Below is a description of the courses I have taught, teaching evaluations, awards and recognitions for teaching, and publications related to teaching and learning.

Teaching Evaluation


These are key evaluative elements for each of the courses I taught as primary instructor at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill (UNC). I include the average for the Division of Social and Behavioral Sciences from fall 2017 as a comparison.


I also taught this past spring at Washington University in St. Louis (WashU). Their course evaluation system is primarily based on short answer questions, but I have provided comparable values on the metrics measured. Where possible, I include a comparison to the school’s average scores on these measures.


Introduction to Sociology Through Film

The goals for this course are to understand sociological concepts and social processes through reading and class discussion and developing new perspectives that will allow you to form fresh insights from the books, films, music, and interactions that surround you every day. Together we will study how systems of power operate and produce inequalities. We will also consider the ways individuals and groups experience and at times confront and even change those inequalities. To achieve these goals, we will begin by examining the complex social structures that emerge from human interactions. We will them consider a variety of issues and institutions such as race, class, gender, the educational system, and the justice system. We will focus this semester on developing our sociological imaginations and using that lens to understand the world in new ways. By the end of this course, I hope that you will see the familiar in an unfamiliar way, question what you used to take for granted, and see how social construction operates.

The unique part of this course is that we will apply sociological concepts, theories, ideas, practices, and understandings to film. In this course, you won’t only learn ideas, but also use them immediately to make sense of the world on screen. We will then extend this applied learning beyond the screen to the real world outside of the film. (Winter 2018)

Social Movements

Why do people protest and form collectives as they seek social change? Although collective action is uncommon, social movements like Black Lives Matter occur, and often involve protest, riots, and/or legal action as groups seek change. Why in some cases do people protest but primarily they do not? When they do, how do social movements work? Why do some movements succeed, while others fail? In this course, we will explore many elements of social movements including the origins, dynamics, and consequences using a sociological lens. We will examine the following topics: social movement emergence, social movement recruitment and participation, the role of the media, social movement strategies and tactics, and the outcomes— both success and failure—of social movements. We will also have the opportunity to engage with movement actors and observe protests. (Fall 2019, Fall 2017, Spring 2017, Spring 2014, Sumer 2014)

Social and Economic Justice

In this course we will analyze issues of justice from multiple perspectives, including the social and economic aspects that often come into conflict. We will examine issues such as those pertaining to human rights, race, class, and gender inequality, environmental inequality, civic and political participation, access to healthcare, policing and criminal justice, and economic development. We will draw on scholarship from various disciplines to form a theoretical basis for understanding these issues. By the end of this course, I hope that you will be able to critique the bases for social justice, complicate the strongly held views you entered with on what is “just,” and engage issues that arise from multiple perspectives and theoretical foundations. (Summer 2016, Fall 2016)

Teaching Awards

Tanner Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching

Each year, five Tanner Awards are given to graduate students in recognition of excellence in undergraduate teaching. Faculty nominate graduate students who have displayed effective pedagogy as well as outstanding commitment to teaching and student success. Nominations include letters from faculty and students as well as course evaluations and other evidence of teaching excellence. (2018)

Center for Faculty Excellence Graduate Student Fellow

This highly selective position is given to graduate students with teaching and pedagogical experience. Fellows advance the mission of the Center through teaching and learning, research, leadership, and mentoring initiatives. In this position, I worked on two University-wide initiatives; one focused on defining and incorporating experiential learning into the strategic plan of the University and one to create training and interventions for a tool that allows instructors to examine student outcomes by sociodemographic characteristics (e.g., race/ethnicity, first generation status, etc.).

SAGE Teaching Innovations & Professional Development Award

This selective award is intended for early career instructors to welcome them into the Teaching and Learning community. Awardees are provided a stipend and invited to attend the ASA Section on Teaching & Learning’s pre-conference workshop to prepare a new generation of leaders in the sociology “teaching movement.” (2017)

Wilson Award for Excellence in Teaching, UNC Department of Sociology

The Everett K. Wilson Teaching Award recognizes graduate students that have demonstrated an excellence in teaching. Award winners have full responsibility for teaching an undergraduate course and are nominated based on official course evaluations, creative and innovative teaching methods and content, and promise as an educator. (2015)

Future Faculty Fellowship: Training Evidence-based Teaching Practices, UNC Center for Faculty Excellence

The Future Faculty Fellowship is a selective program for graduate students committed to teaching. The program includes a financial award and a semester-long training in evidence-based teaching practices. (2015)

Writing on Teaching and Learning

Gaby, Sarah. “Social Movement and Institution Interactions.” Teaching Resources and Innovations Library for Sociology. (Revise and Resubmit).

The Teaching Resources and Innovations Library for Sociology is a peer-reviewed database for publishing class activities and resources. “Social Movement and Institution Interactions” is a comprehensive course activity that can be adapted and utilized by other instructors. Social movement actors interact with various types of institutions as they seek to leverage challenges. Commonly, these include federal and local governments, corporations, and the media. In this simulation, students act as either social movement actors or institutional representatives and use role sheets to enact a simulated negotiation process. This activity allows students to build connections between theories on how movements challenge, utilize, and engage with institutions and practice. In addition, students develop persuasive skills and gain exposure to various viewpoints.

Gaby, Sarah and Howard E. Aldrich. 2016. “Broadening Student Learning with Laptops.” In Barbi Honeycutt (ed.) Flipping the College Classroom: Practical Advice from Faculty. Madison: Magna Publications.

In this piece, we develop specific guidelines for instructor-guided laptop use in the classroom. Using experiences from various courses, we demonstrate that the pedagogical payoff of strategically utilizing technology in the classroom exceeds the risk of misuse that led to banning these devices. We argue that instead of asking whether computers are beneficial or disruptive in classrooms, instructors should ask, “In what ways can technology bolster my teaching goals and objectives?” We provide several adoptable strategies for enhancing teaching and learning through technology.

Gaby, Sarah and Didem Türkoğlu. 2016. “Enacting Learning: Role Play as an Active Learning Strategy.” Teaching/Learning Matters.

While across college campuses great efforts are being made to incorporate service and experiential learning into classrooms with varying success, much less attention has been paid to the innovative ways that experiential education can penetrate student experiences inside the classroom. Utilizing experiences across several courses, we draw out the values of role play and simulation as a form of active learning that offers an innovative, student-run way to make personal connections to the curriculum, gain academic skills, and participate in collective debate and decision-making.