At Florida Atlantic University, I teach a variety of undergraduate and graduate courses that engage students with U.S. and international history. My goals as an educator are to help students make connections with the past and between big concepts and ideas. I teach them not only to understand the subject matter, but also to become historians in their own right who are capable of conducting historical research, exercising information literacy, writing clearly and persuasively, thinking critically, marshaling evidence to support their scholarly interpretations, and becoming lifelong learners.
My teaching philosophy is guided by three main beliefs. The first is that teaching students to acquire and develop analytic, writing, and historical thinking skills is central to my mission as an educator. In every course, I encourage students’ curiosity, and I push students to think and write like historians. I work to create an environment in which we work together to ask and answer big questions about the past, as well as find meaning in the human experience. My second core principle is my commitment to historical diversity. I emphasize this diversity by introducing students to a wide variety of historical actors, historical viewpoints, and scholarly interpretations, and I incorporate an international perspective into all of my courses. Finally, I believe that students learn best when they engage in hands-on activities and enjoy the learning process. I earned my B.A. in history from Vassar College, whose History Department was founded by Lucy Maynard Salmon in the late 19th century. Salmon pioneered the use of seminar-style courses with undergraduates and always encouraged students to “go to the source.” I seek to follow Salmon’s example by having my students “do” history as much as possible and in a variety of ways, including conducting primary source and archival research and participating in debates and historical role-playing games.
The highly diverse groups of students who take my courses arrive with different levels of experience and learning styles, so I have developed a multifaceted teaching methodology and varied assignments that help my students acquire historical skills and develop a love of history. My courses are highly enrolled and receive consistently strong positive evaluations by my students and colleagues.