Learning | Teaching | Growing
I am a student of philosophy. I love being in academia because I love to learn. I am motivated by the exchange of ideas, and some of my greatest joys come from watching my students grow as adults discovering their role in life from lessons in the classroom. I have over six (6) years of teaching experience at the university or tertiary level. I hold a certificate in university teaching from Syracuse University. I have taught in philosophy at the University of the West Indies, African American Studies at Syracuse University, as well as Public Relations and Mass Communication at the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications at Syracuse University.
I am currently writing my dissertation on the effects of the 2016 US Presidential Debates and the election campaigns, with the goal of finishing and defending my work in the Spring of 2018. My current topic of focus is political communication.
I have worked with various non-profits over the past three years in the fields of issue-advocacy and political engagement. I am currently a board member of the Popular Culture Association and American Culture Association. I have also engaged in policy implementation work, sitting on several advisory boards of the Syracuse University Chancellor and Provost, aimed at short-term and long-term action plans.
About this site
This site stands as my virtual portfolio and includes my teaching philosophy, reflections, academic and professional history, and a summary of my teaching experience.
I have approximately six years of experience assisting in the teaching of young and mature adults in higher-education. I have two years of individual teaching experience. I have learned a lot about teaching and working with students of diverse backgrounds. My scope of work is located primarily at the undergraduate level, working with students pursuing a Bachelor’s degree. I have limited experience working with students at the graduate level as well as pre-college. Assisting in the education of university students has motivated me to pursue a career as a professor/lecturer in academia, in a bid to continue to impart knowledge and motivate students’ intellectual capabilities.
My teaching experience spans several disciplines, which I believe reinforces and supplements my capabilities as a professor. It illustrates a strong history of teaching at this level, and my own diversity of knowledge, I’ve had the opportunity to teach a cross-section of students and have learned the importance of formulating discussion and activities that speak to all students. I’ve learned to be inclusive in my discussion, and seek to craft my lessons to the interests and identities of members of the class. Moreover, I’ve learned to reinforce learning goals of critical-thinking skill building and diversity into my teaching structure.
I have experience dealing with plagiarism, having encountered it several times before. I have learned through training and experience how to address these issues appropriately. I hold a strong position on plagiarism and academic integrity. I have had the opportunity to speak about it in several forums, and have actively participated in forums and discussion regarding its policy and procedures. I recommend students to use tools made available to them to check their work.
I have a passion for knowledge and teaching. In working with professors in various departments and across various institutions, I have foster teaching skills and support my endeavours. I believe teaching is a quintessential skill, and teachers are vital to the development of the society. I hope to accumulate more experience in pedagogy to share with others.
I think therefore I am
I learn therefore I teach.
Learning is a lived experience
The best way to learn is through experience. My parents often warned me that if I do not heed what I’ve been told and learn from other people’s experience, then I will learn the hard way. In a caution against danger, this is a parable or lesson that I heed. However, within the classroom, I believe the alternative is best because we tend to retain that which we can relate to. In this light, I believe that learning is a lived experience. Students can learn skills through practice and reflection, and as a core part of any discipline developing critical thinking skills is essential. Motivating students to adopt these ideas both inside and outside the classroom means that I, as an instructor, can aid in their holistic development as students.
While I recognize that freshmen courses, for example, are basic introductory level curricula, I believe that these are also foundational courses and as such primary skill building should begin here. Students learn by reasoning about the facts or arguments, and in my sections, I challenge students to go beyond the idea of regurgitating information. Similarly, building a knowledge-base goes beyond any single discipline, as a methodological framework I tend to incorporate a multi-disciplinary approach to appeal to the students varied scholarly disciplines and cultural backgrounds. This is aimed at illustrating a variety of ideas with similar goals and exposes students to alternatives they would not have considered. Additionally, as academia moves to incorporate a multi-disciplinary approach to scholarship, I hope to translate these ideas into a budding generation of scholars and practitioners.
As a scholar and educator, I strive to balance my own objectives with my students’. Knowing what my students aim to gain from taking a course is essential to meeting the needs of the students who aim to develop their marketability as well as their intellectual capacity. I am a firm believer in the concept that it is not what the degree can do for you, but what you do with your degree. My primary objective in preparing students for life beyond the course is to understand this notion.
Students have often commented that their main purpose for coming to university is to get a good job, and humanities courses or majors do not lead to a professional track. I believe that students should be both cognizant of their scholarly goals and take the time to develop these goals while pursuing my course and their degree. Students, who are conscious of their goals, their place, their experience, and themselves, understand both the implications and significance of what they are learning.
By creating a safe environment within the classroom for students to share ideas, raise questions, and interrogate the facts/arguments, I can facilitate a better learning experience. Building trust early for students to connect with the matter(s) at hand is quintessential to guiding students to receive the information. Through my experience in teaching African American studies courses, I have learned why this approach is significant. The courses are open to a diverse population and are about African American history, which is sensitive and brutal. Preparing students to acknowledge and have a lived, or re-lived an experience requires both a safe environment and a consciousness of self and others. Learning in this sense is similarly a shared experience.
There also exists the challenge of getting students to buy into this concept. I recognize that not all my students have this shared goal, and I strive to accommodate all my students as best as possible. Diversity in the classroom is multifaceted and includes different learning and physical ability, identities and cultures. I commend universities that seek to accommodate diversity, and its incorporation and inclusion is a philosophy that guides my facilitation. In the past, I have garnered a rapport with student’s translators and assistance to learning, as well as with physically challenged individuals. I have a history of working with the disability community. I have also garnered training in cross-cultural communication, to aid in working with students of diverse backgrounds.
I believe that learning goes both ways in the classroom, and as I strive to teach and facilitate students’ learning experience, I also learn from my interactions with them. My overall teaching philosophy stems from my experience as both a student and a teacher/facilitator for over six years. I hope to be able to continuously support my students in their pursuits, and aid in moulding them to their fullest potential. In doing so, I hold steadfast to these basic ideas, that ‘learning is a lived experiences’, and that ‘it’s not what the degree can do for you, but what you do with your degree’.
I started teaching in my second semester of the Masters of Philosophy program at the University of the West Indies, in Spring 2009. I was assigned to manage all three (3) sections of the “Recent Philosophy II” course, which is a final-year course that consist mainly majors and two sections of “Introduction to Ethics and Applied Ethics”, which is a first-year course. The basic structure of these courses included two hours of lecture and one hour of tutorial. Tutorials were centered on discussion questions that students would present on, for a grade. Additionally, students had to produce one short paper of no more than 2,500 words, for which I was the first grader and a final exam. This structure applied to most the humanities courses at the University of the West Indies. On average, I managed a range of 20 to 140 students, depending on the course. During my tenure, I lectured several sessions with over 100 students and managed many small groups with the average size of 20. In my first semester, I graded approximately 100 essays over two weeks. With a good teaching record and having consecutive years of experience, I was assigned my own courses in 2011 and 2012.
At Syracuse University in the fall of 2012, I was assigned two discussion sections for the course “Introduction to African American Studies”, which is a first-year course. The basic structure of courses at Syracuse University consists of one main lecture for 1 hour and 20 minutes, and one recitation or discussion section for 1 hour and 20 minutes. Students would sit a mid-term and a final exam, and produce short assignments not usually more than two pages long. On average, I managed 60 – 70 students in this course. In my section semester, I assisted in the instruction of “Creative Writing (in the African American tradition)”, a course which was limited to 25 students. There were continuous writing assignments, and I was tasked with creating content for the class.
After completing my Master’s degree in Pan African Studies, I began a new program in Communication at the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communication, a professional media school at Syracuse University. Having a strong history of teaching and having achieved my university teaching certification, I was eligible to be an instructor. I was assigned a one-credit, five-week diversity course “Women in the News” in the fall of 2015, and in the spring of 2016 I taught “Ethics of Advocacy” to public relations students. Most recently, I assisted in the teaching of a graduate course in public relations writing.
I have worked with professors from various disciplines, and have had the opportunity to work in both the American and Anglophone Caribbean education models. I have also had to deal with issues of diversity and cross-cultural interactions.
A brief overview of the course I have taught in the past, at the higher education level
PRL 604 - Writing for News and Public Relations in a Digital Age
Summer 2017 - Graduate course for public relations students
The mastery of grammar, punctuation, form, and style are essential skills for public relations practitioners. They must be good writers and excellent communicators, understanding the dynamics of messaging and their audience. PRL 604 is a course that provides graduate students with the challenge of learning the tools of the public relations trade. Students learn to consider the journalist's perspective of content-seeking, as well as the nuances of asking the right questions and having the key answers.
Students go through the process of creating a complete media kit for "mock event" that would be rationally sponsored by a real company and non-profit organization. Working together in teams, they produce a news conference and through this process engage in the practices of research, communication planning, and strategic management. A mandatory three-credit academic course required for all public relations graduate, PRL 604 is a writing intensive six-week course, where students learn the rules and guidelines of the AP style guide for public relations practices. Students write a weekly blog in addition to AP style quizzes and various news releases and press kits.
PRL345 - The Ethics of Advocacy
Spring 2016 - Junior Course for Public Relations major
PRL 345 is a three-credit course, with pre-requisites of "Principles of Public Relations" and "Introduction to Communication Theory". A mandatory elective for public relations upperclassmen, this course examines ethical communication approaches, the ethical problems in communication management. Through the examination of various cases, students learn the impact of decision-making on the organization, publics and society. Students also study the legal considerations that result and learn leadership and traits encouraging for moral development and reasoning.
Key course goals students should understand and apply include:
COM344 - Diversity: Women in the News
Fall 2015 - Junior Course for Public Relations major
This course seeks to engage the interest of diversity and inclusion as it regards women and the news. It examines how the news process, production, and product are shaped by identity, hegemony, and stereotype. As such there are five primary learning objectives:
AAS112 - Introduction to African American Studies
Fall 2012, Fall 2013 & Spring 2014 - Freshman course for African American studies majors and elective for freshmen
This course serves as an introduction to the field of African American Studies. It approaches the study of the African American experience, antecedents from African past, and special problems. Through historical and sociopolitical materials, students are introduced to the diverse nature of this multidisciplinary field.
In the fall semester, this course is taught by a sociology professor where students examine the field through an investigation on foodways, and the resulting culture of the African diaspora within the United States of America. Students should be able to identify nations of the African diaspora and chronicle the foodways that exist because of migration.
In the spring semester, this course is taught by a history professor where students examine the “Black experience” of the United States of America. The course specifically emphasizes the lives of black people and the quest for freedom. It examines the diverse issues related to culture that exists, via a historical trajectory.
AAS338 - Creative Writing
Spring 2013 - Elective for Juniors and Seniors
This course is a poetry and prose workshop. Students are exposed to techniques of craftsmanship, use of mediation to expand the visionary experience, and aesthetic sensibilities that involve African American culture. This is a writing intensive course and students chronicle their experience within the course to cultivate this learned skill. Illustrations and techniques are drawn from the African, African American and Afro-Caribbean cultural expressions, with a view to exposing students to alternative forms of artistic productivity.
Area of Concentration
Disciplines that I have worked in, and am interested in focusing my future work.
Critical Cultural Theory
Media and Politics
19th and 20th Century Philosophy
Classical American Philosophy
Latin America and the Caribbean
Things I've picked up over the years
NVivo, SPSS, SAS, PQMethods
Adobe Creative Suites
Photoshop, Illustrator & InDesign
Word, Excel, Publisher
Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, LinkedIN
Media Management Software
Sysomos, Hootsuite, TV eyes, Salesforce
Final Cut Pro, Premier Pro, Audacity
Most Recent POSITION
Currently, I'm working to finish my dissertation, and as such am not actively teaching or assisting with any researcher.
S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications at Syracuse University
May 2015 – August 2017
Worked with Dr. Rochelle Ford, Dr. Hua Jiang, and David Ballard on a Benchmark study regarding Diversity and Inclusion in the Public Relations Industry. http://www.instituteforpr.org/three-actions-enhance-diversity-inclusion-di-recruitment-retention-pr-talent/
Worked with Adam Peruta on research regarding alumni donations and social-media engagement.
Worked with Maria Russell on overview of Public Relations education in the United States.
Worked with Dr. Rochelle Ford regarding organizational diversity and inclusion training.
Worked with Dr. Makana Chock on research regarding the 2016 United States Presidential Election.
S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications at Syracuse University
July 2017 – Aug 2017 (Summer 2017)
Works Presented & Published