My teaching experience includes classes of various sizes in Colombia and the United States both at the undergraduate level as well as Master’s level. I believe that these groups have as much to teach as they have to learn. I am dedicated to an interactive teaching approach that encourages students to take ownership over their own educational priorities.
My objective is to endow students with the necessary skills for understanding complex governance dynamics and their potential effects, as well as for succeeding in their future careers. I use theoretical concepts, empirical patterns and hands-on learning to help students organize, evaluate, and ground their knowledge of governance dynamics and specific policies. As a teaching assistant and graduate part-time instructor at the University of Colorado Boulder, I taught in-person and online courses for a variety of subjects ranging from introduction to comparative politics, environmental policy, data analysis and game theory. Across the varying courses I have taught, student evaluations of my teaching have remained positive and encouraging.
During my teaching, I have used different types of methods to evaluate students’ learning processes, including analytical papers, group research projects, exams, in-class participation, and online debates. In addition, I have used in-class behavioral games to teach complex concepts and show students the challenges of collective action dilemmas in policymaking. I try to navigate difficult conversations with students, maintaining an inclusive and welcoming classroom, but promoting a critical assessment of challenging topics such as environmental colonialism, environmental justice, environmental racism, policy failures, etc. I believe it is fundamental to unpack complex material and evaluate how people around the world deal with these challenges to be able to form one’s own opinions about such topics. In all of my classes, I employ different types of media to teach students how to apply course material to better understand the world around them. I usually open each class with song that presents a critical point of view, or a cartoon, to provide context and enrichment to course content and generate curiosity. I firmly believe that nowadays students get engaged through many mediums, considering all the constant sources of information they receive. It also allows them the opportunity to recognize that knowledge comes through different shapes and forms, extending beyond the class’ reading materials.
My teaching evaluations demonstrate my dedication to student learning and my commitment to supporting their development. Students provide overall good scores to me indicating the extent to which the instructor inspires interests, the extent to which the instructor shows knowledge of the class materials, and how much students learned in the course. Below are a few examples of what students have said about me in anonymous course reviews:
- “Overall, I enjoyed your class and I learned a lot. I am very interested in environmental issues and hope I can continue learning more about how to address them from a policy perspective. I appreciated your help and our discussions during your office hours. Thanks again for making this class enjoyable” (Environmental Policy, Spring 2020)
- “I had the best time taking Environmental Policy with you, and I wish I had another class with you!. Your class helped me find interest in pursuing an internship in D.C looking to develop a career in policy analysis. I am very thankful for your guidance and teachings” (Environmental Policy, Fall 2020)
- “I enjoyed your course and I specifically remember the social experiments you conducted as well as my presentation on fracking. Thank you for a great semester. I was able to learn so much and practice concepts during the experiments that otherwise would have not had a chance to put in practice”. (Environmental Policy, Spring 2019).
- “Adriana knows the concepts well and handles the class with fairness despite the big amount of work and readings we had over the semester. She gave us several opportunities to practice with the in-class group quizzes which were a great way to prepare for the exams”. (Environmental Policy, Spring 2019).
Through the intersection of scholarship and teaching, I promote awareness of the role of diversity and inclusivity to access different points of view and better understand the complexity of the world. I specialize in the context of developing countries, focusing on Latin America and the Caribbean, which allows me to bring into my classes contents that would help my students understand political and socioeconomic dynamics of diverse contexts. Very often students from diverse backgrounds enroll in my classes to know more about the places where their family members were born and how those cultural backgrounds shape their futures as global citizens. Because of this, I try to make my classes a space where students can openly share their doubts and be critical about the role of the US in a multi-diverse world, as well as how do they fit into global and regional dynamics of young activists and professionals invested in reverting our current dangerous environmental trends. I want my students to use my classroom as a space where they feel comfortable discussing these matters from a place of kindness, awareness, understanding and respect.
Beyond my classroom, I have mentored international and undergraduate students in the US, as well as students who were part of my fieldwork team in different rural areas of developing countries. Those experiences have helped me to shape one of the central points of my pedagogical praxis: incorporating voices from various parts of the world makes the learning experience richer and more didactic.