My Teaching Philosophy
My goal is to provide a learning environment that allows students to safely question their own and others assumptions about knowledge, knowledge generation and experience. A fundamental principle of my teaching is to provide an environment where learners can be enthusiastically engaged with complex constructs and feel supported to grow as academics, clinicians and most importantly, as individuals. My goal for students is for them to be critical thinkers to the degree that they can take complex conceptual material and apply it in their everyday lives, clinical practice, and research. In my mind, enthusiasm and energy for the material being taught, is critical for effective teaching and for stimulating critical thinking. To foster critical thinking, I have found that the use of ‘case studies’ has been particularly helpful to stimulate thinking about sensitive concepts and to get learners to challenge their own and others assumptions about health, power and knowledge. I use similar applied-teaching approaches to instructing courses on research methods and statistics. Unfortunately, these courses are often perceived to be difficult by many learners. To address this issue, I believe it is important to provide the theoretical, philosophical, ontological and epistemological foundations of methods and statistics at the outset; and then, work through course material using applied examples relevant to the learners’ everyday life or discipline.
Equally important for fostering learner engagement is the ability to confidently utilize a variety of teaching methods. In my various instruction roles, I have used online learning platforms (Blackboard, WebCT, Avenue2Learn, CourseLink, LearnLink) and tools (e.g. Elluminate Live, Skype, Adobe Connect) to share lecture content, virtually meet with students, foster and monitor online asynchronous and synchronous discussion, and implement student evaluations. I regularly challenge myself to learn new applications that can be incorporated into my teaching. One such example is using PowToon to develop an animation video that welcomed students to the online course co-taught by myself and Dr. Susan Jack.
My classroom teaching has taken place in the context of undergraduate, graduate and professional-development settings. I receive regular requests to teach in qualitative and quantitative research methods, as well as mixed methods for health research and introductory and advanced-level statistics. I have instructed courses that range from six to 120 students. I am interested in teaching courses focused on qualitative and mixed methods research, child maltreatment, socio-cultural influences on child and adolescent mental health, evidence-based interventions in mental health, social work practice with children, adolescents and families, as well as introductory and advanced (e.g. multilevel regression modeling, structural equation modeling) statistics.
Insitution: McMaster University
Roles and Dates: Course Coordinator (Winter 2019)
Mixed Methods Research Designs for Health Services and Policy Research (Graduate-level course)
Institution: McMaster University
Role and Dates: Co-Instructed with Dr. Susan Jack (Spring 2016 & 2017)
Population and Public Health Research Methods (Graduate-level course)
Institution: McMaster University
Role and Dates: Seminar Lead with Dr. Laura Anderson (Winter 2016)
Institution: University of Guelph
Role and Dates: Sessional Instructor (Fall 2014)
I currently have MSc and PhD supervisory committee privileges within the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioural Neurosciences (MiNDS program) and the Department of Health Research Methods, Evidence and Impact (formerly Clinical Epidemiology and Biostatistics; Health Research Methodolody Program) at McMaster University.
I believe that student supervision represents an important and rewarding responsibility for those in the academy. I see myself as an approachable supervisor/mentor that is fair and firm in regard to expectations. I value clear and consistent communication between myself and trainees and I charge myself and trainess to regularly consider that integrity in teaching, scholarship, and life requires times of humble reflection, a tremendous amount of work, respect for self, respect for others, and flexibility. I welcome the opportunity to work with trainees who have an interest and background (undergraduate or graduate) in child and youth mental health, family violence (child maltreatment, intimate partner violence, child exposure to intimate partner violence), the implications of sex and gender in the experience of health, well-being and health service access, Indigenous youth well-being, the health and well-being of immigrant children and adolescents, and social work.