Teaching

Receiving a four-year college degree once meant an all but guaranteed ticket to a future career with financial security. Obtaining a degree was meant to ensure competency and training for one’s lifetime career. I believe that the four-year degree granting institution now has a new role to play. Many college students complete their degrees without a secure future; many return to jobs that do not require a college degree; many continue on to graduate school. With this in mind, I believe it is the role of a college professor to provide experiences and skill development applicable to a wide array of possible future careers and lifestyles. By expanding organizational abilities, developing public speaking and critical thinking skills, and providing an environment wherein students can be engaged and inspired, college professors are not training future professionals, but the leaders and decision-makers of the next generation. In this way, educators should be concerned less with the development of specific skill sets and more with the ways in which students – as humans – learn to think for themselves and interact with one another.

My personal teaching philosophy is based on this understanding. I believe that the classroom environment should encourage dialogue, critical thinking, and the questioning of assumptions. This is especially true in my field, sociology, which requires that everyday experiences be viewed with a sociological imagination and that personal as well as structural aspects of everyday life be viewed through a sociological lens. Just as my own research attempts to incorporate political and economic considerations into the examination of environmental problems, my teaching philosophy is based on teaching students real life skills while also training them to think sociologically. My broad teaching goals include helping students to develop organizational, public speaking, and critical thinking skills while training them to re-examine their daily lives using sociological concepts.

I believe that my specific field requires a teaching philosophy that emphasizes critical thinking and communication skills. Thus, I work to incorporate time for discussion into even the largest classes I teach as well as providing other opportunities for students to criticize and communicate through both writing and speaking. My personal teaching philosophy is based on inspiring student involvement and developing independent thinking. I hope to help students develop a ‘tool kit’ based on capacities necessary in many potential careers – and indeed in life. This includes a focus on organization, speaking and writing, as well as being engaged and participating. I work to create class curricula that help students develop these abilities as I put into practice a personal teaching philosophy that corresponds with the role of the university in contemporary society.

At Michigan Tech, I regularly teach the undergraduate courses Introduction to Sociology, Science Technology and Society, Ethnographic Methods, and History of Social Thought, and have taught Social Inequality. At the graduate level, I regularly teach our seminar on social theory and our seminar on research design.

Courses and places I have taught in the past include:

Sociology 100: Introduction to Sociology, University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh, Interim 2009

Student Comments:

“One of the best teachers I’ve had.”

“I feel that you did a great job. You didn’t lecture or talk ‘at’ us, but ‘to’ us. It was refreshing.”

“It’s obvious to me that you are doing what you love. You are an amazing teacher!”

“I really enjoy the way you teach.”

“I think you did a great job and I learned a lot. I hope you continue to teach in the future.”

“You are one of the best teachers I’ve ever had. You explain things very clearly while still make it interesting.”

“I really enjoyed the way you taught this course. It was refreshing and I think the students in this course actually wanted to come to class and keep learning. I know I did.”

 

 

Sociology 334: Social Theory, The Colorado College, Fall 2010 (Blocks 1 and 2)

Co-Taught with Professor Jeff Livesay

Student Comments:

“Overall, I was really impressed with how well you taught on the block plan.”

“Chelsea’s attitude toward open discussion really helped during the lecture part of the class. Loved her idea about opening the class with a song every day. She led discussion groups well. She was very approachable, and easy to talk to. Chelsea was patient when concepts just weren’t getting through.”

“Chelsea you do a very good job of engaging with the class. Providing an array of learning environments helped me stay interested. Also you do a great job of translating the theorist into ‘vernacular.’ I think your ability to connect with the audience you teach and make the information relevant and digestible for us is a rare and valuable quality.”

“I very much enjoyed Chelsea as a professor. She was open, helpful and clear. She was very approachable and knowledgeable.”

“I thought that Chelsea really did a fantastic job. I thought that the way that she organized class, used visual aids, and led discussion were really great. I really thought that Chelsea was one of the best professors that I’ve had at CC.”

“I would say that one of your strongest qualities as a professor was your ability to succinctly explain very complex social theories in a way that simplified and applied them perfectly. Also, your lectures were very well organized.”

 

 

Sociology 100: Introduction to Sociology, University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh, Interim 2010

Number of students: 250

Student evaluations:

98% of students agreed or strongly agreed that:

-Instructor uses class time well

-This course is well organized

-Instructor is open to diverse opinions

-Overall, instructor is an effective teacher

90% or more of students agreed or strongly agreed that:

-Classroom instruction is presented clearly

-Grading procedures in this class are fair

-They learned a good deal from this course

-This course increased their interest in the subject

 

 

Methods of Sociological Inquiry, University of Wisconsin-Madison, Spring 2011

Student Comments:

“By far my favorite professor I’ve had at UW-Madison. Great class, I looked forward to going. Chelsea was always willing to help, and very good at explaining concepts.”

“Chelsea was upbeat, enthusiastic and made a required course interesting. I really enjoyed this course.”

“I really enjoyed this course, mostly because of how Chelsea taught it! The projects were interesting and helped me learn the material. Everything seemed meaningful, and Chelsea was awesome!”

“Chelsea was very welcoming and helpful. She always made herself available for consultation and cultivated a positive classroom environment.”

“Very good class. I really enjoyed doing the assignments. Chelsea was very helpful with any questions and if a conflict occurred she helped you out.”

“Chelsea made this course fun and interesting. She was very open and flexible and allowed us to be creative. Without Chelsea as our professor, I predict this  class would not have been so awesome.”

“Chelsea was a great teacher, very helpful. I would be delighted to take another class from this instructor.”

“This course was fun and educational. Chelsea is a great professor. I loved this class.”