The Faculty Teaching Fellows program pairs faculty and staff seeking teaching advice or feedback on their pedagogy with an experienced faculty member.

The teaching fellows are drawn from the three divisions within the College of Arts and Sciences (Arts and Humanities, Math and Natural Sciences, and Social Sciences) as well as the Conservatory of Music. These faculty members also represent a broad range of teaching styles and pedagogical approaches. The teaching fellows are available for classroom observation and one-on-one consultations. They have also committed to opening up their classes for scheduled visits from interested colleagues.

To request a meeting with a faculty teaching fellow, please send email to Tania Boster, associate director, Gertrude B. Lemle Teaching Center, at tboster@oberlin.edu. You may also contact the teaching fellows directly.

2018-19 Teaching Fellows

Cindy Chapman

Adelia A.F. Johnston and Harry Thomas Frank Professor of Religion

Photo of Cindy Chapman

Teaching Fields/Interests

Hebrew Bible; New Testament; gender and the Bible; politics and the Bible

Course Types

Large lecture combined with small group discussions; in-class writing followed by discussion; workshops in material culture; writing intensive (staged paper assignments); first year seminar; advanced seminars; senior capstone writing colloquium

Areas of Pedagogical Expertise

Lectures; hybrid lecture and discussion; in-class writing and in-class material culture workshops; close textual analysis of primary texts that are in translation, helping students who do not know the original language come to an understanding of how translation requires interpretive moves; incorporating visits to the Allen as part of a class.

Areas of Teaching Challenge

Making historically remote materials relevant; dealing with texts in translation; incorporating material culture


William Patrick Day

Professor, English and Cinema Studies

Photo of Pat Day

Teaching Fields/Interests

American cinema (classic and new Hollywood); literary/media theory

Course Types

Discussion – small to medium; intro to the major; writing intensive; first year seminar; medium to large lecture

Areas of Pedagogical Expertise

Lecture; discussion; hybrid lecture and discussion; writing intensive; interdisciplinary methods or fields

Teaching Challenge Specialties

Teaching a class with disparate levels of student preparation; running class discussion on difficult/divisive topics; humanities for scientists

Laurie McMillin

Professor, Rhetoric and Composition

Photo of Laurie McMillin

Teaching Fields/Interests

Travel writing, writing pedagogy, composition theory, comp

Course Types

Small discussion; writing intensive; first-year; advanced seminar.

Areas of Pedagogical Expertise

Discussion; writing instruction

Areas of Teaching Challenge

Developing community; developing discussion; in-class writing to prompt thinking and discussion; peer writing groups/workshops to assist with essay revision

Yolanda Cruz

Robert S. Danforth Professor of Biology

Photo of Yolanda Cruz

Teaching Fields/Interests

Developmental Biology; reproductive biology; evolutionary biology; introductory biology, biotechnology and ethics

Course Types

Large lecture; discussion (5-15 students); intro to major; lab; first year seminar; capstone

Areas of Pedagogical Expertise

Lecture; discussion; hybrid lecture-discussion; teaching students to be mentors/peer tutors (co-founder of OWLS, Oberlin Workshops and Learning Sessions)

Areas of Teaching Challenge

Disparate levels of student preparation; making historically remote (and arcane) material relevant to students; science for humanists


Matt Elrod

Robert and Eleanor Biggs Professor of Natural Science, Chemistry and Biochemistry

Photo of Matt Elrod

Teaching Fields/Interests

Introductory, environmental, and physical chemistry

Course Types

Large lecture; medium lecture; lab (with writing intensive designation); intro to major

Areas of Pedagogical Expertise

Lecture; flipped classes; iClickers; demonstrations; computer-based modeling

Areas of Teaching Challenge

Disparate levels of student preparation; teaching required course for a different major; teaching subjects students learn to fear/hate I high school; science for humanists


Mary Garvin

Professor, Biology

Photo of Mary Garvin

Teaching Fields/Interests

Genetics, evolution, and ecology; disease ecology; invertebrate biology; natural history of the Vermilion River watershed

Course Types

Combination lecture/discussion/and other forms of active learning; labs; first-year seminar

Areas of Pedagogical Expertise

Working with first-generation students and underrepresented groups; student-centered learning; collaborative semester-long research experiences; experiential learning; building science literacy skills; writing intensive

Teaching Challenge Specialties

Assisting students in slowing down and reflecting; teaching students with very different levels of preparation and self-confidence; helping students who struggle with writing; helping students develop discussion skills; helping students develop collaborative skills

Janet Fiskio

Associate Professor, Environmental Studies and Comparative American Studies

Photo of Janet Fiskio

Teaching Fields/Interests

Environmental humanities, environmental justice, food justice, climate change

Course Types

Small, medium, large discussion; community-based learning; intro the major/humanities

Areas of Pedagogical Expertise

Discussion; community collaboration; interdisciplinarity

Areas of Teaching Challenge

Humanities for non-humanists; divisive topics (race)


Steve Mayer

Professor, Psychology

Photo of Steve Mayer

Teaching Fields/Interests

Environmental psychology; social psychology; peace & conflict studies; mentoring student research projects & science writing

Course Types

Medium sized lecture/discussion; research-project based; skill-building; social laboratory; capstone seminar; supervised research

Areas of Pedagogical Expertise

Hybrid lecture/discussion; writing intensive; quantitative skills; interdisciplinary approaches.

Areas of Teaching Challenge

Helping students find their “voice” when writing research projects; maintaining student interest during a 50-minute lecture; facilitating small class discussion.


Pablo Mitchell

Associate Professor, History and Comparative American Studies

Photo of Pablo Mitchell

Teaching Fields/Interests

Latina/o history, mixed heritage, US west, US history post-1865

Course Types

Medium size lecture (25-40 students); small discussion (10-15 students); individual writing projects such as 20-25 page paper and honors theses.

Areas of Pedagogical Expertise

Large-scale writing projects, discussion; lecture

Areas of Teaching Challenge

Student critiques of material as not progress/radical enough; different levels of preparation; presenting potentially divisive/difficult material.


Mike Parkin

Professor, Politics

Photo of Mike Parkin

Teaching Fields/Interests

Introduction to American politics; quantitative research methods; campaigns and elections; political psychology

Course Types

Large lecture with active discussion among students; introduction to the major; writing intensive

Areas of Pedagogical Expertise

Hybrid lecture and discussion; writing intensive; quantitative skills

Areas of Teaching Challenge

Generating discussion in large classes; generating broad discussion on controversial topics; ensuring that students complete all assigned readings and submit all assignments on time; teaching quantitative skills to those uneasy and/or unfamiliar with quantitative reasoning; generating student ownership over seminar discussions

Jared Harrt

Associate Professor, Music Theory

Photo of Jared Hartt

Teaching Fields/Interests

Music theory (all levels of core curriculum); aural skills (all levels of core curriculum). Upper-level courses: counterpoint; medieval motets.

Course Types

Basic skill-building; discussion small and medium (up to 20 students); project-based learning; writing (about music and how it works); small group work; independent study.

Areas of Pedagogical Expertise

Engaging students for entirety of class; creating a classroom environment that is comfortable and enjoyable yet productive and demanding; first semester courses and the associated challenges, issues, needs; variety of assignment types; music analysis; relating theory to practice; integrating research and teaching.

Areas of Teaching Challenge

Disparate levels of student preparation; engaging seemingly disengaged students; making historically remote material relevant to students; general classroom management issues (tardiness; absences, cell-phone use)


Jan Miyake

Associate Professor, Music Theory

Photo of Jan Miyake

Teaching Fields/Interests

Core curriculum for music theory (music theory 1-4 and aural skills 1-4), upper-division seminars in Form and Analysis as well as Schenkerian Analysis.

Course Types

Small (12-15 students) skill-building, activity-based focus in hands-on environment; project-based with emphasis on independence and depth of engagement.

Areas of Pedagogical Expertise

Mini-flips; proactive communication with students; active in-class structures

Areas of Teaching Challenge

Required courses for first-semester students with vastly different levels of pre-existing knowledge; universal design to make accommodations less needed for students with documented needs; teaching required courses that some students resent