Teaching

My teaching and advising seeks to balance kindness and 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.

Spatial Demography
This graduate-level course (PAM 6950),  offered in Fall 2016 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
This undergraduate course (PAM 2250 / SOC 2070) will be offered to Cornell University students in Spring 2017 and 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.

Spring 2017 Office Hours
Mondays and Thursdays from 4:30-5:30pm or by appointment.
Visit peter-rich.youcanbook.me