My teaching goals are to challenge students while giving them the tools necessary to succeed, and not just in my courses. I am interested in creating informed consumers who think critically and assess both the information they take in as well as their place in society at large. Providing students with a framework to draw from to marshal supported, informed arguments so that they can argue for or against particular viewpoints can allow them to have a meaningful impact and generate change where they see fit.
I am a scientist, therefore I am aware of the many historical abuses and current media misrepresentations of science. I stress to students that while I present scientific arguments and data to support them, this does not imply infallibility. Science is based on the principles of the falsifiability of arguments and using findings to accumulate knowledge incrementally. Within science there is no place for moralizing language – whether we are talking about diagnosing mental disorders or understanding variability in behavior – and I see it as one of the most important tenets of science that I attempt to convince my students of. I caution my students to question arguments from “authority” because science as a discipline is dependent on just that. The accumulation of knowledge requires the incremental addition of, as well removal of incorrect or misinformed, information.