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Teaching Philosophy


When my students ask me about my government career spanning more than 20 years prior to becoming a professor, I seize upon the opportunity to explain to them that I am still in public service as a state university professor. The difference now is that I serve at the intersection of their lives as they bridge from their full-time educational pursuits to their own public service
careers in health, policy, or planning. Soon, they, like me, will share a commitment to improving the lives of others, whether it is helping someone gain confidence in their abilities by reasoning their way through a quantitative analysis or enhancing community health outcomes. Whatever their contributions, they, like me, came to Bloustein to try to change the world. It is advice I hope is empowering, encouraging, and emphasizes the privilege of having careers in public


It is also advice that I take to heart as I endeavor to be the best professor I can be, both inside and outside the classroom. To ensure my classroom instruction encourages learning, I avail myself of new teaching strategies promoted through the University and I immerse myself in the literature, particularly methodological studies that align with the focus of the undergraduate courses that I teach. I augment my teaching with an active research agenda in survey design, gendered leadership, and policy analysis. I have found that my research has enriched my effectiveness in the classroom, particularly as a methods professor. Moreover, this research serves to advance my professional development and provides me with opportunities to extend applied research experiences to our undergraduate and graduate students. Experiential learning
outside the classroom is as valuable an asset as the courses we teach. It is why I am committed to providing these opportunities to as many of my students as possible through internships, independent studies, student sponsored-research opportunities, career networks, and referrals.


In January 2020, I began my fourteenth year of teaching at the Bloustein School. Prior to earning my Ph.D. in Planning and Public Policy, I was a Part-time Lecturer (PTL) teaching in the undergraduate program. I also served as a Teaching Assistant and as a PTL at Bloustein and in the School of Arts and Sciences. I have completed nine years as a full-time instructor and assistant professor in teaching.


My academic preparation included rigorous courses in planning and policy theory, quantitative and qualitative methods, and applied policy areas (such as public policy formation, public finance, political institutions, and gendered leadership in state polities). These preparations have provided an opportunity for me to hone my pedagogical skills, supplemented by teaching instruction offered through the Teaching and Learning with Technology (TLT) unit in Rutgers’ Division of Continuing Studies and The Center for Teaching Advancement and Assessment Research (CTAAR).


My rigorous and comprehensive academic preparations, combined with my teaching, research, and policy experiences in practice, converge to enhance my ability to inform, engage, and challenge students within the classroom setting.


© 2023 by Debra A. Borie-Holtz, PhD

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