research students, and personal tutoring.

MDSL provides a structured opportunity to gain evidence appropriate to seeking recognition at Descriptor 2 of the UK Professional Standards Framework (Fellowship of the Higher Education Academy) and all those successfully completing will be recommended for recognition as Fellows of the HE Academy by Newcastle University’s Single Recognition Panel.

The Schreyer Institute for Teaching Excellence Course in College Teaching, The Pennsylvania State University, spring 2015

This highly successful eight-week course combines the best elements of a collaborative learning environment with those of a seminar on pedagogy. Readings from the current literature on teaching and learning, and facilitation by instructors from the Schreyer Institute’s experienced staff, prepare participants to design and implement both practical and reflective instructional activities in the form of “Certificate Assignments.” Rigorous group discussion and peer review serve to assess effective aspects of assignments and identify areas in need of redesign. The impact of the course is evident in the number of participants who intend to implement new teaching practices as a result of taking the course.

Course in Online Teaching, Outreach and Online Education, The Pennsylvania State University, fall 2015 

The Graduate Online Teaching Certificate combines an online course and other activities to provide instructors with a solid foundation to practice effective online teaching. It is designed as a basic starting point to embark on the Faculty Development Learning Map. Activities focus on discussion management, assessment techniques, developing learning activities, reflective practice, and planning for future development and community building.

New Instructor Orientation, the Schreyer Institute for Teaching Excellence, The Pennsylvania State University, spring 2015

The purpose of the New Instructor Orientation workshop is to provide faculty with a brief introduction to Penn State resources and processes crucial to good teaching and planning.