Teaching Portfolio

Teaching Philosophy

I premise my teaching on three things: close reading, digital literacy, and community engagement.

In teaching close reading I act as a conduit for the unique contribution of literary studies to the academic humanities. Close reading is a common enough goal for many university-level courses, showing up often alongside things like critical thinking. But my approach to this method invites students to take additional time unpacking and reflecting on the cognitive tasks close reading entails. I ask my students to pay attention to specific details, synthesize those details into relationships, and then build meaningful claims out of them. I apply these principles across Twitter discussions, collaborative projects, and formal essay writing, reinforcing them in each assignment. Conscious and intentional close reading is the most important skill I invest in my students.

By encouraging students to be mindful of details, I lay the groundwork for the next premise of my teaching: digital literacy. In my courses, I define digital literacy as ability to recognize, assess, and apply information encountered on digital platforms. As my courses increasingly erode boundaries between traditional modalities like “face-to-face” and “online,” I orient my instructional strategies around the vigilant commitment to rational inquiry and truth-seeking in an age of unprecedented access to information. In digital spaces, the traditional gatekeeping agents of peer review, editorial oversight, and institutional endorsement fall away. This level of access to information is wondrous, but it highlights all the more clearly how important teaching digital literacy is to the education students receive as undergraduates.

The third premise of my teaching is an investment in community engagement. In my face-to-face courses, this means a commitment to deep listening – made by my students, as well as myself – practiced in discussions, in collaborative work, and at the various stages of formal writing. As an educator, this communal listening practice allows me to use my classroom as a vehicle for recognizing the fundamental humanity of our communities, especially as that humanity is inflected by reading imaginative literature. I apply the same principle to my online courses, where the patience required of deep listening is increasingly challenged. I encourage students to recognize the layers of mediation that try separate them from their digital selves, and find opportunities to make themselves more present in their online networks.

By focusing on the details, practicing responsible digital literacy, and investing themselves in building thoughtful and empathetic communities, students emerge from my courses better equipped to make sense of the world around them. Whether it’s plays of Shakespeare or the lyrics of Swift (Taylor, that is), I invite my students to attend their world closely and interpret the cultural products that surround them.

Course Syllabi

Imaginative Literature and Critical Writing

Introduction to Western European Literature II

Introduction to Women’s Literature

Literature in English 1945-Present

Masterpieces of British Literature

Modern and Contemporary Literature

Shakespeare For Non-Majors

Topics in Genre: Comic Books and Graphic Novels

Topics in Popular Culture: Fandom in the Digital Age