Teaching Philosophy

The goal of higher education is to equip students with the critical thinking skills necessary to be socially conscious, engaged global citizens. In teaching, I aim to educate students about human cultural diversity. As a result, my approach to teaching emphasizes:

  1. Fostering critical thinking skills, such as problem solving, analyzing evidence, and marshalling evidence to construct and critique arguments.
  2. Challenging students to link course concepts beyond the classroom, through community-engaged learning and personal reflection.
  3. Developing the skills necessary to engage as independent scholars with diverse communities in a global society, such as writing ability, visual and oral presentation, and working collaboratively.

As a teacher, I meets these goals through archaeological inquiry and a focus on how material culture structures human interactions in both the past and present.


Previously taught as instructor of record:

Principles of Archaeology. Designed Course. This course introduces students to the theoretical and methodological approaches archaeologists use to study the past.

Landscapes: People, Place, and the Past. Designed Course. This course explores the role of place and space in archaeological research. Focusing on historic landscapes in upstate New York, students gain hands on experience collecting, analyzing, and interpreting regional-scale data addressing key anthropological questions.

Analytical Methods in Archaeology. Designed Course. This upper level course engages students in all steps of the archaeological research design process, from developing research questions and testable hypotheses, to collecting and analyzing new data in the field and laboratory.

Archaeology of Death. Designed Course. This course explores mortuary practices through the archaeological record and what they can tell us about ritual, social, economic, and ideological institutions in the past.

Stuff: Materiality and Inequality. Co-Designed Course. In keeping with the history
of U.S. four-field anthropology, it examines the social origins of inequality through the lenses of material culture and technologies of production, labor and social structure, and hierarchy.

Human Ancestors. Designed Course. This course explores human evolution from a biocultural perspective with an emphasis on human diversity in the past and present.

Archaeology of Migration. This course explores the social, organizational, and environmental consequences of migration in the past.

Persistent Questions of the Past. Archaeologists have an opportunity, even a responsibility, to address big topics such as political change, food security, climate change, economic inequality, and societal collapse and resiliency. Paired with the Winslow Series in Archaeology, this course addresses a persistent question of the study of the past.

Archaeology Field Course. This immersive course provides students training in archaeological field methods, research design, and collaboration. Fieldwork is conducted in Ashe County, North Carolina.

The Archaeology of Bling. Designed Course. This course explores the dynamic roles material culture signaling played in the evolution of human societies, connecting the present and the past.

Archaeology as Advocacy. Designed Course. This community-based learning course examines how archaeology and heritage are employed in modern political discourse, connecting students with community partners in Transylvania, Romania, to explore how archaeology can be used as an advocacy tool for threatened mining communities.

Time and Culture in the Northwest. Designed Course. This course examines social change in prehistoric and early historic Northwest United States, with a particular focus on the environment and indigenous identity.

Our Primate Heritage. Designed Course. This general education course explores science and human evolution through the lens of human variation and primate diversity. This course has a lab component that engages students and develops transferable skills through collaborative hands-on activities including osteological analyses, qualitative and quantitative data collection, and writing scientific reports.

Biology, Technology, and Culture. Designed Course. This upper-level course explores the biocultural consequences of major technological and social innovations throughout human evolution.