Courses and teaching Interests
Go to graduate and undergraduate courses and teaching concerns.

    I became a professor because I loved teaching.  My teaching interests were driven by a belief that we can improve our lot by upgrading  what we claim to know.  We can only do this, over time and with care, if our ‘knowledge claims’ are justified in a manner that allows for accumulation of knowledge  in a manner where ‘more secure’ knowledge claims take the place of ‘less secure’ ones.  Behind this abstraction lie both my substantive interests in scholarship, and my approach to teaching and mentoring.
    Substantively, my goal of improving our knowledge means I am interested in correctable claims of knowledge, and that, in turn, drives me to the use of empirical methods.  Perhaps less obviously, it also leads to a concern for the theoretical structuring of our conjectures to make them corrigible.  In practice, this led me to teach formal political (often thought of as game theoretic and public choice) models relevant to political problems, and ethical models that have empirical implications.  These courses were about:
1) politics and theories of distributive justice as applied to: the environment, social welfare policies, democratic institutions, and collective action;
2) models of politics for political activists
3) formal political theory (i.e. game theory, public and social choice)
4) methodology of mathematical modeling & scope and methods
5) general introductory courses to political science
and 6) experimental methods and ethics
    Perhaps more than the substance of my courses, my approach to teaching also mirrored this concern.  I was far less interested in a student’s ‘factual’ learning than in her acquisition of tools and the skills to use them.  Of course, many students are only interested in ‘tools’ when they can see the connection between the tools and counter-intuitive analysis of everyday concerns, such as the achievement of better government, etc.  Hence, one must interest students in the whole fabric of a subject: analysis to application.  But my concern was that they acquired tools, and incentives, to do the analysis as empowered independent citizens.  In part an aim at individual empowerment reflects a belief that the vast majority of humans want a more peaceful, prosperous, just world.  If empowered, we may more likely move  in that direction.  

    This worked out differently in my graduate and undergraduate teaching efforts.