Philosophy of Teaching

Yoda Thinking

Teaching is essential to my identity as a professor. Teaching is also a central responsibility for scholars, particularly in an age when people invest tens of thousands of dollars in higher education. I pour tremendous energy into teaching and often leave the classroom physically exhausted and exhilarated.

I try to teach the kinds of courses that I loved as a student: challenging and rigorous, creative and engaging. Clichéd as it is, the axiom “teach how to think, not what to think” guides my teaching. I seek to impart knowledge about politics and public policy, but also to help students think scientifically about the political phenomena that they observe and experience. I invite students to consider, question, and evaluate the material that we study.

My courses are demanding because I believe that high standards inspire excellence. Experience has borne out this belief, and I’m gratified to see many of my former students thriving in their professional lives. The feedback of these alumni, not end-of-semester teaching evaluations, is my standard of performance.