Teaching statement

I am a firm believer in the vital role that an education in the social sciences plays in producing more knowledgeable and involved citizens. A university education offers a tremendous opportunity to engage with a broad community of scholarship, while providing techniques in how to consume large amounts of information and present ideas in a compelling manner. To that end, the central function of a university should be to teach students to think and write analytically – skills that are vital to virtually every field of modern employment.

I regard the classroom as a forum for introducing big ideas concerning the nature and dilemmas of international politics: Was NATO right to engage in military operations in Libya, and what implications does this hold? Should the UN Security Council be expanded to include emerging powers, and if so, how? Such topics have real policy implications in addition to their pedagogic value, and I endeavour to make students aware of the various ways in which they can apply their intellectual skills beyond the classroom. Lecture and discussions employ works of scholarship as lenses for evaluating developments in global politics. In this effort I want to involve students in their educational experience, and employ participatory learning techniques including small group activities, online discussions, and simulations extensively in my classes.

University courses are also opportunities to cultivate scholarly writing skills, emphasizing the ability to translate ideas into concise and engaging prose. Assignments are designed to challenge students to write creatively and effectively in a variety of formats, from informal blog posts and short critical responses to policy briefs and formal research papers. Through these exercises students are encouraged to cultivate a critical appraisal of the value of academic research in helping us understand events in the world around us, by relating theory to practice and vice-versa.

Finally, I possess a strong commitment, at all levels of teaching, to creative engagement and equity in the classroom. I strive improve the means for students to participate both inside and outside of the formal lecture or seminar setting.

My teaching interests are directly informed by my scholarly research, and fall broadly in the areas of international relations theory, international organizations and governance, international law (especially the laws of war and international criminal law), and disarmament.