Expertise ⚬ Syllabi ⚬ Instruction Projects

My teaching approach begins with the mantra, “Start where you are,” and continues with a search for the knowledge and skills needed to reliably produce the desired result.

A new student of international relations may begin with merely an impression or an eclectic set of facts about the world. Together, though, we share a goal that he or she gains greater understanding about the world by learning the skills needed to navigate it

I view my approach to teaching not merely as a set of instructions for students; it is a rubric for myself. For every teaching encounter, I try to answer four questions that I believe help me direct students from “where they are” to the tools necessary to apprehend their own learning styles and that also allow me to gauge my own efficacy:

  1. What information or skill do I want the student to get out of this?
  2. Is the material or assignment designed to deliver something the student will use?
  3. Does the student capably demonstrate the desired outcome?
  4. Is the student aware of how the assignment or material leads to the objective?


International Relations

International Relations Theory, International Security & Conflict Processes, Global Governance, International Law, International Conflict Management & Peacebuilding

Game Theory and Methodology

Introductory Game Theory, Formal Theory in International Relations, Research Design, Experimental Methodology, Limited & Categorical Dependent Variables

Other Courses Taught

Model United Nations, Political Science & International Relations as a Profession



International Security Download .pdf Download .pdf

Includes topics on territorial conflict, nuclear deterrence, human security, and cyber warfare taught through a conflict analysis methodological framework.

Peace & Conflict Resolution Download .pdf Download .pdf

Includes topics on dispute resolution processes (negotiation, mediation, adjudication), democratization, track-two diplomacy, and post-conflict reconstruction taught with an emphasis on principled negotiation practices and problem-solving approaches.


International Conflict Download .pdf Download .pdf

Critically reflects on the ideas that shared 21st century international security thought – Huntington, Fukyuama, Waltz – through recent scholarship, case studies, and incorporation of re-emergent conflict processes such as terrorism, authoritarianism, and humanitarian intervention.

International Law Download .pdf Download .pdf

Attempts to answer the question, “Is International Law really law?” Presents key terminology and carefully inspects the relationship between law and politics through modern media, such as Lawfare, as well as academic and legal writing.

International Relations – Spring 2017 Download .pdf Download .pdf, Spring 2016 Download .pdf Download .pdf

Introduces a range of topics in International Relations: theory, the scientific study of international politics (SSIP), domestic politics, conflict, and political economy. Specific themes change in response to current events.

Instruction Projects

International Relations Lab

Exercises and assignments that focus on the social scientific method. Each “lab” teaches a specific research skill – Research Questions, Generating Hypotheses, Measuring Concepts, and Evaluating Empirical Evidence – through separate International Relations units such as Decision-Making, International Conflict, and Development.

The goals are to 1) introduce students to empirical research methods and 2) increase student engagement through applied lessons on topics important in international relations.focus on specific skills needed to practice social scientific research.

  1. The Levels of Analysis as a Method of Inquiry and Posing Research Questions Download .pdf Download .pdf
  2. Using Decision-Making Models to Analyze Careers in International Relations Download .pdf Download .pdf
  3. Evidence and Measurement of National Capabilities in International Relations Download .pdf Download .pdf
  4. Solving International Relations Games: A Primer on Game Theory Download .pdf Download .pdf
  5. Designing Research to Test Theories about International Cooperation Download .pdf Download .pdf
  6. Testing Development Hypotheses – LDCs and the MDGs Download .pdf Download .pdf

Active Learning Approaches

Improving Knowledge and Skills Acquisition? A Controlled Comparison of Active Learning and Conventional Instruction in Political Science, with David Carleton, Lisa Langenbach, and Kent Syler (Middle Tennessee State University). In preparation for January 2018 submission.

Active learning instructional techniques require students to engage with the material and with each other. The implied hypothesis is that students instructed in such an active style will gain a better mastery of content, develop stronger critical and analytic thinking skills, and be better equipped to work in collaborative settings. We test this hypothesis in introductory World Politics and American Politics courses by comparing knowledge and skills acquisition between students instructed using a conventional approach and students enrolled in sections that used active learning. This paper describes the approaches employed in the active learning designed courses and summarizes the main effects of our controlled comparisons: In sum, we find few substantive differences in knowledge and skills acquisition between active learning and conventional instruction sections, but evident differences suggest that active learning approaches have a greater influence on analytic and critical thinking growth and conventional instruction results in better content delivery.