. . . the classroom, with all its limitations, remains a location of possibility. In that field of possibility we have the opportunity to labor for freedom, to demand of ourselves and our comrades, an openness of mind and heart that allows us to face reality even as we collectively imagine ways to move beyond boundaries, to transgress.
— bell hooks

My philosophy of teaching is influenced by critical pedagogies (e.g., Paolo Freire, bell hooks, Henry Giroux). My teaching efforts are centered on structuring critical pedagogy in multicultural, multiracial and multiethnic classrooms. A primary pedagogical objective for me is to facilitate critical literacy among my students. This involves scaffolding the learning process in ways that students begin to deconstruct the social structures in which they are positioned.


COURSES TAUGHT/DEVELOPED

Everyday Peace: Community-based Approaches to Peace and Peacebuilding

This course introduces students to a range of issues in community-based approaches to everyday conflict and peacebuilding.  Premised on the idea that peace cannot be understood or studied in isolation of other social processes, the course will allow students to collectively engage with key conceptual and methodological issues in peacebuilding. Drawing from community-based and critical perspectives in the social sciences, we will build on the notion of 'everyday peace', that is, building community capacities and promoting social justice as an antidote to the normalized and endemic violence in society. The course is framed by participatory action research approaches. 

Qualitative Methods

This graduate course introduces students to qualitative research in psychology and allied social sciences. Qualitative research aims to understand complex human problems in their natural settings. Its multi-method focus is geared towards building a nuanced understanding of structures, processes, and perspectives that shape both human behavior and social processes. We will survey the following broad areas in qualitative research: history and development; major approaches (e.g., narrative research, ethnography, action research); data collection strategies (e.g., interviewing, focus groups, participant observation, visual methods); analytic approaches and quality criteria; and ethical and representational issues. Particular emphasis will be on using qualitative research as a vehicle for promoting social justice and social change.

Advanced Community Dynamics

This graduate level course examines the =principles that influence community structure, function, and evolution over time. Students will learn how community patterns and activities can best be understood and how community problems and concerns can best be addressed, employing psychological and other conceptual frameworks and perspectives. How do we do community-based research and action that critically engages and tries to address various forms of inequality and oppression? How do we do so through meaningful and sustained engagement with communities? What does it mean to work “alongside” communities as co-researchers and co-learners? These are some of the big questions that we will explore in this course. The course will build upon the foundations of community psychology to focus on the dynamics of inequality and oppression on one hand and social justice on the other. In particular, course materials will center the perspectives, experiences, and analysis of historically underrepresented and marginalized groups in conceptualizing social change. 

Culture and Psychology

This upper level undergraduate course provides an analysis of the impact of culture, socio-historical, and social influences on psychological processes and outcomes. Students will also learn about techniques for studying the influence of culture including cross-cultural methods and population-specific methods. Through careful analysis of research literature, this class will examine a variety of contexts within the U.S. and internationally. Topics will include identity development, immigration, acculturation, socialization, and social interactions among groups. The course is informed by critical race theory, postcolonial theories, critical indigenous theories, and intersectional theories.

Understanding and Preventing Youth Violence in our Communities

Youth violence continues to be a major public health concern in the United States. Preventing youth violence is an important component of creating peaceful and safe neighborhoods and fair and just communities. In this upper level undergraduate course, we will use ecological perspectives to understand the different types of youth violence, the contexts in which they occur, and intervention strategies to address the violence. Topics will include: violence in schools, gang violence, electronic media aggression, human rights, and structural violence. Emphasis will be placed on understanding the current state of youth violence, special considerations in researching youth violence, evaluating current programs and practices, and envisioning future directions for policy and research. 

Introduction to Community Social Psychology

This graduate seminar introduces the history and contemporary trends of community and social psychology. Informed by a social justice orientation, this course will focus on how social and environmental forces affect individual and group quality of life. We will survey the history, core values, guiding principles, and orienting concepts of community psychology along with their applications in contemporary social problems. Critical thinking will be an important component of the course. Critical thinking is defined by a willingness to respectfully engage new ideas and questions. Among the questions we will ask are the following: What does it mean to be ecologically mindful in understanding social problems? Why is it so important to consider issues from multiple perspectives? How are social inequities at the intersections of race, gender, class, caste, religion, nationality, ethnicity and so on implicated in social problems? How do we engage and work with communities to effect social change? To what extent and how can we engage in social transformations?

Community Psychology

This course introduces the history and contemporary trends of community and social psychology. Informed by a social justice orientation, this course will focus on how social and environmental forces affect individual and group quality of life. We will survey the history, core values, guiding principles, and orienting concepts of community psychology along with their applications in contemporary social problems. Critical thinking will be an important component of the course. Critical thinking is defined by a willingness to respectfully engage new ideas and questions. Among the questions we will ask are the following: What does it mean to be ecologically mindful in understanding social problems? Why is it so important to consider issues from multiple perspectives? How are social inequities at the intersections of race, gender, class, caste, religion, nationality, ethnicity and so on implicated in social problems? How do we engage and work with communities to effect social change? To what extent and how can we engage in social transformations?

Diversity Seminar

This seminar, designed for faculty and graduate students of the Clinical/Community Psychology Division is an essential forum where participants can learn about and express their ideas on a variety of topics that are typically underrepresented in other settings and that tend to focus on the under-empowered.  Diversity Seminar has a clear educational component but it is also a unique opportunity to reflect on and share diversity matters that affect our personal and professional lives. This forum supports diversity, not only in terms of ways of being, but also in terms of ways of knowing. Furthermore, categories of difference are not always fixed and can be fluid. We hope to continue the exploration of these differences in a safe, positive and nurturing environment.