The most influential professors in my life have been synergistic educators. Synergy can be defined as the interaction or cooperation of two or more agents to produce a combined effect greater than the sum of their separate effects. Three interacting constructs create a synergistic learning environment: (1) Professor Enthusiasm, (2) Student Engagement, and (3) Directed Assessment.
Great professors are excited to introduce and explicate course material. Educators must enjoy not only presenting scientific knowledge but also adding to its accumulation. Enthusiasm can inspire students and activate the engagement construct necessary for synergy.
Student engagement is vital for an interactive classroom. Engaged students are highly motivated to learn, interested in the material, and think critically about important concepts.
One of the most important elements of any teaching philosophy is assessment. Each assessment instrument must be both challenging and germane. A challenging instrument adequately separates high-performing students, average students, and those needing improvement. A germane instrument is tailored so that the material being tested is the material that was covered in course-work. However, the most important aspect of assessment is what a professor does once outcomes are calculated. Outstanding professors continually learn what works and what doesn’t, making it a point to evolve classroom designs to improve student performance.
A highly enthusiastic professor, engaged students, and adequate assessments combine to produce optimal learning. I have designed my classes to meet a synergistic learning environment’s functional requirements, emphasizing the scientific method.
Read more about my Teaching Philosophy.
Note: These are sample syllabi from current and past courses. They are not intended to guide current or future classes and have been subject to extensive changes.
- International Politics (Spring 2021)
- Honors Research Seminar (Spring 2021)
- International Politics & Cybersecurity (Fall 2020)
- Globalization and Development (Spring 2020)
- China: A Rising Power (Spring 2020)
- The Politics of Morality (Fall 2019)
- Comparative Politics (Fall 2019)
- American Foreign Policy (Spring 2019)
- Honors American Government (Spring 2019)
- War & International Security (Fall 2018)
- Social Science Research Methods (Fall 2018)
- The Politics of Technology and Cyber Conflict (Spring 2018)
- Conspiratorial Thought (Summer 2014)