To teach is to transform.
Classes I have taught
Introduction to Sociology, Social Problems, Social Deviance, Gender and Society, Women and Prison, Social Psychology, Women and Crime (upcoming Spring 2016).
My Teaching Philosophy
A few years ago, a student of mine said something that stuck with me. He said, “Your sociology class was my favorite class in college. What I love most about your teaching is that you never told us what to think—you taught us how to think. You gave us the tools to do it ourselves.” This student’s reflection captures my teaching philosophy well, as I believe education should be transformative and empowering for students.
I motivate my students to think more critically about the social world and to develop their sociological imaginations. Inspired by critical pedagogues Paulo Freire and bell hooks, I encourage my students to be co-creators of knowledge, rather than passive recipients of information. My class meetings are interactive and discussion-based. Together, we create a dynamic learning community where ideas are expressed freely, as well as interrogated and challenged. Although I am the ‘expert’ in the room, my classes are student-centered. For example, in my upper-level courses, I designed an assignment called “Student as Teacher,” where students (working in a small group) are required to facilitate class discussions. This assignment thrusts students into the center of knowledge creation. While they are only required to facilitate the first thirty minutes of class, students almost always opt to facilitate the entire class period. The critical thinking and creativity that this assignment sparks is wonderful to witness.
I treat my students as “apprentices” of sociology; they are expected to do sociology in addition to learning about it. For example, in my Introduction to Sociology course, in lieu of a traditional exam, students have a project called, “The Sociology of Everyday Life,” where they conduct observations of the social world they inhabit. After conducting an hour of observation (including fieldnotes), they write a sociological analysis that connects their observations to course concepts. Students enjoy this unique format and the opportunity to see “sociology in action,” as one student described it. In these kind of application assignments, students develop valuable skills that they can use in their careers: they collect and analyze data; they use sociological concepts to interpret and explain their observations; they use analytic writing to develop their arguments; and they devise applied solutions to real world problems.
Over the last ten years, I have developed an extensive and diversified teaching background. Yet, there is so much more I want to learn about and do in the classroom. Looking forward, I would like to develop service-learning and experiential learning courses that connect students to community organizations. This hands-on approach to learning is especially important for students interested in non-academic careers who will learn how to forge partnerships among community organizations and service providers.
Selection of teaching evaluations
“She is a phenomenal teacher! She is very enthusiastic with her teaching, and she makes learning fun and more interesting. I learned SO MUCH from her teachings and I will DEFINITLY take another class she teaches.”
“Dr. Macomber is a fantastic teacher who breaks the mold in terms of traditional teaching. Most every class was discussion based, which is a great contrast to traditional, often boring lectures.”
“The instructor was excellent! You could tell she loves the subject of sociology and is very passionate about the course. She was funny but also informative at the same time.”
“Prof Macomber had us engage in class discussions rather than only take notes. By actually doing sociology, rather than just taking notes on it, we were able to learn much more. Since she was so enthusiastic about the subject, it was easy to contribute to the class.”
“She is a very good professor who clearly loves sociology and teaching sociology. She explains course material very well and is helpful in answering any questions that a student has. She listens to students input regarding how to make the class better in any way that she can and listens to everyone’s opinion no matter what subject is being discussed.”
“I learned a lot in this course and had fun while doing so. I enjoyed attending this class and was able to keep up with the work.”
“Professor Macomber was a great instructor for this course. She led very insightful class discussions and assigned readings that gave us a wide view of different social problems. She also did a good job of adjusting her teaching to different learning styles. I liked that we had a variety of writing assignments, reading assignments, discussions, and videos.”
“Prof Macomber is an excellent teacher. She does a good job of presenting issues…and letting students come to their own conclusions and have their own discussions. I enjoyed this class a lot more than I thought I would.”
“Dr. Macomber told us at the beginning of the semester that she had a feeling that this class would be a great one, and she was completely right! The class was lots of fun and extremely engaging. The readings were very relevant and the class discussions we had were very informative and sometimes intense. She loves teaching the class and I would gladly take the class for even longer than 1 hour and 15 minutes. She is very relaxed and approachable, and she is very helpful when you have questions about course materials.”
“Outstanding teacher, takes time to explain and elaborate on information. Provides useful tools to add to learning environment.”
“Kris is an excellent teacher. If I could I would take this class again. Any student is lucky to get her.”
“Great teacher! Brought the class together as a whole and made everyone feel comfortable in expressing their opinions.”
“ I thoroughly enjoyed the instructor. She was passionate about teaching and she presented facts in an interesting and informative way. I think she was excellent and I think she was the reason why I enjoyed the class so much.”
“ Prof Macomber was great. She is fun and very easy to relate to. I would definitely take another course with her.”
“Prof Macomber is an amazing teacher, and made this class fun.”
“Kris was one of the best instructors I have ever had. She was knowledgeable about the subject and you could tell she loved sociology. She was very receptive to students, in and out of class.”
“This professor’s instruction style was very effective and conducive to the learning style of this course!”
“Very enthusiastic—fresh approach to teaching. Kept me involved with class.”
“She does a great job at making the course interesting and getting students interested and involved about sociology.”
“She rocks. I did not care about sociology until she taught me.”
“Very passionate and knowledgeable, awesome and interesting. Awesome! Awesome! Will take her again next semester for another soc class.”
“Great teacher; made it fun and interesting. Great course, It really made me think. I think this should be a required course for every major.”
“Very enthusiastic, loves teaching sociology.”
“BEST TEACHER FOR SOCIOLOGY…AWESOME TEACHER.”
“Dr. Macomber is amazing. Very educated, very interesting…not intimidating to talk to…great learning environment. Well rounded and interesting. Favorite course in my four years here.”
“Professor Macomber makes this class so interesting. Suddenly, I want to learn more about sociology!”
“It’s obvious how much you care about your students. Your passion for sociology really shows every day you teach!”
“Your class has forced me to look past the way I have always thought about things and myself and the world in a different way.”
“My favorite part is that we are not tested on what we memorize, but are given assignments that make us apply what we learn. I absorb things much better this way and have learned so much already.”
“I really like that this class is discussion based. It is much easier to relate sociology to my life when I am being asked to provide examples myself. I also like project-based grades instead of traditional exams. I never felt like I gained anything from memorizing a bunch of information and regurgitating it on a piece of paper. The projects in this class, however, are very helpful in developing my skills in this course.”
“She inspires me to think and see things in different ways.”
“Me going to this class was like Neo getting pulled out of the matrix—everything that felt weird to me about society (racism, sexism, homophobia) that my family ignored suddenly had a name and science to back it up.”
“I love that you ask insightful, thought-provoking questions. You make what might otherwise be dry subject matter intriguing. The assignments are always challenging and I get so much out of them. I always leave this class with a new understanding of the social world. This is by far my favorite class!”