As an educator, I am dedicated to fostering learning environments which prepare the next generation of urbanist, theorist, and practitioners to be innovative, critical and transformative leaders in the 21st century.
I achieve this through employing the philosophy of ‘learning as a participatory process’. As such, I see my role in the classroom as a facilitator connecting theory and history to contemporary urban realities through critical discourse and experiential opportunities. My pedagogical approach, the way I lead and structure learning in class and in community, centers the work of Paulo Freire’s discourses on critical pedagogy (Freire, 2000). Critical pedagogy means “empowering education, education that questions everyday life, identifies contradictions, makes critical connections with the structures of society that discriminate and acts to change things for the better” (Ledwith, 2016). I see the centering and welcoming of your lived experiences into learning as critical to the process.
In centering lived experience, what I mean is that I respect and value the fact that we have each arrived at this moment from different and unique paths through which we have each developed different skills and talents. While traditional lecture formats are valuable in establishing theoretical constructs and frameworks, I see these as the foundation of your learning journey. My goal through the course content, structure and activities are two-fold. First, to reflect on the broader historical and contemporary theoretical discussions and critically reflect on where your voice and vision fit within/outside this discourse, and how these values will translate into your respective practices as future leaders. Second, I ask that you, while situated in your own lived experiences, be willing to pivot beyond your own experiences through reflective exercises, peer engagement and community engagement to develop a better understanding of the lived experiences of those with whom you will co-create urban place and space. While this process can be uncomfortable, in accordance with our class agreements, I ask that we grow through the discomfort.
Beyond course content, by “centering lived experience,” I also mean your own experiences within the academic and learning journey. Throughout my own academic journey, I have, and at times still do, experience imposter syndrome, the fear that everyone else was smarter, better prepared, and more talented than I was/am and that if I asked questions, asked for support, or just didn’t know it all “they” would find out and kick me out. I need you to understand that this is absolutely FALSE. First, and foremost, you belong here – you have earned your place here. This fear kept me from asking questions and getting the support I needed to be successful. You are not expected to know it all, we are all here to learn and grow.
What this means in this space/place is that we all have responsibilities. I am an academic resource; my role is to create an educational path to learning outcomes. I am responsible to you in providing accessible education and support. UWT support services is responsible for bridging resources and skills both for this class as well as throughout your educational journey. You are responsible for your work, as well as for your words, choices and actions. I, nor anyone on this campus, will ever judge your negatively for getting the resources to be your best, period.
To this effect, if something is not clear, ask! If you have a question, ask! If you want to ponder the possibilities, ask! I enjoy it. You don’t have to have a specific agenda to visit office hours. Also, UWT has a range of resources, both people and programs, which are here and dedicated to your success, such as the Writing Center. Going to the UW Writing Center is not admitting your failure, it’s preparing you for your success – it’s how we develop and strengthen skills. After 25 years of schooling, and 10 years as a grant writer, I still have friends and professional editors proofread my work.
PLANNING HISTORY AND CRITICAL URBAN THEORY
COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT – GRADUATE
COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT – UNDERGRADUATE
UNDERSTANDING METROPOLITAN REGIONS
CITIES AND BELONGING