Erin Kristin Jenne, Professor at the International Relations Department

Erin Jenne. image credit: CEU / Daniel Vegel
Erin Jenne. image credit: CEU / Daniel Vegel

Excerpt from her teaching statement:

My philosophy of teaching is one that is based on many years of trial-and-error both in of the classroom, where I have taught courses in international relations theory, international security, nationalism and civil wars, foreign policy analysis, US foreign policy, populism and ethnic conflict management. I am committed to continually tailoring my courses in order to bring the material into sharp relief to the students and help them to appreciate the real-world implications of different theories in the field. To this end, nearly all my courses include a simulation. On the most basic level, I see my job as an instructor to unsettle what it is that students believe they understand about the political and social universe and train students to question each model, assumption approach by identifying the logical inconsistencies and/or empirical anomalies that attend each theory and method. I gradually began to extend this critical approach to the lecture material itself—engaging students in a lively back-and-forth conversation and debate as much as possible, punctuated with attempts to historicize and contextualize each approach to bring students closer to the unspoken assumptions each approach by getting them to live inside it, however briefly.

What do her students say?:

Erin has demonstrated commitment to diverse and inter-disciplinary approaches in her teaching, enthusiastic mentorship of students as well as innovation in classroom that brings together theory and practice, all of which attest to her academic excellence and student-centered teaching style. Not only did Erin offer a versatile set of methods and techniques going as far as qualitative longitudinal analysis and mixed-methods research, she also enriched each seminar with a plethora of personal examples from her own field research. For instance, Erin shared her experience on hurdles of carrying out archival research. Erin tailored this course around students’ topics, turning entire sessions into a conference-like setting where we were exposed to peer-review dynamics. This approach has shaped the way in which students think about their project and prepared them for critiques of their work. Moreover, she often drew on examples beyond political science, venturing into analysis from such diverse fields as anthropology, sociology and history. Such an approach expanded the students’ horizons and encouraged them to think as social scientists. Erin’s meticulous attention to students’ needs is also reflected in her dedication to innovation of teaching techniques. I

Tamara Steger, Associate Professor at the Department of Environmental Sciences and Policy

Tamara Steger. Image credit: CEU / Daniel Vegel
Tamara Steger. Image credit: CEU / Daniel Vegel

Excerpt from her teaching statement:

For me, working toward being a better teacher is a really important part of what I do here at CEU. Despite receiving excellent guidance and support for teaching here at CEU (particularly from the Center for Teaching and Learning), I would be hard-pressed to describe this processas anything less than arduous and formidable, AND incredibly rewarding and meaningful. Students have taught me the most about how to be a better teacher. Structured, qualitative, in-time student feedback and subsequent course adaptation helps to fine tune and “personalize” my teaching approach​. While a good lecture has an important place in teaching and learning, I tend to emphasize other more interactive learning forums that are valuable assets to my teaching toolkit ​such as: Games / Role plays / Class poster sessions (modelled on conference poster sessions) / Video creations (e.g., ​environmental communication videos to promote sustainability at CEU​; dos and don’ts of qualitative interviewing) / Organization, design and delivery of educational festivals on campus (see ​WasteFest​) / Short excursions outside of the classroom (even around CEU) (e.g., to test “participant observation”skills) / “Table talk” around concepts (students rotate around different table discussions to explore specific concepts) /Inviting practitioners from around the world to skype in during class.

Supervising a doctoral student toward the completion of a dissertation is an intense relationship complemented by an intense long-term teaching and learning process. Each student that I have supervised over the years has required a different approach to mentoring. I developed a toolbox of exercises (e.g,conceptual map, a discussion, reading recommendations, an informal presentation, a skypechat from the field, etc.) for figuring out the best approach for an individual student at any given stage of the process. ​While a given tool can be hit or miss, frequent, consistent engagement has often won out in the end.
My approach to teaching, therefore, requires nothing less than​ rigour in contemporary pedagogical practices combined with flexibility and adaptability informed by students​ as we study and shape this dynamic world together.

What do her students say?:

Tha classes led by Tamara always remind me of CEU mission, as she is promoting self-reflective critical thinking and at the same time puts emphasis on classroom discussions and exchange of ideas, which ultimately leads to the creation of new knowledsge.

One of the most impactful classes in my life was Tamara's Environmental Politics: Environmental Activism and Communication. In this calss Tamara transformed my view on how to communicate environmental issues to the world beyond environmentalists. this class pushed and challenged us to handle both the theory and the actual practice of both communication and activism. It is because of this class, and due to Tamara's dedication and creativity...that I have decided to take a job in environmental communication after graduation where I am currently working.