Brief employment history
I have taught for a little over a decade as a university instructor. During this time I have taught at three different universities, the University of Pennsylvania, Temple University, and LaSalle University. While my appointments at each institution have been in their Sociology Departments, I have also taught in programs related to my research such as Asian American Studies, Asian Studies,American Studies, and Women’s Studies, and have developed courses that have been cross-listed between these programs as well as Urban Studies and History. I have taught courses that are core courses of university liberal arts curriculum as well as upper level courses regularly offered by departments and programs.
Curriculum development experience
I have valuable experience in curriculum development. I have developed two courses that are now regularly offered at the University of Pennsylvania, Ethnic Economies and Globalization and Immigrant Urban Labor in the U.S. I also have experience working with undergraduate chairs and program directors to propose new courses, certifying courses to meet university requirements, and collaborating with academic and student programming. For example, at Temple University I applied for a course I regularly teach, Asian Diaspora, to be re-certified to meet new writing intensive requirements and at the University of Pennsylvania, I had the two aforementioned courses certified to meet the cultural diversity in the U.S. sector requirement. In the process, I have become familiar with how individual courses are part of larger departmental and programmatic curriculum planning as well as with university rubrics for evaluating proposed courses, certifications, and curriculum design.
Incorporation of technology
In an effort to encourage students to use educational technology, I have successfully incorporated technology into my course design. One way is by having students use university on-line resources for taking multiple-choice exams, submitting essay assignments and research papers, and conducting research. Another is by sponsoring skype guest lectures, a process that involves collaborating with faculty technology support services. My students, many of whom have never seen a skype lecture, have found them technologically fascinating while simultaneously enjoying the opportunity to see experts give in-depth lectures about course topics. I have been invited by the director of Instructional Technology at the University of Pennsylvania to participate in the symposium “Engaging Students Through Technology” to share with other faculty my experience incorporating skype lectures, including the logistics and student responses.
I design my courses with three goals: 1) introduce students to major scholars and themes in the field as it relates to the specific course topic; 2) further develop students’ confidence as intellectuals and thinkers; and 3) further develop students’ practical skills and increase their employability. Regarding students as intellectuals and thinkers, I promote a classroom environment and design assignments that encourage students to read primary and secondary texts, patiently engage the texts and one another so as to develop their understanding of the authors’ arguments, and encourage them to formulate a position about the material. Final assignments, such as research papers, tend to incorporate themes of the class and require a certain number of texts from the reading schedule so that students produce a final assignment that builds upon their effort and understanding of course material developed throughout the semester. On the path to the final assignments or final exams (often take-home exams), students have grown accustomed to working in small groups in class to discuss material, a practice that helps students develop a collegial rapport with one another and engage in the practice of discussing ideas rather than seeing “doing schoolwork” as a solitary endeavor only involving them and their computers at home. They have also grown accustomed to having a lot of class discussion about the material and in the process, practicing the skill of unpacking material through dialogue.
Regarding the development of practical skills and increasing employability, students are introduced to analytical practices that help them read and write about texts and also become familiar with data sources. For example, when relevant, students write short data analysis reports that are useful for developing skills applicable to careers in academia, research, policy, consultation, and community advocacy. Many students have found working on these reports helpful for sharpening their ability to interpret descriptive statistics and identify data patterns. They also become familiar with major data sets, such as those provided by the U.S. Census Bureau, the Department of Homeland Security, and the Department of Labor, thus becoming better prepared to engage in current policy debates, read research articles and policy briefs, and understand the relationship between data and theory. Students have found the data analysis papers useful as they easily serve as concise writing samples to be included in portfolios for employment and graduate school applications. Further, I draw from my applied sociology experience that involved working for a community non-profit dedicated to organizing immigrant youth to address their housing and work conditions as well as serving as a business consultant to both internationally operating small firms and start-ups among low-income nascent entrepreneurs. In this vein, along with having students read noted scholars and major publications in the field, I incorporate policy briefs, reports from government agencies, and sources from community activists into our reading schedule so that students are familiar with a broad range of relevant literature and career options. I also discuss the relevance of the scholarship and data to my related work experiences and career prospects for students.