My teaching and advising seeks to balance accessibility with high expectations and rigorous academic standards for student work. In my interactions and feedback, I try to create a dynamic that is respectful and inclusive of students from all backgrounds and perspectives. Within that supportive framework, I encourage students to take intellectual risks and I challenge them to interrogate the assumptions and contextual frames that shape how they understand our social world. My courses are designed to engage students with relevant content and methods, elicit active participation, encourage inclusive classroom discussion, and assess students’ ability to apply concepts to real-world challenges. Through this approach, I hope to expose a wide range of Cornell graduate and undergraduate students to the merits of rigorous scientific thinking about social problems and policy dilemmas.
This graduate-level course (PAM 6950), first taught in Fall 2016 and offered again for Spring 2019 at Cornell University, introduces core concepts and techniques for analyzing spatially referenced population data. Students learn about the spatial structure of social phenomenon and how to analyze and/or account for spatial relationships in formal analyses. We draw from examples in many substantive areas of demography, including mortality, fertility, aging, migration, poverty, and segregation. The course covers methods for addressing spatial dependence and heterogeneity, as well as tools for describing spatial relationships (including various indices of segregation). The course also covers practical skills for managing and presenting spatial data using GIS software, including geographic projections, geoprocessing, geocoding addresses, spatially joining layered data, and distance buffering. The course uses QGIS (freeware), GeoDa (freeware), and Stata software packages. It is taught in a computer lab setting. Students must have basic proficiency in Stata and prior training in basic linear multivariate regression.
Social Problems in the United States
This undergraduate course (PAM 2250 / SOC 2070), first taught in Spring 2017 and offered again for Fall 2018 at Cornell University, is cross-listed with the Policy Analysis & Management and Sociology Departments. The course introduces the causes, consequences, and possible solutions of major issues facing U.S. society today. Students learn how social problems are defined and contested in the public sphere, and how various perspectives reflect underlying debates about social norms and values. Through readings, lectures, in-class discussion, and writing assignments, students explore a range of social problems in depth, such as: childhood poverty, racial segregation and discrimination, crime, job insecurity, family instability, discrimination by sexual identity, unequal pay for women’s work, and gender imbalances in family life. Students study the historical and social roots of these various issues, bringing into focus how individual experiences and choices are embedded within a broader social structure.
Introductory Statistics for Policy Analysis and Management Majors
This undergraduate course (PAM 2101) has been offered for several years at Cornell University, but I am teaching it for the first time in Fall 2018. The course is intended to provide an introduction to basic statistical techniques used by researchers to investigate social, economic, and political phenomena. Topics include data presentation and descriptive statistics, measures of central tendency, properties of linear functions, quadratic functions, logarithmic functions, random variables and their probability distributions, joint and conditional distributions, expected value, conditional expectation, statistical sampling and inference, interval estimation and confidence intervals, hypothesis testing using t and F distributions, and an introduction to bivariate regression analysis. A lab accompanies the course lectures. We initially use Excel to develop familiarity with data analysis before developing proficiency with Stata.
Office Hours – Fall 2018
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