Teaching

In my teaching, I am motivated by my belief that both the content and the methods of philosophy have the potential to transform us into more thoughtful, engaged, reflective people and to improve our ability to interact meaningfully and genuinely with those around us. I want students to come away from their time in my class with better-developed abilities to understand the perspectives and motivations of those they disagree with; to express their own beliefs and experiences to others in a productive way; to think carefully and critically about new ideas; and to revise their beliefs if they find that they have good reason to do so.

Here are some teaching awards I've won and/or been nominated for:

  • UMass Amherst Distinguished Teaching Award, 2019-2020: Highly competitive, university-wide award honoring exemplary teaching at the highest institutional level at UMass Amherst. Students and alumni nominate instructors, undergraduate students complete initial reviews of all nominations, and then committees comprising of past DTA winners review nominations in a two-step process prior to selecting four faculty and two teaching assistant awardees.

  • Finalist for the UMass Amherst Distinguished Teaching Award, 2018-2019

  • Nominated for the UMass Amherst Distinguished Teaching Award, 2017-2018

  • The John Robison Prize for Excellence in Teaching, 2015-2016: An award given out every year by the philosophy department to a graduate student who displays exceptional teaching abilities.


Here is a list of courses I've taught

At the University of Vermont:

  • Agency and Responsibility (Spring 2020)

In this upper-level seminar, we're focusing on understanding the relationship between personal autonomy and agency, responsibility, and oppression. After starting with a survey of some of the most popular approaches to understanding personal autonomy and agency, we considered the degree to which they can help us understand some of the feminist "hard cases" having to do with gaslighting, oppressive socialization, and adaptive preferences. We then moved on to considering some feminist, relational theories of autonomy, and are now working toward an understanding of how oppression interacts with responsibility (e.g. Should the oppressed be blamed for contributing to oppression? Can we have responsibility/blameworthiness at the level of societies?).


  • Sexual Ethics (Spring 2020)

This is an intermediate level, discussion-based seminar that is cross listed with the Gender, Sexuality, and Women's Studies Department. We're addressing the following issues: sexual harassment and assault (what it is; the kind of socialization of people of all genders that makes it so common; why it can sometimes be difficult to detect; how we should respond to it when it is done to us or others), consent (what it is; why it is necessary but not sufficient for permissible sexual activity; how consensual sex can be harmful), and stigmatized sexuality (the stigmatization of the sexuality of women, fat people, people of color, and LGBTQ+ people; the virginity movement; violence against transgender people; sex work; sexual domination and submission; polyamory).


  • Introduction to Ethics (Spring 2020)

I am currently teaching two sections of this course, and we're addressing the following three categories of questions: 1) How to do moral philosophy (What is an argument? What makes something count as a reason for doing or believing something? How do we figure out how to weigh various moral considerations, like the value of making autonomous choices versus the value of increasing the quality of someone’s life? 2) The value of persons and the value of lives (Who counts as a person? Is it ever okay to kill animals? To commit assisted suicide? To have an abortion?) 3) Issues in social justice (What is racism? What is sexism? What is “rape culture”? How do we address these problems?)


At the University of Massachusetts Amherst:

  • Medical Ethics: Winter 2020 (online), Fall 2019 (RAP), Summer 2019 (online), Spring 2018, Fall 2017 (RAP), Fall 2016 (RAP)

This course is split into three main parts: the distribution of medical resources (implicit bias in physicians; distributing scarce medical resources; healthcare in the U.S.), defining persons and determining how we should treat them (paternalism; abortion; euthanasia; animal testing), and reproduction and the medicalization of the non-medical (genetic enhancement; wrongful life; disability; intersex babies; male circumcision; physicians' misunderstandings of female sexuality; how the medical world harms fat people).

I've taught this course as a standard, face-to-face course at UMass, and I've also taught it online and as part of the Residential Academic Program (RAP). RAP is a program that is meant to help freshmen students make the transition to college and get the most out of their time at UMass. The courses taught through this program include the same content that they do when taught outside of the program, but they also include activities and approaches to the material that teach study skills, familiarize students with the resources the UMass campus has available for students, and encourage students to work closely with their classmates.

The current syllabus and reading schedule are here.


  • Sexual Ethics: Fall 2019 (seminar), Spring 2019, Fall 2018 (seminar), Fall 2017 (seminar)

I've taught this as a standard UMass course and as a first-year seminar. First-year seminars are 1-credit seminars that all incoming freshmen are required to take in the fall of their first year at UMass. The seminars are meant not only to teach students on a topic of interest, but also to introduce them to and prepare them for college life.

Here is the current syllabus and reading schedule.


  • Problems in Social Thought: Fall 2018

The focus of this course was equality of opportunity (What is it? Do we want it? Do we have it? What are obstacles to it in our society?). We focused on three main obstacles to equality of opportunity in our society: wealth inequality and poverty (exploitation of workers; the negative effects of inequality on psychological health, decision-making, and physical health), racism (racial segregation in housing and public schools; psychological oppression of people of color; mass incarceration; stereotyping and essentializing), and sexism (implicit bias in the workplace; the unpaid labor of childcare; psychological oppression of women; hermeneutical injustice; sexual harassment and assault).

Here is the current syllabus and reading schedule.


  • Introduction to Ethics: Spring 2017

I taught this as a RAP class in the Spring of 2017. Since all of the students were freshmen, we focused on ethical issues that are especially relevant to college students, like casual sex, making judgments while intoxicated, free speech, and consumer ethics.


At the University of Florida:

  • Contemporary Moral Issues: Summer 2013

This was an applied ethics course in which we discussed things like the basics of normative ethics, sexual ethics, reproductive ethics, oppression and social justice, and issues in life and death.