Ph.D. Child Development, University of Minnesota
Institute of Child Development
51 E River Rd
I have been a member of the teaching faculty since the fall of 2012. Recently, I have taught undergraduate courses in research methods (intensive writing), adolescent development and introductory child psychology. I also teach a graduate seminar in the teaching of child psychology and I oversee the graduate student teaching apprentices.
Prior to teaching at the University of Minnesota, I was employed from 2002-2012 as a lecturer in the Department of Psychology at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, where I taught undergraduate courses in theoretical statistics, practical and applied statistics, developmental research methods laboratory, introductory child psychology, infant development, behavioral science for medical students, and adolescent development. I also assisted Dr. Sandy Goss-Lucus and Dr. Lisa Travis in teaching a graduate-level workshop on teaching.
As an instructor, my goal is to pique the interest of my students, awaken in them a thirst for knowledge in the subject matter, and to help them engage in their learning process. In large part, like my graduate school teaching mentors the late Drs. Herbert L. Pick, Jr. and Allen Burton, the theories of the developmental psychologist Lev Vygotsky form the fundamental framework of my teaching principles. Like Vygotsky, I believe that each of my students is an individual who likes to learn in his or her own way. As an instructor, I have seen that some of my students prefer an environment in which I present facts and the results of researcher’s empirical work in psychology. I have found that other, equally bright students, prefer the course material is shared in small discussion groups, through peer interaction, by debating me, or by listening to me playing "devil's advocate" until they are forced to respond. Because of the diversity I find in the classroom, I incorporate numerous teaching and assessment strategies in my classroom to maximize the learning and the enthusiasm for the subject matter for all of the students I teach. Another Vygotskian concept, the zone of proximal development (ZPD), asserts that the potential for learning is, in theory, limitless. In practice, of course, learning is highly constrained by a student’s interactions with more competent peers and instructors. For this reason, I encourage actively learning projects and facilitate high-quality group projects and I model the processes involved in acquiring critical thinking skills.
While in graduate school, I became interested in the qualities of highly effective instructors. Initially as part of my research interest in perception, action, and kinesiology and then in the service of being a better instructor, I collected data regarding the traits that gifted teachers of sport, music, and other motor skills possessed. From that research, I learned that some of these traits—the desire to scaffold development in a manner appropriate to individual learning styles, a passion to share one’s own thirst for mastery with one’s student, and the knowledge that even teachers could learn from students and other teachers —were also true of the best instructors I had in college and graduate school. I thought of all the highly effective instructors I had met, been taught by, and interviewed and sought to incorporate the traits that made them memorable teachers. It is also this knowledge, gained through my own teaching experience, I wish to pass along to the graduate students who attend the teaching seminar I facilitate at the Institute of Child Development.
Teaching, Instructional support
Perception and Action
Language and Cognition
CPSY 2301 - Introduction to Child Development
CPSY 3308W - Research Methods in Child Development-Intensive Writing
CPSY 4303 - Adolescent Development
CPSY 8321/8322 - Teaching Seminar in Child Development
Vice Provost Award for Undergraduate Education, Special Mention, 2002
Psi Chi Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching Award, 2008
Mabel Kirkpatrick Hohenboken Teaching Enhancement Award 2008
Outstanding Research Award, Office of LGBT Resources, 2009