Rutgers Academy for the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning

The Rutgers Academy for the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning (RASTL) provides advanced graduate students with the opportunity to meet monthly with faculty and administrators to review issues related to undergraduate instruction and contemporary higher education. In addition, under the auspices of the TA Project (TAP), RASTL offers programs to help graduate students learn to teach from both a general and a discipline-specific perspective.

RASTL comprises the Leadership Team, Faculty Fellows, and Graduate Student Fellows, each of whom participate in regular meetings, planning sessions, and seminars. In addition, the Fellows take part in presenting TAP’s programs and seminars.


Representing multiple disciplines, the Graduate Fellows present sessions for other graduate students and participate in various programs pertaining to the scholarship of teaching and learning. The Faculty Fellows are respected academic leaders who work to spread enthusiasm about the importance of good teaching.

Graduate Fellows

  • Beatrice Adams
    X Beatrice Adams

    Beatrice Adams


    Teaching Philosophy: As a teacher, I aim to cultivate classroom environments and intellectual spaces where the perspectives of the marginalized are valued and used to illustrate a fuller picture of human experience.

    Research: My dissertation examines the experiences of African Americans who chose to stay and return to the American South during the Second Great Migration (1940-1970).

    Developing a Teaching Philosophy presentation

  • Maggie Albright-Pierce
    X Maggie Albright-Pierce

    Maggie Albright-Pierce

    Social/Health Psychology

    Teaching Philosophy: I strive to be an instructor that creates a learning environment inclusive of different learning styles, encourages students to make personal connections to material, and empowers students to build the skills and knowledge necessary to thrive in a diverse community.

    Research: I enjoy exploring the intersectionality of social and health psychology. My research tends to center around motivation and barriers in goal pursuit.

  • Rohin Biswas
    X Rohin Biswas

    Rohin Biswas

    Chemistry & Chemical Biology

    Teaching Philosophy: In my experience, I have felt that inquiry-guided learning is most often a more effective learning tool than a traditional lecture setting, and I have often adopted active learning techniques to make the learning more peer-centric. This promotes student engagement and improves the learning outcome for students.

    Research: My research focuses on the effective diagnosis of disease conditions in the body by using water-soluble endohedral fullerene based MRI contrast agents.

  • Telema Briggs
  • Yael Davidov
    X Yael Davidov

    Yael Davidov


    Teaching Philosophy: I believe that the most significant student learning occurs when students have the opportunity to struggle with material. I believe it is my job to create a classroom environment where struggle is encouraged and normalized, and to provide support so that students are ultimately successful and confident in their abilities.

    Research: My research area is in algebra and arithmetic. I have not started a specific project yet but hope to study connections to representation theory.

  • Eva Erber
    X Eva Erber

    Eva Erber


    Teaching Philosophy: My goal in teaching German is to excite my students for other languages and cultures, and to help them successfully navigate in the multicultural world we live in. By using various media, I strive to create an authentic environment, wherein questions as well as discussions are welcomed and encouraged.

    Research: My transdisciplinary research currently focuses on the hand as motif and metaphor in early 20th century art, literature, film, and design.

  • Franchesca Fee
  • Amy Gage
    X Amy Gage

    Amy Gage

    Ecology & Evolution

    Teaching Philosophy: At the center of my teaching philosophy is curiosity. My curiosity energizes me to continuously research, reflect on and refine my teaching practice. As a trained scientist, I strive to employ science-based learning techniques to my teaching. It is my goal to share curiosity and problem solving skills with my students.

    Research: I am researching the role native plants may play in the restoration of coastal sand dunes.

  • Giuseppe Grispino

    Giuseppe Grispino


    Teaching Philosophy: Having taught in both private and public institutions in Italy, China, and the United States, I have developed a teaching philosophy that I define with the acronym CCD: Communicative based, Class equality and inclusivity, Difference as value. I use a communicative approach at all levels of instruction. I believe in the creation of a safe and supportive environment where everybody feels included and treated equally. This aspect, I believe, does not only contribute to a lowering of the students’ affective filter, but also motivates them to develop cooperative language learning. Finally, I value difference. Cultural, linguistic, economic, and social differences do not put students a step ahead or one behind others in the class. All students are equal. I am also an advocate for mental health and I take the mental health of my students very much to heart.

    Research: In my research I address the representation of mental health conditions, such as depression, anxiety and panic disorders, in modern and contemporary Italian literature and cinema. In addition, I study the cultural and literary relations between Italy and China through the lens of translation.

  • Endia Hayes

    Endia Hayes


    Teaching Philosophy: My philosophy of teaching is dedicated to the engagement of critical teaching and practice in and out of the classroom. Specifically, my pedagogy builds on decolonial and abolitionist means of making critical learning and engagement accessible through interdisciplinary sociological research.

    Research: Endia’s research focuses on alternative methods of archiving among Black Texans in the early 20th century by looking at the senses and intimate sensorial engagement with different types of archive immaterial like dirt, imaginaries and moans.

  • Zoë Kitchel
    X Zoë Kitchel

    Zoë Kitchel

    Ecology & Evolution

    Teaching Philosophy: I am interested in how commercially important fish species are responding to warming oceans, and subsequently, how coastal communities are adapting to these changes.

    Research: The 21st century presents challenges and opportunities for us as teachers. Heightened access to information and connections among communities can leave us wondering, what is there left to teach? But at the same time, this new reality encourages innovation and reflection of what it means to be an effective educator.

  • Tamra Lepro
    X Tamra Lepro

    Tamra Lepro

    Literatures in English

    Teaching Philosophy: In teaching literature I want my students to understand the value of the skills that they’re learning and how it goes beyond knowledge of a particular text. Close reading, analysis, research, and writing are all skills that are highly sought in every work environment.

    Research: I’m interested in an ecocritical reading of 17th century drama as the English colonial project took shape and representations of nature in drama become heightened.


  • Daniele Loprieno

    Daniele Loprieno


    Teaching Philosophy: I strive to center equity and applied knowledge-building in my classrooms. I work to dismantle the equity barriers in higher education, and consider this the bedrock of my pedagogy. I prioritize student engagement in the classroom by utilizing active learning in every aspect of my course design.

    Research: My interests lie largely within the realm of medical sociology. My current work focuses on social construction of pelvic floor disorders, the women who suffer from them, and the providers that treat them.


  • Laina Lockett
  • Melanie Maimon
    X Melanie Maimon

    Melanie Maimon


    Teaching Philosophy: My teaching philosophy centers on 1) creating a safe, inclusive, and accessible learning environment for all students; 2) promoting student understanding and application of course material to both students’ own lives and to our social world more broadly; and 3) encouraging engagement and critical thinking with course content.

    Research: My research focuses on experiences and perceptions of sexual/gender minorities, the role of stigma in close relationships, and identity cues and solidarity with/between minority groups.

  • Santanu Malakar
    X Santanu Malakar

    Santanu Malakar

    Chemistry & Chemical Biology

    Teaching Philosophy: Each student has a unique way of learning and restricting them to a dogmatic style of teaching will keep them from realizing their true potential. Therefore, as a teacher, I strive to create an atmosphere where my students can express their perspective, start thinking critically and bounce ideas off of each other without any fear of judgment.

    Research: My research focuses on activating and transforming small 'inert' molecules into industrially relevant compounds using transition metal-based pincer catalysts.

  • Sandra Medina
    X Sandra Medina

    Sandra Medina


    Teaching Philosophy: Pedagogy should always keep transforming; that is the key for successfully teaching a generation that is constantly connected to the Internet the skills necessary to succeed in today's world. For that reason, I believe instructors should always implement teaching methods that include technology, group work, open discussions, games, music, and visuals.

    Research: My project interprets the representation of violence-mutilation, torture, pain, trauma, and displacement-perpetrated by armed groups in Colombia through films produced since 2000.

  • Marialaina Nissenbaum
    X Marialaina Nissenbaum

    Marialaina Nissenbaum


    Teaching Philosophy: My classroom is a safe space for students to be inquisitive, think critically, and have open dialogue about course material. I strive to be inclusive of different learning styles, to give and receive constructive feedback, and give students tools to cultivate their skills as scientists, writers, and individuals.

    Research: I am studying the effect of maternal immune stress on early life brain development, and how this brain-immune system interaction affects behavior.Amy Rosenthal

  • Blair Seidler
    X Blair Seidler

    Blair Seidler


    Teaching Philosophy: My role as a teacher is to support my students as they engage with the subject matter in a safe but intellectually challenging environment. Since each student has different prior academic, social, and cultural experiences, what constitutes support, safety, and challenge will vary from one individual student to the next.

    Research: I am generally interested in combinatorics and graph theory.

  • Emily Stevenson

    Emily Stevenson


    Teaching Philosophy: As an instructor, I aim to 1) help students become critical thinkers who can analyze and critique concepts and methods in science; 2) encourage the development of thought-provoking scientific questions and experimental strategies to explore them; and 3) apply course material to timely, real-world scenarios to encourage student engagement.

    Research: My research focuses on mitigating the effects of acute lung injury by altering macrophage phenotype with a novel compound.

  • Nirmala Thomas
    X Nirmala Thomas

    Nirmala Thomas

    Environmental Sciences

    Teaching Philosophy: My goal as a teacher is for my students to have a stimulating educational environment that provides equal opportunities to reach their full potential. I believe in establishing a positive classroom atmosphere where students can share and exchange their ideas and practice lab skills

    Research: Multidisciplinary research integrating indoor air quality assessment to housing-related health and safety hazards, and quantitative measurement of bioaerosol exposure in indoor and outdoor environments.

  • Corrine Yap
    X Corrine Yap

    Corrine Yap


    Teaching Philosophy: I use inquiry-based techniques to give students the opportunity to explore and engage with mathematics, both individually and collaboratively. Each student's learning process has been shaped by their experiences and identities, and I strive to teach in a way that encourages every student to gain ownership of the material.

    Research: My research is in the area of probabilistic combinatorics, and includes some problems with applications to statistical mechanics.

  • Neeta Yousaf