I have extensive teaching experience at the college level spanning media and cultural studies, Asian American Studies, and gender and sexuality studies in seminar-style classes of 15, mid-size classes of 45+, as well as large lecture classes of 150+ with four TAs.
Most recently, I originated two courses as a Lecturer/Teaching Affiliate for the Center for Asian American Studies at the University of Texas at Austin: “Critical Approaches to Asian American Gender and Sexuality” (upper division, enrollment ~15) and “Introduction to Asian American Studies,” a lower-division survey class with enrollment of about 45, both in Fall 2015. I am proud to say my evaluations (attached) are ranked high to very high in all categories. The Gender and Sexuality course was an interdisciplinary deep-dive into intersectional work in Asian American Studies that involved queer theory, feminist theory, and critical race theory, spanning disciplines such as history, literature, media studies, sociology, and anthropology. This class culminated in a scaffolded, peer-reviewed major research paper. The Intro to Asian American Studies course was designed to acquaint students with fundamental tenets of Asian American history and politics as well as intersectional analysis of multiple facets of identity. There is a strong media studies/cultural studies analysis vein in all of the classes I teach. The syllabi for both classes were designed entirely by me.
I taught the lower-division large lecture class “Race, Ethnicity, and the Media” for the Department of Radio-TV-Film at UT twice, each time with approximately 150 students and four TAs. This class is an introduction to concepts such as the historical politics of racial representation, the social construction of race, critical media textual analysis, industry studies, and intersectionality. I piloted another original class at UT, “Mixed Race and the Media,” a seminar with an enrollment of 25 students and was writing-intensive. Additionally, I have TA’d classes throughout the field of media and cultural studies, film studies, and communications studies, such as: Communication, Technology and Society; Narrative Strategies; Communication and Ethnic Groups; Convergent Hollywood.
I have taken a college-level pedagogy course, “Supervised Teaching in Radio-TV-Film,” required at UT for any student wishing to teach on their own (the rank is labeled “Assistant Instructor,” even though it is the sole instructor of record position for the class). All of my classes incorporate an online class discussion or blog component, frequent small group work, and rotating student discussion leadership teams. Additionally, my classes often fulfill requirements such as “Writing Intensive” and “Cultural Diversity in the United States.”
In addition to the courses above, courses I am prepared to offer in the future are: “Communication and Technology,” “Digital Design Research,” “Queer Media Studies,” “Social Media Studies,” “Ethnographic and Qualitative Research Methods,” and special graduate topics classes such as “Affect Theory” and “Critical Race Theory.”
My teaching philosophy can be broken down into three main points:
1. “High expectations” of students can only be achieved through high clarity from the teacher.
Too often, teachers say they have blanket “high expectations” for their students. What I have learned from my time as a teacher at the University of Texas is that students can only rise to meet high expectations if those expectations are given with a high level of clarity and precision on the part of the professor. It is one thing to tell a group of students that they need to produce a discussion outline; it is quite another to model what a successful outline looks like, list the components upon which it will be graded, and give regular feedback to the class about those expectations and whether or not they are being met. In fact, if a teacher has “high expectations” but doesn’t communicate them to their students effectively, the opposite may happen, and students may feel disenfranchised or even slighted.
2. Conveying information is only 50% of being a successful professor.
My experience teaching has taught me that the ability to cogently communicate information is just one part of being a “good” professor. There is a whole other infrastructure that one needs to build and maintain in order to deliver a good class to one’s students: 1) Following through with what you say you will do; 2) Returning assignments in a timely manner; 3) Maintaining and sticking to stated schedules and deadlines; 4) Being a person whose demeanor is open rather than closed so students feel comfortable coming to you with concerns. The experience of college is a stressful one, especially for students who do not come from places of intuited systemic knowhow, from non-dominant cultural backgrounds, or different types of ability. Part of what makes a professor able to profess is to gain the trust and buy-in from one’s students.
3. For many students, written and small-group participation are easier, and safer, forms of class participation.
When I first started teaching at the college level, I valued in-class, extemporaneous spoken participation as more valuable than other forms of participation, and even viewed it as mandatory. As I have progressed through my teaching career, I have come to understand that this does not respect the diversity of students in my classrooms—students for whom English may not be the first language, or students whose very presence in the public space may put them at risk, such as transgender or queer students, for example. Instead of “expecting” students to speak up when they have something to say, I have changed my definition of participation to include multiple forums and venues, including online discussion spaces, and I have changed my rhetoric to explain that it is my job to help students articulate themselves in writing and in speaking and that half-formed thoughts are the norm rather than the exception. All of my classes have some sort of online discussion component, and I frequently assign in-class and out-of-class small group work, even in my large lecture classes. I have also observed that, frequently, the brightest students in the class may be the ones who are most scared to speak up. I am emphatic in my role as supporter rather than evaluator. This does not mean a lowering of standards; rather, it is an expansion in terms of how students can meet high standards of participation.