Teaching philosophy and courses taught

In my classes I use an active and experiential learning approach in which students directly engage with complex problems. This pedagogical technique creates an engaging classroom environment that cultivates critical thinking and results in effective skills training. A combination of group work, peer-reviewed projects, and games activate student-centered learning

Digital tools are a necessity for teaching students to connect their knowledge with wider audiences. In my Foundations in International Studies class, I use ArcGIS Story Maps to teach students visual analysis and narrative flow. In my Geopolitics class, I use Perusall to promote collaborative analysis of primary documents, such as works of US colonialism. In my Global China class, students create podcasts in which they synthesize news sources with expert interviews and VoxPops.

I also assign fieldwork-based papers, in which students scrutinize urban places to reveal their culture and power asymmetries. Students consult with their classmates to select one of three qualitative research methods appropriate to their selected research topic. Students have mapped the defensive design of a Whole Foods’ parking lot, interviewed hookah bar managers to reveal the bars’ roles as networking hubs for transnational Arab men, and studied sound management in open office environments.

I have taught the following introductory and specialized courses in the fields of political, cultural, and urban geography as well as topics in East Asia in universities in Massachusetts, California, and Colorado:

Foundations in International Studies

Global China and the Belt and Road Initiative

Geopolitics and Political Geography

Contested Borders between Security and Migration

World Regional Geography

Uneven Development Geographies

People and the Earth’s Ecosystems

Geography of Contemporary China

Cultural Geography

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