Statement on Teaching
"Teach students practical skills they will use in their careers, foster those skills through a thorough learning process with useful feedback, and teach students how to teach themselves."
I aim to scaffold learning through experiential teaching methods. In other words, my students report real news stories. Research shows that students are more likely to synthesize concepts that they can apply to their own lives. Therefore, I typically introduce a concept and then have my students practice it. For example, we will talk about best practices in source interviewing, and then the students will be assigned to conduct real-life interviews. Or, we will discuss the ways journalists can use Twitter, and then the students will be assigned to live Tweet a news story. I also make an effort to foster learning by exposing students to professionals in their field by bringing in relevant guest speakers and taking field trips.
MASC 203: Journalism Writing
MASC 475: Capital News Service
MASC 491: Communicators Without Borders
MASC 691: Communicators Without Borders (Graduate)
MASC 611: Research Methods in Mass Communication
MASC 643: Online Journalism II
MASC 676: Media Law and Ethics
MASC 684: Multiplatform Storytelling
MASC 691: Solutions Journalism
*JNC 1102: Introduction to News Writing and Reporting
*JNC 2112: Specialized Reporting
*JNC 3223: Journalism Workshop
*JNC 3118: Specialized Reporting
* Denotes a course taught at the University of Rwanda
“This was a fantastic course and I hope generations of future VCU students have the opportunity to take it in the future. It was very demanding, but they were honest about the course load, and honestly it will make or break a lot of students.This course boosted my ability to apply for jobs, as well as directly prepared me for the professional world of journalism. I feel more competent, confident, and I would take it again in a heartbeat.” ~Student Feedback
I regularly serve as a mentor to students, both formally and informally. Formally, I have provided at least 30 recommendation letters for my graduate and undergraduate students in their pursuits of jobs, internships, scholarships, graduate school or other awards. My recommendation letters have contributed to students successfully earning internships at our local CBS6 station, a study abroad opportunity, and entrance into master’s and Ph.D. programs. My more informal mentoring efforts are described below. Please see appreciation letters from students I’ve mentored in Blackboard under Teaching → Other Information Related to Teaching. I have also twice worked with undergraduate work study research assistants through VCU’s Undergraduate Research Opportunities Program.
“She’s not just professor who cares about teaching, she actually cares about her students. At various points in the semester she checked in with us and asked us for input on what we wanted/needed from the cohort program. Her passion and drive for what she does is very evident and it’s inspiring.” ~Student Feedback
Public Teaching and Lectures
My teaching goes beyond the classroom. I have led workshops and lectures around the world. I am invited to guest lecture most often on my research areas, constructive journalism or journalism. I am always looking for opportunities to speak about my work and educate those in and outside of the classroom.
Teaching in Rwanda
I first visited Rwanda on a short research trip in 2016. Two years later, in 2019, I received a Fulbright Scholars award from The U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs to expand upon my research and teach at the University of Rwanda and live in Kigali, the capital city.
All of the five courses I taught at the University of Rwanda’s School of Journalism and Communication during my 2018-19 Fulbright year were full-time for two or three weeks. Class sizes ranged from 71 students to 130 students. Multiple students from each class required accommodations — the most common being for visual impairments.
Each course required new materials that didn't require access to technology commonly used in the U.S. I taught some courses with only a chalkboard. I also served as a mentor to many undergraduate students in Rwanda.