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. There are three interacting constructs which 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. It is imperative that educators 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 which was covered in course-work. However, the most important aspect to 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 the functional requirements of a synergistic learning environment with an emphasis on the scientific method.
Read more about my Teaching Philosophy.
Note: These are sample syllabi from past courses. They are not intended to guide current or future classes and have been subject to extensive changes.
- Introduction to Political Science
- Introduction to Political Science (ONLINE)
- Introduction to American Politics
- Introduction to International Politics
- Mass Media and American Politics
- Public Policy Making
- Politics of the European Union
- Graduate Research Methods
- American Foreign Policy
- Globalization and Development
- Conspiratorial Thought
- Comparative Politics
- Government: U.S., State, and Local
- Research Methods for the Social Sciences