My approach to teaching and advising is rooted in five core principles.
(1) I believe that most learning occurs when students are challenged and that good education creates clear and high expectations for individual work, while providing students the support needed to meet those expectations.
(2) I believe that this individual growth most readily occurs when students engage with ideas that are stimulating to them and to which they feel personally connected. This connection can be supported by providing opportunities for students to conduct independent work that allows them to engage with the subject matter they feel most excited about.
(3) Though students sometimes bring their own excitement to the classroom, I believe that excitement is often created by the dynamic presentation of big-picture ideas. Thus, engaged and well-prepared lectures are core to my approach.
(4) Though lectures and independent work are important to building students’ enthusiasm, I also believe that different students engage with ideas in different ways. Some students learn through practice, others through discussion, and others through reflection. I believe that the structure of courses and lab groups needs to be flexible and dynamic to meet the needs of individual students.
(5) Finally, all ideas have a historical and political context that needs to be understood to evaluate and critique the ideas. I thus focus my teaching around presenting the details of scientific concepts as well as their broader context.