teaching + mentoring philosophy

Vibrant green foliage on many mountains partially obscured by fog.

While introducing students to unfamiliar content is undoubtedly part of teaching college writing, I position the classroom as a site for connecting ideas, experiences, and knowledge that have been previously unlinked. Students are not blank slates, and our classrooms are not the last bastion of academic expression; rather, students have a host of experiences to offer and our classrooms should be dynamic spaces where everyone might share their experiences through writing.

During my time in college classrooms, I've been privileged to work with undergraduate students in a variety of fields (engineering, pre-medical, computer science, computer graphics technology, graphic design, professional writing, and beyond) and graduate students in a number of different programs within English departments, including creative writing and literature. Though my approaches vary according to level and class, three elements stay the same: public writing and community engagement projects, the use of digital tools and emergent research, and opportunities for collaboration and peer mentorship.

Ultimately, my pedagogical approach encourages students to identify and interrogate the confusing, often messy spaces in their lives in meaningful ways—whether it’s their current educational institution, their hometown communities, their professional fields, or some other space—so that they can uncover previously unseen connections. These connections can then serve as points of entry, guidance, and support as students navigate unpredictable situations with success.

I believe that this approach has resulted in, most importantly, student success, but has also been affirmed by teaching awards and honors. I have received recognition for my teaching at programmatic, departmental, and university levels, including receiving a Purdue University Teaching Academy Graduate Teaching Award for Spring 2018, which is awarded annually (awards ceremony photo at top of this page).

Click here to download a full version of my teaching and mentoring philosophy.