My teaching philosophy is to treat students as adults, and to provide them with an engaging and stimulating approach to the subject material. I place great emphasis on innovative pedagogical techniques, and regularly include such approaches as hypothetical role-playing, outside speakers, various audio-visual materials and "real world" case studies to engage students. I avoid a partisan approach to my subject matter, and I seek to be respectful of student views and ideas.
I emphasize the importance of an interdisciplinary approach. Almost all of my courses have been cross-listed between academic Departments, especially between CDAE and the Political Science Department (where I hold a secondary appointment) and the Global Studies program. I have also taught several courses in the Honors College.
My courses have addressed the general topic of democratic institution-building. The first is graduate level; the rest are for upper class undergraduates:
International Development NGO Management This course is designed for the prospective practitioner, and to provide tools and knowledge for effective participation in the NGO international development sector. The course examines some of the larger questions surrounding the growth of these types of organizations; how and why this has occurred, what effects they have had on development, and what trends are in this regard. It also provides an up-close perspective for students interested in how such NGOs are organized, and how they can function to have the greatest positive impact. Course participants have the opportunity to work together to prepare project proposals under "real world" conditions of proposal requirements, timing and limited resources. The course features hands-on perspectives of individuals who are engaged in the task of designing and implementing programs to be as effective as possible.
Politics and Governance in Contemporary Sub-Saharan Africa This course probes the challenges of governance in contemporary Africa. It traces the path of African politics from independence in the 1950s and 1960s, often with formally democratic institutions, to the imposition of autocratic rule in the 1960s and 1970s. It then assesses the stirrings of political reform and liberalization in the late 1980s and 1990s up until to the ambiguous current phase, in which the language of democratic reform is commonplace but the reality often less so. The course also considers the question of failed governance in a number of countries and evaluates whether these cases are particular and isolated, or whether they represent the future of the continent. The course is designed to provide an understanding of the regional and universal dynamics that affect the development of and prospects for successful African governance.
Evolving Trends in International Development Through an interdisciplinary approach emphasizing history and political economy we consider what is meant by the term “international development”, how effective it has been, what trends have existed, what controversies exist over how to conduct it, and who winners and losers may be. We reflect on shifts in post World War Two international relations, and consider topics such as the Green Revolution, health, agriculture, conflict resolution, democracy and governance, shifting terms of trade and the effects of globalization on international development.
Global Democratic Revolution This course provides a continent-by-continent overview of the extent to which democracy has taken root around the world in recent years. It outlines a comparative understanding of the regional and universal dynamics that affect the development of and prospects for democracy around the world. It gives students the tools to consider the challenging question of what criteria can be used to determine whether countries are democratic, and to consider the possible future evolution of global democratic development.
Globalization & National Sovereignty This course examines the question of globalization and its effect on structures of governance. Students first consider the development of the nation-state as we know it from its origins in the 17th century and the Peace of Westphalia. They learn about 19th century methods of bilateral and alliance diplomacy. The course outlines elements of change in the post-WWI and pre-WW2 periods, and then identifies evolving mechanisms/notions of diplomacy in the post-Cold war period, and underlying agents for change. A common theme to these issues is changing perceptions of sovereignty. Students are challenged to identify ways in which contemporary changes in the world have and/or have not altered the role and ability of the nation-state to impact on citizens' lives.
Governance and Decision-Making in International Institutions As a result of increased globalization, organizations such as the World Trade Organization, the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank, the European Union and the United Nations figure prominently in daily headlines. Their ability to impact people’s lives has clearly increased in recent years. Along with this greater responsibility has come heightened scrutiny and at times controversy over how these organizations are governed, and to whom they are accountable. This course comparatively examines how they function, how power is allocated and exercised, how decisions are made, and how transparent are these processes.
People Power In Emerging Democracies This interactive and participatory course identifies the important role civic groups have exercised and continue to play in promoting democracy. It assesses the challenges and issues raised by this important social phenomenon. It includes focus on the various and at times competing definitions of the term civil society, regional similarities and variations around the world, the role of donor countries in supporting civic groups, and the growth of transnational civil society groups. The course concludes with an assessment of what may portend for the future of "people power".
South Africa: Politics, Race and Culture We examine South Africa's apartheid past and the dynamics that entered into play that loosened the hands of the dominant white minority on the levers of power. We look at the transition process that took place in the late 1980s and early 1990s, which culminated in South Africa’s first non-racial and democratic election in 1994. We assess the course of the past two decades decade and consider the positive and negative aspects of this period. Perhaps most importantly, we consider both what the implications are for the future of South Africa, and what role the South African transition can play as an example for other highly polarized and violent political environments in other parts of the world.