My Approach to Teaching and Learning
The teacher-scholar model actively engages students in research, knowledge production, and critical reflection. This process utilizes the tension between teaching and research to challenge students to go beyond the basic concepts to advance their knowledge and understanding of current trends within the discipline. In my courses, students learn that the beginning of research involves asking the right questions. I guide them to the appropriate research methods and outcomes. In this way, we teach students the different types of theories, methodologies (qualitative and quantitative), and policy implications of the research. Students take from this a practical guide to the efficacy of research and the importance of such research in dealing with real-world problems. The pedagogical approach is one where research is central to the learning process. This research starts with requiring each student to ask critically-reflective questions based on the assigned readings. During the first half of the semester, I take these questions and provide current research. In this way, I teach students the value of asking relevant questions and how analysis can be used to answer these questions. During the second half of the semester, the students ask critically-reflective questions and conduct their own scholarly research. In both instances, the relevant research becomes the basis of class discussions.
My Teacher-Scholar Journey
As a sociologist, I focus on how society, social behavior, institutions, norms, and culture pattern social relationships and interactions daily. As a teacher-scholar, I actively engage my students in research, knowledge production, and critical reflection. My pedagogical approach utilizes the tension between teaching and research to challenge students to go beyond simply regurgitating concepts, theories, and ideas. It requires students to critically reflect and analyze, using sociological theories, methods, and research to examine and understand social structure and individual agency. Students become active participants in engaged learning as they challenge their own and the discipline’s assumptions. I have designed and taught sociology courses from introduction to critical race and ethnic relations to social justice, movements, and human rights. I have used engaged learning to challenge students to excel. I received the Mid-American Conference Outstanding Faculty Award for Student Success in 2022. The questions and research deriving from these classes have informed my scholarship, resulting in over 80 publications in peer-reviewed journals, special issues, and books. My co-authored textbook is used in over 60 universities. I have edited four special issues and volumes that use critical inquiry to examine contemporary race and ethnic relations. Critical inquiry and engaged pedagogy within my classes have also led to 72 peer-reviewed publications that have won awards from the Association of Black Sociologists, the American Sociological Association, The Society for the Study of Social Problems, and Sociologist without Borders. I have received the University’s Distinguished Teaching Award and CAS Distinguished Teaching Award.
Knowledge is Power
“Miami University encourages excellence in its students and its faculty. It is a place where the teacher-scholar model becomes how we foster critical inquiry and maximize student achievement. At Miami, it is not through indoctrination and memorization but student engagement and scholarship by which learning is accomplished.”
Ph.D. and M.A. The University of Chicago
M.A. University of Illinois
B.A. Southern Illinois University
More About Me
I am a public sociologist engaged in critical race, social justice, social movements, social policy, and practice. I have conducted bias training with police, educators, and corporate leaders. My work also engages local communities, corporations, and Miami University to establish pathways to progress for underrepresented students in STEM, business, and law.