I am committed to higher education because it is a medium for self-empowerment and social progress. Intellectual development can strengthen bonds between people, resolve dilemmas in personal and public life, and promote peace and understanding. Mary Wollstonecraft maintains that education has the unique power to strengthen a society by strengthening its people. As an educator, I find this empowering. I can play a small role in shaping the world by shaping my students into confident, competent, autonomous thinkers who love and value learning. By establishing intellectual camaraderie in my classes––through debates, dialogue, peer workshops, and discussion boards, for example––I hope to foster values of tolerance, empathy, self-awareness, and community-building in my students.
Literature has the inherent ability to instill these core social values. It imparts the words, wit, and wisdom of past minds to present readers. Henry David Thoreau describes good literature as the "treasured wealth of the world and the fit inheritance of generations and nations." The noble writer "speaks to the intellect and heart of mankind, to all in any age who can understand him." With my expertise in literature, writing, and pedagogy, I compel my students to join this privileged group of those who understand great literature. This first requires struggling through the fundamentals of critical reading and thinking. In my composition and literature courses, I commence the semester by modeling active reading techniques such as annotating and highlighting. Teaching students how to properly read––how to take organizational, content, response, and connection notes and how to pose critical questions––is paramount! I reinforce this learning objective by requiring students to annotate every single assigned text all semester long. The striking improvement in students' reading comprehension and written work are well worth the time I dedicate to continuously assessing their annotations.
Once students have the cognitive skills to break down and understand literature, they can understand the principal questions and dilemmas that confront mankind. I design my lectures and facilitate our class discussions so that students grapple with these issues together. They practice how to constructively engage in political and philosophical dialogue, so they can confidently contribute to these conversations outside of the classroom. As autonomous readers and thinkers, they can synthesize others' ideas with their own, and they can begin to forge their unique intellectual identities. Ultimately, my goal as an educator and proponent for liberal education is to empower students to contemplate their notion of the good life and how they wish to pursue it. Through our rigorous coursework, challenging readings, and rich dialogues, I strive to inspire students to set out on their individual paths to enlightenment and lifelong learning.
F.L.A.M.E. (Furthering Learning as Meaningful Education) Certificate Faculty Leadership in Teaching Program, Roosevelt University, May 2013
S.P.A.R.K. (Seeking, Participating In, and Retaining Knowledge) Certificate Faculty Leadership in Teaching Program, Roosevelt University, Dec. 2010
M.A. in American & British Literature, Northern Illinois University, May 2007 Certificate of Graduate Study in Women's Studies Internship in Teaching First-Year Composition
B.A. in English, Northern Illinois University, Dec. 2004 Minor in Women's Studies
Previous Teaching Experience
Tenured Assistant Professor & Department Chair, Richard J. Daley College, Jan. 2009–May 2014
Adjunct Instructor, Kishwaukee Community College, Aug. 2007–Dec. 2008
Adjunct Instructor, Waubonsee Community College, Aug. 2007–Dec. 2007
Teaching Intern, Northern Illinois University, Aug. 2006–May 2007
American Association for Women in Community Colleges Modern Language Association