As a teacher I believe it is critical that students participate in the creation of knowledge. One of the first steps on this process is to understand where students are coming from–what knowledge and experiences they have that will inform how they understand the material. With this information I can then help students work through the process of research and thinking critical about political topics. Students can then bring to bear their own experiences to the topics at hand while also coming to see how our understanding of politics is created. Along with this I have a purposeful practice of treating students as active managers of their own learning by having conversations with them about the purposes behind activities and work and how it relates to their other experiences in college. I implement these strategies in all of my interactions with students, both inside and outside the classroom.

I have often found it helpful to see other faculty’s syllabi while designing my courses. Below are the syllabi I have developed at Miami University and I hope they are helpful for others.

POL 306 Applied Research Methods

POL 306: Applied Research Methods covers research design (external, internal and measurement validity); descriptive statistics; hypothesis testing; and linear regression. Students also learn how to use R in the course. Students in the class are mainly upper level political science or public administration majors. They are evaluated using a midterm and a final exam as well as submitting assignments throughout the semester. The assignments require students to analyze some data and write up a short report explaining their findings.


Fall 2022, Spring 2022, Spring 2021, Fall 2020, Spring 2020, Fall 2019, Spring 2019, Fall 2018

POL 345U Social Movements and Protest

POL 345U: Social Movements and Protest focused on how social movements mobilize, individual level participation, and the impacts of social movements. Students select a social movement early on in the semester and then wrote three short papers on that movement: the history of the movement, the participants of the movement, and analysis of the movement. The final project requires them to revise and combine those papers into a single paper that described and analyzed the movement. Students in this course are mainly upper level political science majors.


Spring 2022, Spring 2021, Fall 2020, Spring 2020, Fall 2018

POL 345Y Class and Inequality

POL 345Y: Class and Inequality focuses on the role of economic inequality in American politics. We cover what economic inequality looks like in the United States today, the role of money in politics and representational biases. The final project is a paper where students analyzed a policy they were interested in looking at it from the perspective of differing economic interests. They submit draft sections of the paper throughout the semester and then make revisions for a final paper draft at the end of the semester. Students in this course are mainly upper level political science majors.


Fall 2022, Spring 2021, Fall 2019