My teaching style is motivated by an interest in building bridges across contextual, personal, and collective experiences. I believe that the best way to understand political and social dynamics is by connecting broad contexts to daily personal experiences, so as to inspire curiosity and empathy. Curiosity motivates students to engage with their peers and course content often times beyond class requirements. This creates opportunities for researching and building skills to shape critical thinking. Besides curiosity, I also consider empathy important to build an ethics of care and community bonds. These two cornerstones of my teaching philosophy underscore knowledge and education as individual and social endeavors. In the classroom, I foster an environment of exploration and integrative learning to allow students to engage with course materials welcoming diversity and collaborative engagement. With this approach, curiosity and empathy allow taking an active stand against barriers to access and equity in education, while contributing in the formation of excelling professionals and community members.
As lecturer and teaching assistant, I have achieved this through integrative learning strategies and a flipped classroom approach. When teaching, I give short lectures based on readings that I expect students to do before class. In class, I limit my interventions to short amounts of time to set a discussion guideline, welcome active participation, and engage with students. Additionally, I provide handouts to my students, which they work on individually or collaboratively depending on the topic and on logistical feasibility. The handout activities are followed by small-group discussions and illustrative application of concepts. These activities allow addressing systematic biases against access, equity, and participation, while motivating peer interactions based on diversity. This strategy has proven to be successful, particularly in small classes, in helping students to achieve their academic goals, foster- ing respectful discussions, and educating critical thinkers. When teaching bigger courses, I give greater emphasis to active participation in lecture over integrative learning. Also, I rely more on take-home assignments that balance structured skill-building activities and learning.
I have worked as teaching assistant and lecturer in both the U.S. and Colombia. In the University of Wisconsin– Madison, I served as teaching assistant for three undergraduate- level courses: Politics Around the World (PS 120, Fall 2018 and Spring 2019), Research Methods (PS 170, Spring 2018), and Introduction to International Studies (IS 101, Fall 2017). I also acted as a lecturer (student assistant position) for Politics Around the World for the summer terms of 2019 and 2020. Additionally, while in Colombia, I served as lecturer for four undergraduate-level courses on research methods, international relations, and public management in different universities. Original documents and more information on my teaching experience are available upon request.
I would welcome the opportunity to build on my experience teaching introductory courses to comparative politics and international relations, as well as research methods. I would also welcome the opportunity to teach courses on the political economy of development and Latin American politics at both the undergraduate and graduate level.
Combating issues of access, equity, and diversity are at the forefront of my teaching philosophy. Recognizing intersectionality, I strive for empowering students in their learning process and leveling the playing field. I have addressed this by asking about special accommodations, concerns, language barriers, and expectations on the course on the first day of class. Furthermore, recognizing general in-classroom dynamics shaped by systemic biases, I moderate discussions and motivate participation creating a welcoming environment for all. I also moderate open discussions with clear participation rules to address inequality in the classroom.
Additionally, I ask and encourage students from day one to respect and acknowledgement different life experiences, opinions, and argumentative styles when engaging with their peers. To further level the playing field, considering that access to education does not guarantee no-attrition, I make myself available for one-on-one advising. Inspired by great mentors that I have had throughout my personal educational experience, I aim at recreating the safe spaces I had the opportunity to enjoy to pursue an academic career in order to encourage my students and provide them the tools they need to achieve their academic and professional goals.
Syllabus and Handouts
University of Wisconsin-Madison (Lecturer-SA and TA)
Introduction to International Studies