My teaching philosophy is based on a passionate belief in the transformative power of critical thinking at both a personal and social level. I aim to create pedagogy that is engaged, challenging, and supportive of student learning. While much of my work models for students a critical encounter with theoretical paradigms as contemporary real-world tool of social engagement, I actually follow a very ancient Platonic model of teaching and learning: PAIDEIA--education in the Platonic sense--is not the filling up of an empty vessel but rather a mentoring and modeling of “turning the soul around,” a reorienting of the person in unfamiliar and critical ways of seeing.
Grounded in classical humanities & philosophy but encountering the texts and practices of contemporary postmodern culture, my classes aim to teach traditional texts in unfamiliar ways and engage the subjects of popular culture using the methodological tools of traditional inquiry. I offer a supportive learning environment that integrates theory with everyday practice and includes popular culture & critical studies alongside philosophical methodologies. These tools open a classroom space where education becomes “the practice of freedom,” which, according to bell hooks, is the means by which men and women deal critically and creatively with reality and discover how to participate in the transformation of their world. Student evaluations call my courses "life-changing, rigorous, passionate, and inspirational.".
In 2017, I was honored with the Columbia College Chicago Excellence in Teaching Award. At Columbia, I teach courses in the Humanities and Cultural Studies, with emphasis on curricula in Philosophy and the Media & Popular Culture Studies concentration of our major. I have extensive expertise in Thesis supervision and the pedagogy of Undergraduate Research, with a decade of experience designing and delivering our Cultural Studies Research Capstone Thesis course sequence.
I teach classes--such as Philosophical Issues in Film, Food & Culture, Critiquing Children's Culture, Introduction to Cultural Studies, Introduction to Philosophy, and Postmodernism & Posthumanism--that integrate close reading, textual analysis, critical inquiry, visual literacy, interdisciplinarity, and ethical inquiry to create a learning experience that challenges students and that matters in everyday life. My classes integrate Humanities texts and methodologies with special attention to the context of arts and media production & consumption, utilizing multimedia, learning management systems and digital communication. I model passionate inquiry so that students can experience the ways that knowledge is empowering and joyful.
As Associate Professor of Philosophy at Carthage College, I designed and taught courses in Philosophy as well as the Heritage Studies program in Cultural Studies. At Carthage, I developed an extensive new Philosophy curriculum in Aesthetics, Philosophy of Art, Philosophy of Literature, Feminism, and African-American Philosophy, among others. I also developed January session specialty courses such as Ethnic Chicago and Body & Culture.Prior to completion of my Doctorate in Philosophy, I was a Lecturer in Philosophy and in Political Science at DePaul University (Chicago) and Philosophy at Loyola University Chicago. As a Visiting Fulbright Professor at Jagiellonian University in Krakow, Poland, I taught courses to the diverse international student body (undergraduate and graduate) in the Institute of American Studies and Polish Diaspora .