teaching

Students spend a few hours a week in the classroom; outside of that, they lead rich, complex, and busy lives. Therefore, it is my goal to make student learning both effective and compassionate, so that students can get the most out of the time we have together without sacrificing other aspects of their lives.

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Teaching Statement

My goal is for student learning to be evidence-based, mastery-focused, and justice-oriented. To facilitate this goal, I take an active learning based approach to teaching that centers around promoting metacognition by encouraging peer work and providing individualized feedback.

My teaching revolves around four core components:

  1. Metacognition and student reflection. I provide opportunities for students to reflect on the process of learning.
  2. Equitable collaboration. I empower students to see themselves and each other as credible sources of knowledge to combat inequities in group learning.
  3. Accessibility. Accessibility is a core component of my course design, from multiple modalities to flexible deadlines and attendance.
  4. Ungrading. I design courses with the intent to evaluate learning objectives holistically, rather than in individual assignments.

Teaching Experience

Design and Theory of Algorithms, Co-Instructor (Spring 2021)

Upcoming.

Discrete Structures in Computer Science, Guest Instructor (Summer 2021)

Instructor for Proofs, Sets, and Functions in an introductory discrete structures course.

Data Science Summer School, Instructor (Summer 2019)

Module leader for 8 units in the International Data Science Summer School in Kempten, Germany, on basics of the R language including variables, data structures, and basic statistics.

Human Biology Capstone, Graduate TA (Fall 2019, Spring 2020)

Intended for Seniors in the Human Biology major, primarily pre-medical students. Graded and provided feedback for academic book reviews and a mock grant proposal.

Teaching Evaluations

Positive Evaluations:

“Acacia was a wonderful TA to have in class. I felt as if she made everyone feel welcome and included. I don’t want to undermine her work or anything like that but I definitely felt that she provided moral support to everyone in class simply by being there. She always had a smile on her face and just seemed as if she was all about spreading love and joy.”

“Acacia was also a great TA to have in and outside of the class. She gives good feedback on assignments to help you learn from it and very easy to approach with any questions.”

“[Acacia] was always on top of the ball when it came to knowing what was required and was invested in the success of her students.”

Constructive Feedback:

One student in my first semester noted that I didn’t “seem engaged” with the class, and that I did not seem to be consistent with the instructor of record when giving feedback. The next semester, I took care not to answer questions about logistics if I wasn’t sure of the answer, and I received stronger feedback about my consistency with the course instructor.

Fall 2019: “Maybe pay attention more in class, sometimes it seems like you have different answers than what Dr. TJ told us already.”

Spring 2020: “She always seemed to be on the same page as Dr. TJ.”

Professional Development

College Online Learning Academy: Fellows Program

Fellow for the College Online Learning Academy, a program at MSU for graduate students to build their skills in online and hybrid teaching through a variety of workshops.

Summer of Science Writing: Workshop

Planned & facilitated a workshop among my graduate student colleagues based on Gopen & Swan (1990). The workshop’s goal was to apply principles of good scientific writing to our own writing. The workshop is ongoing!

Teaching College Science: Professional Coursework

Course taken as part of the Certificate in Teaching College Science and Mathematics at Michigan State University. Course experiences included development of syllabi and lesson plans using pedagogical techniques such as constructivism and transfer-based learning.

Teaching Workshop: GWU Teaching Days

Title: How to Improve In-class Activities with Undergraduate Learning Assistants
Co-organizer and I were the only undergraduate presenters at this faculty-centered workshop

Course Development: Pedagogy for Learning Assistants (George Washington University)

Assisted lead instructor Dr. Tiffany-Rose Sikorski in developing course structure and final project design for class to train all undergraduate learning assistants in STEM at GWU