Team-Taught Courses

We teach two team-taught courses each year. In the Fall semester we teach Anthropology 2 (Cultural Anthropology) with Geography 12 (Cultural Geography). In the Spring semester we teach Sociology 2 (American Society: Social Problems and Deviance) with History 17 (United States: 1877 to Present).

Some of the benefits of enrolling in a team-taught course are:

  • Unique interdisciplinary opportunity to prepare for upper division courses.
  • Highly supportive environment for conceptual and integrated understanding of America today.
  • Ideal course combination for majoring in all social science related areas.
  • Highly endorsed by students who have transferred and moved on to exemplary success.

Student Testimonials about the Team-Taught Courses

Agnieszka Smelkowska: I consider the joint Sociology 2 and History 17 class a defining academic experience of my education up to this point. The class was not only interesting, dynamic, and intense, but it also expanded my understanding of the issues covered by presenting them from the perspectives of two disciplines simultaneously. I feel that an interdisciplinary approach has many advantages. First it, emphasizes connections within the material that otherwise would not have become explicit. Second, despite the increase in the volume of material, it makes learning easier since it presents a comprehensive picture of the covered time period. Completing this class left me with a sense of real accomplishment.

Heather Sparks (December 2, 2009): Although I was not enrolled for the complementary Sociology 2 course, I took the team-taught History 17 course in the spring semester of 2008. Ted Hamilton and Paula Clarke are both great teachers and they are even better when they are together. Participating in this team-taught course broadened my perspectives on U.S. history and the American culture of which I am a part. Combining a sociologist's perspective with an historian's perspective provides students with a cultural context for historical and contemporary events.
Ariella Megory (November 26, 2009): A Brief Statement Regarding My Experience with Team-Taught Courses: Through Professors Ted Hamilton and Paula Clarke’s team-taught courses I discovered the unique benefits of the interdisciplinary learning environment. First and foremost, taking sociology 2 (American Society: Social Problems and Deviance) and History 17 (United States: 1877 to Present) together emphasized the continuity that exists between disciplines. Every discipline deeply interacts with at least a dozen other disciplines at any one time. I’ve come to recognize that focusing on a single discipline/perspective too early is potentially dangerous, much like engineering a structure prior to taking a good geography course could be potentially hazardous to the building itself and to the environments surrounding it. The second way that the team-taught courses influenced me is through their emphasis on critical thinking. The courses provided meaningful and highly supportive learning environments where critical selection, organization, and presentation are required. In this way students are given the freedom to be creative, to think abstractly, and demonstrate their reasoning, rather than being limited to a single short “right” or “wrong” answer. The interaction with critical thinking is essential if interdisciplinary courses are to serve their purpose of helping students make connections. Last, during my time spent in interdisciplinary team-taught courses, my study skills and time management skills significantly altered. The interactive nature of the courses has helped me with my time management, reading, and note-taking skills. The abundance of knowledge that I was exposed to forced me to be organized and be selective about the information that I was incorporating into the assignments. The concepts, principles, knowledge, and skills that I have gained in the team-taught courses have significantly changed my worldview, has contributed to my success in the rest of my classes, and has helped me reason about daily decisions that I have to make in my life. Overall, I have found the interdisciplinary nature of Professors Hamilton and Clarke’s team-taught courses to be rich, meaningful, highly applicable, incredibly valuable, and very worthwhile. I would recommend the team-taught courses to ANY person at ANY stage of their education.
Chelsea Brown: In a world of disjointed information and constant data it is nice to have an education that flows together as one whole. It is very beneficial to explore history from a sociological stand point and then explore sociology through the eyes of a historian. To have two points of reference teaching you for one class is such an amazing opportunity for students. 

Sara Keene: Without a doubt, both of the team-taught courses I took from Ted and Paula were among the most engaging and inspiring courses I have ever taken. It was in these courses that I began to understand the complexity of the human condition and the novel challenges posed to contemporary societies. Ted and Paula exposed me to a world of exciting ideas with which I would grapple for months, if not years, after completing the courses.
In addition to the content, the pedagogical approach employed in Ted and Paula’s team-taught courses is nothing short of transformational. Though the individual courses taught by each of them are remarkable in their own right, there is something almost magical about the team-taught courses. Ted and Paula are able to simultaneously graph out complex concepts and ideas on the board, facilitate class dialogue, and assist students with note-taking, use of the texts, and conceptualization of the material all at the same time – it is an experience you must see to fully appreciate! In an environment marked by meaningful challenge and sufficient support, Ted and Paula’s team-taught courses provide a safe, yet challenging, environment that both inspires and prepares students for upper-division collegiate work, as well as the complex demands of adulthood.
In fact, it was these very courses that inspired me to pursue advanced collegiate work and, most importantly, helped me to acquire the tools foundational to such an endeavor. Though I had initially enrolled at Columbia College with the intention of leaving academia once I had earned a two-year degree, my aspirations were dramatically changed over the course of my studies with Ted and Paula. After leaving Columbia, I went on to complete a BA at UC Santa Cruz, a MSc at SOAS, University of London, and am currently pursuing a PhD at Cornell University. None of this would have been possible had I not been fortunate enough to take classes with Ted and Paula.
And, finally, given the times in which we live – increasingly uncertain and unstable unemployment along with greater and more consequential challenges associated with adulthood – it is critical that higher education prepare people to navigate the challenges, ambiguities, and uncertainties of contemporary life. More than any other course I have encountered, Ted and Paula’s courses provide the opportunity for such preparation – not to mention intellectual engagement, excitement, and inspiration. I highly recommend these courses!
Shane Casebeer: Unfortunately when I attended Columbia College, the option to take a team-taught class from Ted and Paula was not available. Nonetheless, I have worked collaboratively with both a number of times, such as writing a midterm that integrated three of their classes. Thus, I feel qualified to speak about these classes as a rare opportunity to have an invaluable collegiate experience. Indeed, I attribute much of my post-Columbia academic success to having had opportunities in working with both of these professors. I graduated Sigma Cum Laude from UCSC and was recently accepted into one of the most competitive MLIS graduate programs in the nation at the University of Washington. Suffice to say, taking classes such as these as taught by these professors are a first-rate and invaluable collegiate experience.
Patricia Horsthuis: The combining of the subjects was natural, as they went hand-in-hand to support the understanding of each other. But another outcome was a surprise to me: through these classes, I not only saw individuals grow intellectually, but also through the camaraderie in class, I saw them grow personally.