Junior Faculty Teaching Fellow Spotlight: David Diehl
Each month, the CFT Newsletter highlights the work of our Junior Faculty Teaching Fellows. This month,David Diehl, Human and Organizational Development, talks about his teaching philosophy and interests.
I teach in Peabody College’s Department of Human and Organizational Development, instructing undergraduates who are preparing for roles in various types of organizations and graduate students primarily interested in working for or studying community organizations. Given the diversity backgrounds my students bring with them into the classroom, I think pedagogical flexibility and accommodation is a key component of instruction.
“I attempt to provide students with both theoretical and practical research skills and provide flexible assignments that allow students to create personalized projects and papers based on their own specific needs and their particular place in their own research trajectory.”
My aim no matter the particulars of the context is to create an atmosphere that fosters learning even though students bring a wide variety of temperaments and experiences with them into the conversation. Regardless the specific class or students, I have two primary teaching goals. The first is to help students understand basic concepts or methods. This is fundamental for the second goal, which is for students to be able to use this knowledge creatively and critically – that is, to be able to use the tools they have learned for their own problem-solving needs in their research or future career. With undergraduates this has meant making case studies and other application activities central to my teaching.
Similarly, with graduate students I attempt to balance between seminal and foundational work that students need to know in order to engage with scholars in the field as well as research more aligned with their own interests. I attempt to provide students with both theoretical and practical research skills and provide flexible assignments that allow students to create personalized projects and papers based on their own specific needs and their particular place in their own research trajectory.
At the end of the day I feel very lucky to be teaching topics I care deeply about and continue to be fascinated by – and I hope to convey those feelings to my students.