Writer, Author, and Instructor of Psychology (University of British Columbia) / Blogger @ The State of Us
Supporting academic and public discourse in the psychological and social sciences. Specializing in (1) educational development and leadership; (2) writing, editing, and content creation; and (3) individual, group, and community consulting.
Writer, Author, and Instructor of Psychology (University of British Columbia)
I have been teaching at the post-secondary level since 2012, leading courses in health, personality, gender, and the psychology of death and dying in the Department of Psychology at the University of British Columbia. In 2019, I was awarded the Knox Master Teaching Award, which recognizes “faculty and lecturers whose teaching practice is exceptional and inspires student learning.” No matter the topic or subject matter, I remain dedicated to fostering critical thinking in my classrooms—about science and research, about the self, and about the relationship between the individual and society/the-world. I believe strongly that relevance and relatability enhance all learning experiences.
Courses Taught at UBC
Personality Psychology: This course provides an introduction to theory and research in the scientific study of human personality. We explore six domains of personality functioning: dispositional, biological, intrapsychic, cognitive/experiential, sociocultural, and health/adjustment (including personality disorders). To facilitate a broader understanding of the field, the course has been organized into 3 units, each ending with an exam: The Foundation, The Abstract, and The Application. Numerous case studies are examined over the term. Students who successfully complete this course will be able to discuss current research in personality, compare/contrast theoretical perspectives on personality, and apply theory and research to their daily lives.
UBC Course Code: PSYC-305A; Formats taught: In-person and distance-ed (online)
Health Psychology: This course provides a general introduction to the field of health psychology. Topics include stress and coping, social support and interpersonal processes, the social determinants of health (including health disparities) health behaviours, health promotion and disease prevention, patient-provider relations, pain management, management of chronic and terminal illness, caregiving and grief, and death and dying. These topics have been organized more broadly into 3 major units: (1) Stress & Social Processes, (2) Health Behaviours, and (3) Illness Management. While these topics are relevant to neighbouring disciplines, the purpose of this class is to provide a psychosocial perspective. Students who successfully complete this course will be able to discuss current research in health psychology; compare/contrast key theoretical perspectives in the field; describe associations among physical, mental, and social health; and apply theory and research to their daily lives.
UBC Course Code: PSYC-314; Formats taught: In-person
Psychology of Death & Dying: This course explores a wide-range of psychological and social issues related to death, dying, and loss, including death anxiety, the development of attitudes toward death, grief and bereavement, the social and cultural contexts of death and loss, the mental life of the dying person, palliative and hospice care, medically assisted dying (assisted suicide), trauma, and adjustment to loss. Dialogue will consider the experiences of the dying person, the bereaved, and those who work with them in formal and informal care settings. The purpose of this course is to provide a primarily psychosocial perspective on these topics.
UBC Course Code: PSYC-208 (Contemporary Topics in Social, Developmental, Personality, and Clinical Psychology); Formats taught: In-person
Psychology of Sex Differences: This course provides an introduction to the scientific study of sex and gender in psychology. Topics include sex and gender diversity; psychological differences between males and females; social and biological factors in gender; gender development; stereotypes and sexism; gender cognition; sexual orientation and sexuality; interpersonal relationships; gender and health; and aggression and violence. While these topics are relevant to other disciplines, the purpose of this class is to provide a psychological perspective. Students who successfully complete this course will be able to discuss research on gender and sex differences, compare theoretical perspectives on gender, and consider the individual and social implications of gender, including the role of gender in their lives. This course is NOT designed for any one person or group; instead, it is intended for all people equally, regardless of sex, gender, or gender identity. Accordingly, research addressing both women and men, as well as diverse gender and sexual identities, will be examined without any preference or priority. Students will be encouraged to think about ever more inclusive ways of conceptualizing sex and gender.
UBC Course Code: PSYC-320A; Formats taught: In-person and distance-ed (online)
My Teaching Philosophy
I describe my approach to teaching as engaging and collaborative learning through progressive teaching. In addition to intellectual engagement, I have found that personal engagement is equally valuable to the learning experience of my students. By personal engagement I mean the capacity for students to relate topics to their own lives and experiences, thus improving understanding and retention of concepts and information. I further strive to make learning collaborative in my classes, such that students and instructor alike are engaged together in discourse, resulting in a dynamic classroom experience.
I accomplish these goals using a variety of strategies within a thought-provoking and highly progressive framework, where contemporary research is discussed, new ideas are encouraged, and diverse perspectives are acknowledged and respected. I believe this creates a more authentic and stimulating learning experience for students. Outside the classroom, it is my hope that such strategies will enable students to be more engaged citizens, so that they approach the world with greater intellectual curiosity, respect, and open-mindedness.
I consider myself a co-learner among my students and make every effort to ensure that students see me in this light. I am further dedicated to teaching in a way that is compassionate and open-minded. To this end, I frequently touch on issues related to social justice and equality within the context of course topics, in order to support social change and advocacy in the community.