Teaching Philosophy

1. Foster an inclusive and welcome environment

I aim to promote diversity, equity, and inclusion in courses, to foster a sense of belongingness across all students, faculty, staff, and visitors across my institution. Higher education is entrenched in racism, colonialism, sexism, ableism, etc. that has created a highly exclusive system. However, academia relies on diverse perspectives from individuals from all backgrounds and experiences to create a thriving space. While I cannot personally relate to every individual’s experience, I use my role as a mentor, educator, and researcher to advocate for a paradigm shift that promotes a more diverse, equitable, and inclusive system (Davies, … Bove, et al. 2021).

2. Active and hands-on learning

My teaching philosophy creates strong educational foundations through participation in meaningful scientific research and acquisition of transferable skills through practical, active learning environments. In both my small and large classes, I implement a wide range of pedagogical tools, including traditional lectures, student presentations, discussion of current scientific literature, and question-based research experiences in both the lab and the field experiences. This teaching approach reaches a variety of learning styles and provides students hands-on experience that encourages them to think critically about course material in a way that makes them more competitive for future careers in science and beyond. I adapt my teaching approaches based on the individual needs of my students and courses to support the success of my students.

3. Alternative student assessment

I assess student learning through alternative assessment approaches that encourage students to explore learning in new ways that rewards creativity and improvement, rather than fact memorization. For example, I incorporate Ungrading techniques in my courses where I decenter traditional grading schemes and instead assess student learning through peer-assessment, self-assessment, and portfolios. These forms of assessment reduce stress and anxiety in students to meet certain thresholds and rewards improvement and skill mastery that works towards creating a more equitable and fair classroom (Blum 2020). Additionally, I implement Unessays in my courses to assess overall understanding of materials that gives students the option between a traditional paper or another outlet to tap into students’ learning modalities. These pedagogical approaches nurture inquiry, cultivates a meaningful learning experience, and encourage students to evaluate their own learning and improvement throughout a course and demonstrate learning in the way that best represents their understanding of material.

Current Teaching

For a current list of courses offered in Biology or Marine Science at Ursinus College, please review their respective web pages.

BIO-101Q Issues in Ecology and Evolution – offered every fall semester. I alternate between teaching the lecture and lab component for this course

BIO/ENVS-330 Marine Biology – offered every spring semester. This is a lecture-only course that includes several required day-long field trips.

BIO/ENVS 375 Marine Invertebrate Zoology – offered every other spring semester. Includes a lecture and a lab component that features a semester-long team experiment and extensive hands-on learning opportunities.

BIO/ENVS-415W Ecology – offered every fall semester. Course includes both a lecture and a lab, and satisfies BIO capstone requirement.

Past Courses and Materials

I have taught a variety of courses across Biology, Ecology, and Environmental Sciences. These courses have included traditional lectures, small-group discussions, laboratory sessions, and international field courses. (* denotes courses that were taught in hybrid format due to COVID-19) 

Boston University 

Biology of Global Change*: Instructor of Record (1 semester; 100 students in 5 lab sections)

Download the lecture syllabus here and lab syllabus here. You can also access the teaching R tutorial on my Github (here) and I would be happy to send along the other lab assignment materials!

Readings in Biology: Instructor of Record (1 semester)

Human/System Physiology Lab*: Postdoctoral Associate Lecturer (3 semester; 10 sections) 

UNC Chapel Hill

Conservation Biology: Teaching Assistant (1 semester) 

Ecology and Evolution: Teaching Assistant (1 summer semester) 

Coral Reef Ecology + Management: Teaching Assistant (1 semester)

Introduction to Environment and Society: Lead Teaching Assistant (3 semester; 6 sections) 

Introduction to Environment and Society: Teaching Assistant (3 semester; 7 sections)