Teaching Statement

I have taught a wide variety of classes to an even more varied collection of students, and these experiences have led me to a teaching philosophy that focuses on the interests of the students and their individual desire to explore and excel. In the classroom, I foster critical thinking and media literacy, or the skills needed to evaluate, analyze, understand, and contribute to our increasingly interconnected social environment; as a research mentor, I encourage my students to bring their lives into their research in order to affect students inside and outside of the classroom. My graduate education in Psychology, Communication, and Critical Studies has prepared me to teach introductory courses in Psychology and Communication and advanced courses including Research Methods, Statistics, Social Psychology, Interpersonal Relations, Media Studies, and Health Communication.

I served as a Teaching Assistant at USC’s School of Cinematic Arts, Annenberg School for Communication, and Department of Psychology. This past fall, I taught General Psychology (for non-psych majors) at Loyola Marymount University, and I will be teaching a graduate level course at USC in the spring for the Masters of Human Behavior Program (MHB) entitled, “Psychology of Interactive Media.” My lectures revolve around real world examples, an approach that often crosses disciplinary boundaries in order to critically address more complex, real world questions. My assignments range from investigating current events from specific theoretical perspectives, to collecting and analyzing data to assess the generalizability of personal experiences; this approach ensures that students become actively involved in the information and demonstrate more than simple memorization of theories and concepts.

For three years, I also worked as an instructor and mentor through USC’s McNair Scholars Program, a federally funded program encourages high achieving undergraduates from underrepresented backgrounds to pursue research and graduate school. This unique position featured a wide range of instructional settings that included large classroom lectures where I was responsible for classes in Proposal Writing, Research Methods, and Introductory Statistics, small group sessions addressing specific concerns of social science research, and one-on-one mentoring with emerging scholars conducting graduate level research projects in Psychology, Sociology, Communication, Political Science, American Studies, Law, Journalism, and Engineering. I personally mentored over twenty McNair Scholars, and many of my students have gone on to publish their research and pursue prestigious Ph.D. programs nationwide. In the spring, I will be working as an instructor and mentor with LMU’s newly funded McNair Program through the Seaver College of Science and Engineering.


I have earned the reputation of being firm but fair; I outline my expectations at the start of a course, encourage students to consider their research from the first day, and dedicate myself to ensuring that students meet and exceed requirements while learning more about themselves. My interdisciplinary background is also an asset with a younger generation of scholars interested in tackling topics from multiple angles; I believe that a robust understanding of a student’s main discipline can create an academic backbone by which they can systematically investigate and integrate related information from other fields.

My passion for teaching psychology and communication began as an undergraduate at MIT with independent projects designed to increase media literacy. I taught a 6-week course for students aged 11-14 entitled “MTV: An Analytical History” to encourage students to think critically about television and entertainment. Topics included the development, expansion, and current status of the network, as well as a critical reading of several programs. I also collaborated with the MIT Media Lab and the Boys and Girls Clubs of Boston to spearhead The Jigsaw Project, a summer program where students aged 9-14 learned to shoot and edit their own movies in order to develop media literacy through production. Early in my academic career, these endeavors helped me realize the importance of a close working relationship with students.

Overall, my approach to teaching draws from my experiences as a researcher, a teacher, and a lifelong student. I encourage a combination of interdisciplinary exploration, rigorous research methods, and personal interest; I believe that individual inspiration is the difference between good student and great scholar, and essential to developing critical thinkers and leaders.

Teaching Ratings and Quotes

  • Fall 2012 – LMU PSYC 100: General Psychology (Instructor, 30 students; Ratings Pending)
    • I really enjoyed having you this past semester, I had no idea it was your first semester as a professor – you were awesome.
  • 2008 – 2011 – Instructor, Mentor: USC McNair Scholars
    • Thanks to McNair and to Ms. Charisse I feel prepared to start my next venture. I can’t thank you enough Charisse, you whipped me into tiptop shape. THANKS! (Adam Perez)
  • Spring 2010 – USC COMM 301: Empirical Research (Small Group Lab: Rating 4.25 out of 5)
    • Charisse is really helpful. She has a weekly meeting with each of the groups and we get a lot done. During these meetings, she helps us with some of the more difficult aspects of the project.
    • She is very helpful and makes herself available to us.  She also keeps us ahead of the game and makes sure that we understand everything.
  • Spring 2009 – USC PSYC 359: Interpersonal Relations (No Discussion Section, 3.89/5)
    • I enjoyed how she incorporated her research in with the class.
    • A lot of visuals on her lectures. Videos and clips were very helpful and tied in effectively with the lecture topic.
    • TAs like her are very rare! She is an asset to the Psychology Department.
  • Fall 2008 – USC PSYC 359: Interpersonal Relations (No Discussion Section, No Ratings)
  • Spring 2008 – USC PSYC 355: Introduction to Social Psychology (No Discussion Section, 4.01/5)
  • Fall 2007 – USC PSYC 336: Developmental Psychology (2 Discussion Sections, 4.51/5)
  • Spring 2006 – USC CTCS 191: Introduction to Television (1 Discussion Section, 7.6/10)
    • We actually discussed, it was an active environment and Charisse always followed up with additional information.
    • It was organized and structured, yet we were allowed to have an open discussion and share our opinions.
  • Fall 2005 – USC CTCS 469: Style of Spielberg (No Discussion Section, No Ratings)

USC McNair Scholars

  1. Shamell Bell (Anthropology, American Studies & Ethnicity, History): The Jerk ‘Movement’: Aesthetics and Identity in an Emergent Youth Dance Form
  2. Apollo Emeka (Sociology): The Dawn of Integration and the Foundation for a Color-Blind Perspective Among Blacks
  3. Thaimi Fina (Psychology): Some Wounds Never Heal: A Gender-Specific Analysis of Bullying Effects
  4. Bryson Gauff (Biomedical Engineering) :A Biomechanics Study on the Variability of Lower Extremity Joint Angles in the Sagittal Plane
  5. Reza Ghassemi (Civil Engineering): Transitioning to Integrated Project Delivery: Strategies to Overcome Barriers
  6. Nathaniel Gonzalez (Sociology, Psychology, Philosophy): Negotiating Boundaries at a Secular University: Religious Pluralism and the Evangelical Christian Identity
  7. Nicole Grant-Moody (Law, Psychology): Are We There Yet?: Preschool Children’s Understanding of Approximation Using the Word “Almost”
  8. Whitney Griffin (Critical Studies): The People’s Champion: Positioning the Multiracial Actor in the Action Genre
  9. Keshia Groves (Psychology): Attitudes Towards Dating on a College Campus
  10. Erika Humphries (Policy, Planning & Development): Mitigating the Barriers Associated with Mothers Entering Post-Secondary Education Programs
  11. Keyaira Kelly (Communication, English): Disconnected Connections: Do communication technologies vary in their intimacy among college students?
  12. Daija Lewis (Communication): The Melodies of the Black Soul in Diverse America: Attitudes Toward R&B, Rap, and Black Life
  13. Aissa Llontop (Psychology): From the Bronx to Tokyo: Hip-Hop Dance Connecting Japanese Youth
  14. Andrea Martinez (Political Science, Psychology, Chicano Studies): The Effect of Framing on Emotion and Policy Opinion: An Investigation of the Illegal Immigration Issue
  15. Vladimir Medenica (Political Science, Psychology): Posting Political Participation: Young Voter Political Engagement on Social Networking Sites
  16. Breanna Morrison (Policy, Planning & Development): How Community Involvement Affects Public Housing Redevelopment Projects in Los Angeles Case Study: Jordan Downs Redevelopment Project
  17. Natali Nunez (Health Promotion & Disease Prevention): The Efficacy of Dental Sealants: A Meta-Analysis; * Served as Faculty Advisor
  18. Abisola Oseni (Psychology): Differences in Perceptions Regarding Parent Child Interaction
  19. Victor Paredes-Colonia (Economics, International Relations): China’s Courtship of Chile: Implications for the Sino-Latin American-U.S. Triangle
  20. Adam Perez (Journalism): From White to Brown: Latino Racial Identity in post WWII Los Angeles
  21. Benjamin Rodriguez (Theater): Theatre and the City: How Los Angeles Affects its Contemporary Stage
  22. Erica Silva (Political Science): Is Now the Time? Examining the Naturalization Process through Citizenship Assistance Workshops
  23. Julian Tarula (Political Science): Representing America: The Effects of Descriptive Representation on Political Participation
  24. Ashley Williams (Journalism, International Relations, Spanish): Connecting Television Network News to the College Aspirations Of African American High School Students
  25. Suzanne Williams (Health Promotion & Disease Prevention): Television and Its Effects on Contraceptive Use in Young Adults


About charisselpree

The Media Made Me Crazy
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