Teaching Philosophy


UW Bothell Students

UW Bothell Students, Rachael Meares and Shawn Peterson

My courses explore and interrogate the “helping” professions, welfare policy, and social research focusing especially on the complex interface between intention and actual outcomes in addressing social issues, such as homelessness, services for those with severe psychiatric disabilities, and early childhood intervention. Each class includes opportunities for direct experiences with professionals, activists, artists, and researchers addressing social issues within the classroom context and outside of it. Time is devoted to many topics, practices, and frameworks critical to social work and welfare policy, community-engaged scholarship, cultural work and social justice work more broadly. These include:

  • considering how the environmental and historical contexts in which social issues and the systems that have emerged to address them have evolved over time;
  • learning skills for self-reflection;
  • grappling with oppression, power, privilege and empowerment;
  • and, developing strategies for allyship and advocacy outside of the classroom.

I am striving to create a classroom environment ripe for a respectful, lively engagement with the subject matter at hand primarily via conversation as well as through lectures, visits from guest speakers, and small group work.