Dr. Smith’s Teaching Philosophy

For students, the college experience is simultaneously an important journey of self-discovery and a means to achieve life and career goals. This has a lot to do with why college teaching is so exciting and rewarding. As a teacher, I aim providing instruction that helps students understand themselves as well as the content of our course. I am committed to fostering active learning in the classroom. I believe students learn best when they have the opportunity to put lecture and discussion materials to work through in-class activities, collaborative learning, and student presentations.

A primary reason I enjoy teaching in the area of rhetorical studies is that its critical tools and methods are especially relevant to students, and these tools can change their lives. Once a person has at their disposal a “critical toolbox,” the way they approach the world is forever changed. They begin to ask important questions about agendas, motivations, techniques of language, and consequences. These are important human questions that I find are best wrestled with through discussion methods, typically tied to our active analysis of examples.

Teaching chose me, I often say. Being a college professor was not part of my “plan” as an undergraduate or new masters degree student. All that changed the first semester I taught public speaking. From that day to this, I have been consciously working to learn everything I can to improve myself as a teacher so that I might be the excellent instructor all students deserve.