Teaching

My teaching experience includes both undergraduate and graduate instruction, at private and public institutions, in the United States and abroad. I have taught in multiple formats such as lectures, seminars, tutorials, research practicums, and independent study. I have advised undergraduate and graduate students on theses that rely on a variety of methods, and I served as director of graduate studies in my department for three years. My teaching repertoire ranges widely from introductory sociology courses for undergraduates to advanced seminars in politics, comparative and historical methods, and theory for graduate students.

I have received recognition for my teaching from students and colleagues at the University of Wisconsin–Madison, including an Honored Instructor Teaching Award in 2015, a Departmental Award for Excellence in Teaching in 2017, and a Distinguished Honors Faculty Award from the Letters and Science Honors Program in 2018. My pedagogical contributions have been recognized outside of my university as well. The syllabus for my class on “The Jews, States, and Citizenship” was included in the third edition of The Sociology of Jewry: A Curriculum Guide and Critical Introduction, published by the American Sociological Association in 2007. More recently, in 2016, The Chronicle of Higher Education interviewed me about my role in developing a new course on the Wisconsin Idea in response to political attacks on the University of Wisconsin. (See Emma Pettit, “How One Professor Will Turn Wisconsin’s Higher-Ed Philosophy Into a Seminar,” Chronicle of Higher Education, August 24, 2016.)

A statement by the French social scientist Émile Durkheim encapsulates my teaching philosophy: “Il ne faut jamais perdre de vue quel est le but de l’instruction publique. Il s’agit de former non des ouvriers pour la fabrique ou des comptables pour le magasin, mais des citoyens pour la société.” (It is necessary that we never lose sight of what is the aim of public education. It is not a matter of training workers for the factory or accountants for the warehouse, but citizens for society.)