My courses expose a wide range of students to the merits of rigorous, scientific, sociological thinking about social problems and policy dilemmas. I hold high academic standards and orient my courses around active learning, engaged discussion, and concept application. I also seek to create an inclusive classroom environment that respects the diversity of student perspectives and creates opportunities for connection across differences.
This graduate-level course 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 account for spatial relationships in formal analyses. We draw from examples in housing, health, and education to evaluate how populations are spatially distributed. The course covers methods for addressing spatial dependence and heterogeneity, as well as tools for describing spatial relationships (including various indices of segregation). A substantial portion of the course is also dedicated to practical skills for managing and presenting spatial data using GIS software, including geographic projections, geoprocessing, geocoding addresses, spatially joining layered data, and distance buffering. I taught PAM 6950 in Fall 2016, Spring 2019, Spring 2020, Spring 2022, and Spring 2023 at Cornell University. I plan to teach the course again in Spring 2024.
Social Problems in the United States
This undergraduate 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, civil and human rights abuses, 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. I taught PAM 2250 / SOC 2070 in Spring 2017, Fall 2018, Fall 2019, Fall 2021, and Fall 2022 at Cornell University. I am offering the course again for Fall 2023.
Introductory Statistics for Public Policy Majors
This undergraduate 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. PAM 2101 has been offered for several years at Cornell University, but I took it over for the first time in Fall 2018 and taught it again in Fall 2019, Fall 2021, and Fall 2022.
My Fall 2023 drop-in office hours are Tuesdays, 3:30-4:30pm, in 3M222 MVR Hall. Individual appointments can be scheduled via Calendly (availability is limited).