Emily K. Carian


Lecturing for the Program in American Language and Culture, Stanford University, 2017. See the full video  here .

Lecturing for the Program in American Language and Culture, Stanford University, 2017. See the full video here.


Teaching Philosophy

In my teaching, I seek to (1) make the material accessible to all students and (2) build students’ creative, evaluative, teamwork, and communication skills. I am deliberate in my teaching and enjoy reflecting on and improving my practice.

I believe the most effective classrooms are those that are accessible to all students. My wide range of teaching experiences - as a tutor, middle school teacher, teaching assistant, and college instructor - has prepared me with a host of pedagogical techniques for effective and inclusive teaching in diverse classrooms. To make my classroom both comfortable and challenging, I incorporate readings from diverse authors and about diverse topics, design collaborative and inquiry-based lessons, plan multiple checks for understanding, and scaffold assignments. For instance, I used several strategies to make the content in my Introduction to Data Analysis course accessible to all students. I chose a text that provided an intuitive, rather than math-laden, description of the methods. I related difficult statistical techniques - like linear regression - to concepts students were familiar with - like the equation of a line - to alleviate the anxiety that so often accompanies learning statistics. I provided students with ample practice through worksheets and in-class activities before they had more formal evaluations.

I am committed to helping students build practical skills they can apply in other classes and outside the classroom. I recognize that not all students will become sociologists, but all students will benefit from developing the skills required of sociologists: critical and creative thinking, clear communication, and collaboration. I design assignments so students can practice these essential skills. As one example, students in my Sociology of Gender course worked in teams to identify a gender inequality and design and present an action plan to address it. My objectives for this assignment were for students to (1) collaborate with one another, (2) critically apply the course content to a real-world problem, and (3) communicate professionally. Student groups identified gender inequalities in their own communities and developed creative interventions in response.

In addition to teaching undergraduate- and graduate-level courses, I am a consultant for Stanford’s Vice Provost for Teaching and Learning. In this role, I provide graduate teaching assistants with feedback after observing their teaching and interviewing their students. The teaching assistant and I collaboratively develop concrete steps they can take to improve their practice. I also serve as the graduate student representative for the Stanford Sociology Department’s Undergraduate Studies Committee.


Select Teaching Materials

Click below to see syllabi, activities, and slides I have designed as part of my teaching. Feel free to use or adapt these documents for classroom use (please cite me).

Sociology 142: Sociology of Gender

Sociology 180B: Introduction to Data Analysis

Statistics Bootcamp for Incoming Sociology Graduate Students (designed with Rebecca Gleit and John Muñoz)


Testimonials from Student Evaluations

“[Emily is a] great listener, very well prepared and thought-out sessions, which were a great support in tackling some of the homework assignments. A very talented teacher.” - Student in Sociology 381: Introduction to Data Analysis

“This course should be mandatory for all Stanford students. One of the best classes I've taken at Stanford. Eye-opening and well taught material that will leave you so much more knowledgeable about the world.” - Student in Sociology 142: Sociology of Gender

“I started off the class as the type of person who would gloss over tables and charts in research papers but now find myself actively looking at the data I come across and feeling confident in being able to interpret the numbers.” - Student in Sociology 180B: Introduction to Data Analysis

“This was an amazing class. I was worried going into it that I wouldn't understand very much since I'm not a college student and have never taken a sociology class, but nearly everything was crystal clear…” - Student in Sociology 142: Sociology of Gender

“The final project helped me learn to be critical about research methods.” - Student in Sociology 180B: Introduction to Data Analysis