Teaching Philosophy

My teaching philosophy is inseparable from my research approach and values. Community psychology values of collaboration, respect for diversity, sense of community, and power sharing guide my teaching philosophy and practice. I strive to create a sense of community in my classroom, and just as I aim to dissolve the divide between researcher and subject, I attempt to lessen the split between student and teacher. Ultimately, I conceive of teaching and learning as processes of mutual knowledge sharing between teacher and students.

Based on these values, one of my primary goals as a teacher is to create a space where everyone’s presence and experiences are valued. In my classroom and lab, I attempt to foster collaboration instead of competition through the use of collaborative projects and small group discussions. Additionally, I strive to move beyond a respect for diversity to full inclusion of diverse cultural perspectives. For example, to account for different cultural perspectives in assessment, I give students the option of proposing alternative ways of assessing their mastery of course content and knowledge that are grounded in their cultural backgrounds. Additionally, in line with my values of collaboration and inclusion, I am committed to mentoring students from marginalized backgrounds in order to encourage academic success and increased representation in academia. I aim to make my classroom and academia a more welcoming space that values multiple experiences.

Teaching, much like community work, is messy, and I approach it with humility, flexibility, and reflexivity.


  • PSY 280
    Community Psychology
    University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa

    This course aims to provide students with an introduction to the field of community psychology. This area of psychology is concerned with the scientific study of social problems and their solutions by examining the interaction of individuals and contexts. My goals for this class are to help students understand community-based research and to encourage them to think about how research findings can be used to address social problems. At the end of this course students should be able to explain how contexts impact individual health and well-being and should be able to think critically about the role of contexts in psychology, research, and in their own lives.

  • PSY 351
    Cross-Cultural Psychology
    University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa

    The goal of this course is to provide an introduction to the central concepts and issues related to Cross-Cultural Psychology. At the end of this course students will know to define culture, how it interacts with the major research concentrations in the field of psychology, and the various ways in which culture is studied. Students will be familiar with the role culture has played in the history of modern psychological research. Finally, students will be able to think critically about the role of culture in psychology, research, and in their own lives.

    See sample syllabus here.

  • PSY 499
    Undergraduate Directed Research
    University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa

    Undergraduate students have the opportunity to learn valuable research and practical skills by assisting in our lab and with our community projects. This course relies on a collaborative mentorship model, which involves students working closely with senior graduate students and affiliated faculty and staff. With guidance, students will be expected to propose a potential research project at the end of the semester based on the work they have conducted in the lab.

``To build community requires vigilant awareness of the work we must continually do to undermine all the socialization that leads us to behave in ways that perpetuate domination.``

bell hooks, 2003