Collaborative learning in action

I am a passionate educator, deeply immersed in the liberal arts model of education. My approach is built around two main ideas: community building and collaborative learning. In my classroom, I build community by inviting students to celebrate and share the diversity of their experiences, and I encourage them to use that diversity as a critical tool as they work collaboratively to engage with the many new ideas and perspectives we encounter together.

I always work to engage and challenge my students. I introduce notions of context and contingency to encourage them to reconsider their assumptions about history, and I help them develop the analytical skills to look at the evidence for themselves and draw their own conclusions about the past and how it has shaped the world around them. In the classroom, I create a student-centered, collaborative environment in which diverse students come together as as community of active learners to discover nw ideas, identities, and experiences that encourage them to think critically about their world. To ensure each student participates in classroom discussion, I model critical discussion leadership, then step back into a guiding role as students become empowered to take ownership of their intellectual growth.

Drawing on my dual education in history and music, I employ an interdisciplinary approach. I guide students in learning to discuss sources in a variety of media: literature, poetry, film, music, and visual art, alongside classic historical texts. Together, we learn to analyze these materials as historical sources, to discover what they can tell us about the time, place, and social and political environment in which they were created. By introducing such media into my lectures and inviting students to respond directly and through group work, I also bring the discussion experience into the large lecture setting.

My courses are quite writing-intensive. From day one, I have students compose reader-responses, blog posts, and other short assignments that get them practicing their critical writing skills on a regular basis. We then build up to longer assignments, like thesis-driven research papers. With such longer assignments, I meet with my students frequently throughout the planning and writing process to help them think through their ideas, confirm their progress, and assess the results of their endeavors.

In my substantial teaching experience, I have put the liberal arts model of collaborative learning, community building, and engaged citizenship into practice in seminar-style discussion classes and large lecture courses on Russian and Soviet history, European history from antiquity to the present, domestic and imperial cultural politics, and core texts in the European and Classical humanities traditions. The complete list of courses I have taught is below. Please click on the links to see my course websites!

Lewis & Clark College (2018-2019)
“Exploration and Discovery: Stalinism Through Media” (introductory writing-intensive interdisciplinary seminar, two sections)

“Exploration and Discovery: Speaking Up, Speaking Out, Speaking Together” (Introductory writing-intensive seminar, three sections)

Reed College (2016-2019)
“Cultural Construction in the Soviet Empire” (Advanced seminar, one section)

“Russian Revolution(s) from Peter to Putin” (Advanced seminar, three sections: Fall 2017 ; Spring 2017, Section 1 ; Spring 2017, Section 2)

“Music and Politics in 20th Century Europe” (Advanced seminar, one section)

“Introduction to the Humanities: Greece and the Ancient Mediterranean” (Introductory writing-intensive year-long seminar, one section over two semesters)

“Modern European Humanities” (Intermediate year-long seminar, one section over two semesters)

Senior Thesis Advising

  • Colin White, “Soviet Jews and Birobidzhan” (2018-2019, in progress)
  • Eva Cilman, “Sonic Inscriptions: Re-sounding the Phonograph in American Culture” (2017-2018)
  • Shiloh McKinnon, “Punching Hitler in the Face: Navigating Representation and Identity in Superhero Comics” (2017-2018)
  • Cyryl Ryzak, “Necessity and Freedom: The Contradictions of Soviet Socialism: 1917-1933” (2016-2017)
  • Brandon Borjon, “Biafran Uncertainties: Challenges to the Norms and Structure of International Humanitarian Aid, 1967-1970” (2016-2017)

Senior Thesis Second Reader

  • Three theses, 2017-2018
  • One thesis, 2016-2017

Academic Advising, All Levels

  • Seven students, 2017-2018
  • Two students, 2016-2017

Northern Arizona University (2015-2016)

“Russia: From the USSR to the Present” (Advanced seminar, one section)

“Nineteenth Century Europe” (Large lecture, one section)

“Recent Europe” (1914 to the Present)” (Large lecture, one section)

“Development of Europe since 1650” (Large lecture, four sections over two semesters)

School of the Art Institute of Chicago (2012-2014)

“Rise and Fall of the Soviet Union” (Large lecture, two sections over two semesters)

University of Chicago

“History of European Civilization I and II” (Introductory seminar, four sections over four quarters)

“Power, Identity, Resistance” (Intermediate seminar, one section)

Teaching Fields
Russian, Soviet, and Post-Soviet history, Soviet Central Asia, European history, cultural and social history, arts and resistance/revolution, comparative Cold War culture, European avant-gardes, socialist aesthetics, empire and cultural hegemony