This is how 2 referees rated Stephanie:
I am an intrepid and outdoorsy teacher with an international, interdisciplinary background. I have both training and expertise within the higher education sector and accessible (universal design for instruction) teaching methods. My work compliments my experiences and expertise in qualitative research, social sciences, public health, community-based advocacy and years of teaching in Canada and the United States.
I have had the great pleasure of teaching in and around the post-secondary context for over ten years. During my Master’s in Sociology at Queen’s University (2009 – 2011), through my own Tutoring Company: Gao Plus Academic (2011 – 2013), and during my PhD in the School of Public Health at the University of Maryland, College Park (2013 – 2019).
My approach to teaching centers on the following principles:
(1) Flexibility & Creativity:
The majority of my teaching roles have included running smaller weekly discussion sections (~20-25 students) which augment the larger lectures (100 – 400 students). In this space I am able to create an inclusive environment for our classroom community. Each semester I introduce my “Statement on Accessibility” to explain that accommodations for students with disabilities is only one part of creating an inclusive classroom climate. I encourage students who encounter any issue to express their concerns, so we can figure out how ensure their success in the course. Flexibility with student concerns and creativity in finding solutions that will both help and support students while still maintaining rigorous performance in the classroom, are essential in being an accessible instructor. This means engaging with and responding to student’s needs as they arise, and students see this in my teaching approach.
“This is the first [teacher] I have had for a course that truly understood the material and was passionate…she was always available to meet with or via email to discuss any issues we were having with course material, homework, or personal life issues that conflicted with work.”
(2) Clear Expectations:
Not all students come to the classroom with the same background knowledge or resources. To equip students with the tools they need I give them clear guidelines and feedback on assignments. I am always open to discussion or questions about the material, and am more than happy to go into detail about any content in our discussion setting or individual meetings. This can help build trust between students myself enabling them to understand my expectations and meet the course guidelines. Students seem to be more comfortable in asking more difficult questions when I am clear on what is expected of them. This also contributes to my core belief in creating an accessible and inclusive classroom space.
“Stephanie is one of the best [teachers] I have had at the University of Maryland. She was always very clear in her expectations, made discussions interesting, and graded reasonably. She warned us up front that she would be tough in her grading, but honest. And I appreciated that. She always gave great feedback and I feel as though I have a stronger grasp on how to write an essay for this type of course now. She is always open to student comments or concerns. Thanks for a great semester”
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Availability: Weekends / Weekdays (all times)
References Available: No (✘ Not On File)
- University of Maryland, College Park (2019) - Public Health (Kinesiology) (Doctorate) (✘ Not On File)
- Queen's University, Kingston (2011) - Sociology (Disability Studies) (Masters) (✘ Not On File)
- Queen's University, Kingston (2009) - Sociology (Bachelors) (✘ Not On File)
- Bishop Strachan School (2005) - GED (School) (✘ Not On File)