Teaching

Teaching Statement

“The Road goes ever on and on
Down from the door where it began.
Now far ahead the Road has gone,
And I must follow, if I can,
Pursuing it with eager feet,
Until it joins some larger way
Where many paths and errands meet.
And whither then? I cannot say.”
The Road Goes Ever On - J.R.R Tolkien in The Lord of the Rings

The Road through the University and into whatever may come afterward will bear many uncertainties for students. I want to prepare students for these uncertainties and be available to advise them along their way. I have been fortunate to have exceptional mentors and believe many of my successes are a product of the lessons and opportunities they shared with me. My mentors were generous with their time, always open to dialogue about my interests, and provided ways for me to acquire practical experience. I want to be that kind of mentor for my students. My commitment to students is to ensure that they know what they are learning and why; to share practical learning opportunities that allow them to gain experience while following their interests; and to always be available to provide ongoing guidance.

I believe it is important to provide opportunities for students to gain practical experience by creating assignments based on real-world scenarios, such as when working as a consultant. For example, students read a narrative of difficulties faced by a fictional corporation and receive qualitative and quantitative data. Students must apply for a contract by developing a proposal that clarifies their individual skills and why they should be hired. The students use data to analyze the situation and develop potential solutions, then write a report to make recommendations. Students thereby have the opportunity to practice with specific techniques and with articulating their skills to themselves and potential employers. I want my students to be prepared for life in and outside of the university. Getting practical experience equips students well for whatever they find on the Road.

On our journey down the Road I want to encourage dialogue between students and myself. I articulate my objectives, and ask students to let me know theirs through face-to-face meetings in small seminar classes, or by providing a survey to larger classes. In our meetings and in the survey I also ask “how am I doing in meeting our objectives”? I make adjustments in my teaching and mentorship as appropriate. I have found that encouraging students to contact me leads to ongoing dialogue. For example, one of my first experiences in a mentorship role was when I was a master's student working with undergrads through a departmental mentorship program. Many years have passed and I still periodically advise the students from that program on scholarship applications, graduate school, and careers. Our time together on the Road continues outside of the classroom.

 

Teacher Training

2015
Certificate of Participation, Canadian Sociological Association Teaching Practice Cluster Workshop for Graduate Students.
A half-day professional teaching seminar focused on techniques to design course outlines, effective assignments, working with teaching assistants, teaching large/small classes, grading, and strategies for reflexive and authentic teaching.

2011
University Teaching Certificate, University of Calgary Teaching and Learning Centre.
A six-day, in-depth program focused on building teaching knowledge and skills with the purpose of improving the learning experience for students. The program integrates instructional theory and practice to hone teaching strategies through a combination of lectures, discussions and applications.

2010
Instructional Skills Workshop, University of Calgary Teaching and Learning Centre.
A four-day program focused on teaching theory, teaching strategies, skill building, and practice.

 

Academic Teaching Experience

2016 (Fall)
Instructor, Social Stratification and Inequality, St. Mary’s University. Calgary, Alberta.
Designed and delivered a second year 16 week undergraduate course. Managed a group of 43 students from diverse backgrounds and varying demographic characteristics. Engaged students through a combination of lectures, think-pair-share, in-class games, and online activities. Developed resources to support student learning such as writing demonstration videos, study questions, and writing templates. Assessed student performance in demonstrating content knowledge, writing skills, and argumentation. Student Reviews of Instruction.

2013-2015
Mentor, Sociology Undergraduate Student Association Mentor Program, Department of Sociology, University of Alberta.
Served as a mentor to guide, advise, and instruct an undergraduate student over the course of the year in regard to course work, professional development, disciplinary socialization, academic, and career goals.

2013-2014
Co-founder, Sociology Undergraduate Student Association Mentor Program, Department of Sociology, University of Alberta.
Coordinated and supported undergraduate students to create and implement a graduate-undergraduate student mentor program.

2012
Canadian Society, Teaching Assistant, Department of Sociology, University of Alberta.
Provided feedback on written assignments, met with students to provide individualized writing advice and guidance.

2011
Research Methods, Teaching Assistant, Department of Sociology, University of Calgary, AB.
Provided instruction in quantitative and qualitative research approaches. Guided students in training activities and provided constructive feedback. Assessed student performance on examinations and communicated rationales for assessment.

2011
Sociology of Health and Illness, Teaching Assistant, Department of Sociology, University of Calgary, AB.
Facilitated group discussions and debates using pair-share techniques. Lectured on course material to frame student active learning activities. Assessed student learning during lectures and through examinations. Provided student feedback and communicated rationales for such feedback.

2010-2011
Mentor, Sociology Undergraduate Student Mentor Program, Department of Sociology, University of Calgary.
Served as a mentor to guide, advise, and instruct three undergraduate students over the course of the year in regard to course work, professional development, disciplinary socialization, academic, and career goals.

2009-2010
Introductory Sociology, Teaching Assistant, Department of Sociology, University of Calgary, AB.
Conducted tutorials to support learning of course content and instruct on basic writing skills necessary for undergraduate student success. Developed instructional material and facilitated group work as well as independent study. Assessed student performance as well and constructively communicated assessment.

2009-2010
Mentor, Sociology Undergraduate Student Mentor Program, Department of Sociology, University of Calgary.
Served as a mentor to guide, advise, and instruct two undergraduate students over the course of the year in regard to course work, professional development, disciplinary socialization, academic, and career goals.

 

Guest Lectures

Barron, Gary. 2014. “Pathways Into University: What is a University Education Good For?”. Course: Social Problems, Department of Sociology, University of Alberta, AB, October 30.

Barron, Gary. 2011. “Medicalization: The Case of ADD/ADHD”. Course: Sociology of Health and Illness. Department of Sociology, University of Calgary, AB, March 7.

Barron, Gary. 2009. “Class, Social Inequality, and False Consciousness in Everyday 21st Century Life” Course: Introduction to Sociology. Department of Sociology, University of Calgary, AB, October 13 & 14.

Barron, Gary. 2009. “Postmodernism, Media and Apathy: Engaging the Social World Actively as a Student and Citizen”. Course: Contemporary Sociological Theory. Department of Sociology, University of Calgary, AB, March 9.

Barron, Gary. 2008. “The Sociological Imagination and Student Involvement in Post-Secondary Education”. Course: Ethnic Relations in Canada. Department of Sociology, University of Calgary, AB, March 16.

Barron, Gary. 2008. “Theoretical Reflections on Postmodernism”. Seminar: Contemporary Sociological Theory. Department of Sociology, University of Calgary, AB, April 3.

 

Other Teaching Related Work (See also Publications and Talks)

Publications and Reports

Krogman, Naomi, and Gary Barron. 2013. "Graduate Student Supervision and Mentorship". University of Alberta Office of the Provost.

 

Workshops and Conference Sessions

Barron, Gary, Howard Ramos, and Katie MacDonald. 2014. “The Undergraduate Voice”. Canadian Sociological Association Annual Conference, St. Catharines, ON, May 26.

Barron, Gary. 2014. “Multiplicity and Complexity: Problems in Practice”. Bissell Centre, Edmonton, AB, March 12.

Barron, Gary. 2014. “Statistics, Mental Health, and the Politics of Knowledge: An Introduction”. Bissell Centre, Edmonton, AB, January 29.

Barron, Gary, Michele Cunha Franco, Katie MacDonald, Howard Ramos, and Scott Thompson. 2013. “The Undergraduate Voice”. Canadian Sociological Association Annual Meeting, Victoria, June 8.

Barron, Gary, and Jyoti Gondek. 2013. “The Elephant in the Room: Graduate Programs Do Not Prepare Students for Non-academic Careers”. Canadian Sociological Association Annual Meeting, Victoria, June 5.

Barron, Gary, Rebecca Godderis, and Howard Ramos. 2012. “The Undergraduate Voice”. Canadian Sociological Association Annual Meeting, Waterloo, June 2.

Ravelli, Bruce, and Gary Barron. 2012. “Setting Expectations, Setting the Hook: The First Class of First Year Sociology”. Canadian Sociological Association Annual Meeting, Waterloo, May 29.

Ravelli, Bruce, and Gary Barron. 2012. “Faculty Who Choose Teaching Over Publications: What Are the Costs/Benefits?” Canadian Sociological Association Annual Meeting, Waterloo, June 1.