The same commitment to queer inquiry on behalf of social justice that propels my research also inspires my teaching. I have honed my pedagogy through my teaching endeavors, advisement of undergraduate, and collaborative research, lecturing in both large courses and smaller seminars in a liberal arts environment. Within the classroom, I employ a conversational lecture style and use small and large group discussions in order to encourage students to learn not only from me, but also from one another. My pedagogical philosophy engages students with a practice-oriented approach to academic exploration. Inspired by the interdisciplinary, critical approaches central to American Studies, this method of teaching encourages students to apply theoretical concepts to everyday urban issues, cutting-edge technologies, and scholarly debates and papers in the actual practice of research. I have advanced my thinking about the roles in which writing and technology can function to foster collaboration and further understanding, as tools for learning rather than as answers in and off themselves. In the classroom, online, and in their everyday lives, my students learn to work individually and collaboratively to develop their technology and writing skills in order to become critically engaged citizens of the world.
In each of my courses, I incorporate critical queer theories, methods, and approaches essential to a robust education. Alongside the Digital City course mentioned in my cover letter, I have been tasked with creating a core course for the new Digital Initiative at X College. In my course Digital Societies, students work in groups of interrelated interests and then individually scrape data on a social justice hashtag of their choice, including topics such as #hashtag1, #hashtag2, #hashtag3, and #hashtag4. The curriculum I developed bridges cutting‐edge debates on topics such as privacy and surveillance to processes of gathering, cleaning, and organizing social media data. I and my co-instructor then guide students to produce data visualizations in applying spatial, statistical, and network analysis software to their data. Students draw upon critical theoretical approaches to new media and society and individual research on their topic to develop arguments from their graphs and maps. For the outcomes of the students’ work, see [URL]. Previously, I taught [course title] with the [Center] at the CUNY Graduate Center. Over 230 online students from four continents and 55 in-person students engaged with core and cutting-edge work on LGBTQ studies; many students remarked that our in-class conversations inspired them to begin or extend artistic, political, and academic projects. Drawing on these experiences, I recently published on this practice of queering the pedagogical binary of in person and online teaching [URL]. Students from both of these courses write often to share that they have used concepts, tools, and methods learned in our studies together, in their jobs and research after graduation, as well as internships, course work, and research on campus.
In all of my teaching endeavors, I have demonstrated effectiveness in my teaching evaluations, and students often seek me out as a mentor. My overall instructor rating of 4.7/5 in the Digital Societies course at X College demonstrates my ability to be a strong educator. Students described my lectures as “interesting, exciting, innovative,” and found me to be “knowledgeable,” “extremely approachable,” and “genuinely engaged” with the material. Students also wrote that I “challenged” them while supporting a learning environment where “technical concepts accessible to everyone.” One student wrote, “I was exposed to new ideas and information that helped me to see what it is that I truly love and want to study. I have developed more skills in this course than any other at X.” I would eagerly continue this level of teaching at Y where I would be especially excited to foster the growth of tomorrow’s leaders.
As an advisor and mentor to my students throughout my teaching career, I have offered support, instruction, and advice on theses, projects, curriculum, and career options. I oversee a number of independent projects at X, ranging from tracing the evolution of debates around immigration reform on Twitter to the design of participatory interfaces for online queer mapping websites.
Students also reach out to partner with me on publications to extend my research as well as their own. I am already collaborating with two students on two papers—in preparation for Surveillance & Society and Interface—that will contribute to queer theorizing of the spaces of social media, and the particular ways nationalism plays out in virtual spaces. At Y, I would hope to continue to work collaboratively with students, and to develop partnerships with faculty colleagues as well.
Commitment to the Community
My pedagogy also extends to my commitment to producing and sharing knowledge throughout the university. I play a key role in feminist academic organizations such as the [Working Group] on Women specialty group of the [Professional Society]; this spring I am leading an international hackathon to update the [Title] Bibliography [URL]. This collaboration will allow a technology upgrade that affords greater interactivity between users, while increasing the language and geographic diversity of the included citations. I have also contributed to workshops on grant writing and proposal development for my colleagues and students, drawing on my years of proven ability to secure funding. I would eagerly continue these practices at Y, where I seek to be a member of an academic community that fosters both student growth and social change for the better.
To conclude, whether in small classes or large, I am dedicated to bringing the insights of queer thinking to students’ lived experience. I feel confident that my teaching accords with Y College’s mission to forge connections between liberal education and democracy and will complement the existing strengths of your department.