Maria Fernanda Escallon

Anthropology | 541-346-5042

Courses: Politics, Ethnicity & Nationalism; Recent Cultural Theory; Introduction to Cultural Anthropology; Reading and Writing in Anthropology; Anthropology of Globalization  

In my classes you will: 

  • Make connections to lived experiences and real-world challenges. 
  • Practice foundational, transferrable skills.  

In what ways are you working to make your teaching inclusive? For example, did you make any choices to improve students' sense of belonging in the course or to help students see their own interests and concerns as connected to those of the course? 

In my classes, I encourage students to identify an interest or concern that is relevant to them, so as a group, we can select readings and discussions that speak to their particular interests. My classes combine foundational teachings on course topics with student-directed sessions that pair students’ own interests with key theoretical concepts explored throughout the quarter. With my students, we have also designed participatory grading rubrics in which we all agree on how and when to grade classwork.  

What do you do in terms of professional engagement with the teaching and learning culture on campus or nationally? For example, did you attend any workshops, read articles about student learning, observe colleagues with similar goals for their students? 

I have observed several of my colleagues’ classes at the UO and engaged in sustained discussions with other instructors inside and outside the university about student learning outcomes, evaluation techniques, course structure, and curricular development. I am particularly interested in learning how different institutions - both inside and outside the US - organize their curricula, define milestones, and update course content as the faculty and student body change and diversify over time.  

In what ways was your teaching in this course research-led—informed by research on how students learn and inflected by UO's research mission? For example, did you articulate specific goals for student learning, structure small-group discussions, and activities during class or online, assign activities to help students prepare, offer students an opportunity to reflect on their learning, or invite students into research processes? 

As I continue to learn more about the way in which we learn, both as students and instructors, my teaching strategies and course design have dramatically changed. I have incorporated ways to receive feedback from students throughout the quarter, redesigned evaluation rubrics, and modified course content to make it more appealing and relevant. Research on teaching and learning has helped me to better design in-class activities according to course level and class size.  

Who or what made you choose to be a teacher?  

My anthropology professors from Colombia (Carl Langebaek and Elena Uprimny) inspired me to become a teacher. In class I not only learned from carefully selected material, but from professors that were passionate about their work and committed to their students’ advancement. I was inspired by them to be passionate about my teaching, and have a caring, compassionate, stimulating, and respectful class environment. I knew what it felt to be inspired by someone, and to this day I still dream that I can inspire my students to study anthropology and learn how it makes us better global citizens.