Emily K. Carian
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
Action Plan Instructions and Rubric: a group project to practice applying content creatively
Writing a Gender-Neutral Job Description and Agentic Evaluation Activities: an activity to practice recognizing and blocking bias
Kill Your Darlings Activity: an activity to practice evaluating cultural objects for gender
Sociology 180B: Introduction to Data Analysis
Read about our bootcamp on page 12 of Teaching / Learning Matters, the newsletter of the American Sociological Association, Section on Teaching & Learning
Distribution Dogs Activity: an activity to distinguish between three types of distributions
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
Here you can find a complete set of my teaching evaluations:
Sociology 180B, Introduction to Data Analysis, Spring 2017, Instructor. (Includes evaluations and feedback from a small group feedback session.)
Sociology 300, Teaching Development Workshop, Spring 2016, Instructor. (Includes a set of evaluations for me, the course as a whole, and feedback from a small group feedback session.)