I am an instructor at Trent University. In English and in Cultural Studies, I teach several courses, including critical world building, literature and globalization (online), graphic fiction, and science fiction. I have taught at The University of Alberta, the Memorial University of Newfoundland, and at Queen’s University.
Please find my teaching and mentoring philosophy and courses taught (syllabi included) below.
Teaching and Mentoring Philosophy
I am a third-generation settler and a third-generation university student. Though raised by a single parent, I have appreciated the opportunities afforded by a reliable home life and the social disposition for academic study. My mother went to graduate school when my sister and I were both still in grade school; I have come to appreciate the challenges she overcame to do so. My experience situates me as both an insider to the realm of academia and as someone who understands some of the challenges facing first-generation students and students who have complex lives and competing responsibilities.
Representation matters on syllabi and in the classroom. I support diversity in the student body by teaching works by people of colour and Indigenous authors that address a range of sexualities and genders: recent examples include comics (Bitch Planet, The Outside Circle, Skim), film (Born in Flames, Crumbs, Pride), music (Hamilton: An American Musical), and novels (The Fifth Season, The Left Hand of Darkness). Showing that I am an ally as well as an instructor produces an environment where students can be seen for who they are and take risks.
Teaching and learning are about joining an intellectual community that strives to overcome personal and collective barriers in thought and action. My goal is to encourage the critical thinking skills that will enable students to address their specific learning needs, study in a collaborative environment, and take on social challenges. To empower students to make unanticipated connections, I have required them to present research in configurations besides the individual (i.e. collective annotated bibliographies), produce mediums other than the written word (i.e. comics-format essays), and submit genres other than the essay (i.e. the manifesto).
Clearly identified expectations, of students and instructors, greatly facilitate learning. Such communication proves vital when delivering team-taught courses with graduate teaching assistants (GTAs). Affording GTAs the opportunity to lead seminars and to lecture provides a doubled learning opportunity: students in the courses have a model for making claims and discussing subject material, and GTAs refine their own approaches to teaching and learning from the instructor’s side of the classroom. Building research capacity and mentoring students of all levels involves teaching and learning at every stage, for each participant.
At all levels, students deserve to be treated as if they are reliable and ready to learn. Students who need support ought to be included in a way that meets their needs. The art of cooperation has the potential to lead to unexpected ideas and new collaborations both inside and outside of the classroom. I am a learner who has struggled with dyslexia; I am empathetic to students in need of access to resources for learning with different abilities. More than compelling materials and engaging lectures, education requires a holistic community of learning to foster a new generation of undergraduate, graduate, and postdoctoral scholars.
I taught the following courses since 2010 at the University of Alberta, Queen’s University, and Trent University. They have been organized by course level. The syllabi are linked through the course title.
- 80s Apocalypse
- Comparative 1848s
- Alter-History, Catastrophe, and Utopia
- Literary Analysis
- Visions of the Future