Teaching Portfolio

Teaching Statement

I have over ten years of experience teaching at undergraduate institutions ranging from community colleges to public land grant institutions, and I have started supervising and mentoring graduate students as editorial assistants with the JPE. During my ten years of teaching experience, I have developed the following strategies and methods in order to achieve the following five aims: 1) to teach my students and mentees to become virtuous adults, 2) to help my students and mentees develop skills that will allow my students and mentees to accomplish what they need to accomplish in order to succeed in the world, 3) to impart knowledge of philosophy, 4) to develop in my students the ability and desire to think critically, and 5) to empower my students and mentees to achieve what they desire. Given that academic cultures vary from institution to institution, I typically use a dynamic, experimental approach in order to fulfill my aims, at least, during my first two years at a given institution.

As both a teacher and mentor, I make an effort to understand the unique needs and desires of each of my students and mentees in order to help them figure out what might be best for them and how they might achieve it (although I will note that my effort to do so is significantly dependent on the amount of time that I can reasonably spend with each of my students or mentees, as determined by such things as course enrollment caps and the necessities of practical life). I also offer students some general advice as to how they might succeed in my class or in their chosen endeavors, and when further help is sought I make an effort to understand the student’s or mentee’s difficulties, and attempt to work with them in order to help them overcome these difficulties. Yet I firmly hold that each student and mentee is ultimately responsible for their own education and professional development. I provide each student and mentee with information, methods, and encouragement but it is up to them to learn and apply these lessons.

As a teacher, I begin each semester with the assumption of mutual trust and respect. I trust that my students will be virtuous students, and I respect their status as adults. I also convey to my students that as students in my class they constitute a learning community. As such, they are encouraged to help themselves and each other. I also introduce challenging course material that is intended to provide students with a firm foundation of philosophy if they decide to continue to pursue philosophy in the future. For example, in my Introduction to Ethics course at St. Mary’s College of Maryland, I introduced students to Hume’s An Inquiry Concerning the Principles of Morals, Kant’s Groundings for the Metaphysics of Morals, Mill’s Utilitarianism, and Nietzsche’s On the Genealogy of Morals. During class, I employ a Socratic method of teaching that seeks to teach students through their own experiences, along with the use of diagrams or outlines, in order to draw out various concepts and organize them in a way that will allow my students to understand that these concepts are not beyond their reach.

 I use a variety of assignments and testing methods, including assigned readings, on-line discussions, student led presentations and discussions, short paper or blog post assignments, exams (e.g., multiple right answer and multiple choice exams), take home papers, new media assignments (e.g., online blog posts and 3-D printer game design), or game play (e.g., “Real World” Monopoly), in order to reinforce what they learned and to encourage them to see how my lessons are applicable to their practical lives. I also provide my students with detailed instructions and clear grading rubrics in order to make them aware of the extent to which their grades are in their hands, and that they can improve upon them if they choose to do so.

 Finally, I seek to continue my professional development as a teacher by taking advantage of the various resources that are offered by my home institution, and I endeavor to incorporate my current research findings into my teachings.

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(Lecture audio files, course handouts, etc.) 

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Hinudism

Philosophy of Sex
(YouTube video I use for class)


History of Modern Philosophy/Mind

(YouTube video I use for class)

(YouTube video I use for class)