My teaching duties are split between undergraduate and graduate level classes. At the undergraduate level, I teach courses in International Human Rights, Genocide, Introduction to International Relations, Global Political Economy, International Security, and sub-Saharan African Politics. At the graduate level, I teach the MA and PhD foundational course in Research Design in Political Science, and the three-course international relations sequence that includes Theories of International Relations, International Political Economy, and International Security.
During my time as a professor, I have been committed to providing my students with a classroom experience that imparts the necessary skills needed for them to succeed, not just inside the political science classroom, but also across the curriculum and outside the classroom. In doing so, I have garnered multiple teaching, advising, and mentoring awards, including the Alan Bible Excellence in Teaching Award (College of Liberal Arts), Outstanding Undergraduate Research Mentor award (university level), two-time winner of the University Award for Outstanding Director and Advisor in Graduate Studies, and the Regents Award for Outstanding Director of Graduate Studies (system-wide).
In my teaching, I am committed to an inclusive experience for students that not only provides them with the appropriate spaces to voice their ideas, but also an approach that helps them shape those ideas into structured arguments that extend beyond just their world view. I know my students generally will not become professional political scientists, but the skills we use provide the basis for student success in many fields. I try to bring these principles and ideas into the classroom, pushing students to improve and to acquire much needed skills, but never asking them to do this without giving them the proper tools or assistance needed.
I also see my teaching as being an informative avenue for my research as well. Several research papers and projects have come out of my classroom experiences, and I have, since early in my career, published extensively with my undergraduate and graduate students. At the undergraduate level I have advised over 30 research projects with most of them receiving undergraduate research funding and resulting in presentations at conferences and publications.
In doing so, I recognize the idea that students learn differently. At the same time, I recognize that, every semester I walk into the classroom, my audience is not necessarily on the same skill level. Hence, my approach to teaching must address the variations amongst my students without being discouraging for students. As such, I have three principles that I adhere to when I teach: (1) engage students and keep their attention, (2) challenge them to think critically and analytically about the topic, not just passively listen to it or simply memorize a bunch of facts, and (3) give them the skills and techniques needed to succeed (not just in my courses) but across the curriculum.