I have developed my teaching at Sciences Po, both as a Main Lecturer and as a Seminar Lecturer in a variety of courses in the field of Political Science, Comparative Politics, Game Theory applied to Political Science, and Research design. All these courses have been imparted in the English track of the Sciences Po program and at the Marie Curie Doctoral Training Program, also in English.
My pedagogical approach can be boiled down to a key fact: students learn best through active learning which starts by an analytical understanding of the political science topic. I thus consider that lectures oriented to provide an analytical and research-based approach are fundamental to open up the learning and critical thinking skills that students need to apply to the fact-based study, including the interpretation of results from secondary literature using quantitative or qualitative analyses, as well as the use of methods in their own Master or Ph.D. dissertations. I also consider much relevant the supervision of students in their presentations and term papers and I offer generous office hours. Students, however, are asked (and in fact welcome) to come to see me with a research question in mind, an argument, and a basic “research design”. My research-led style of teaching allows students to learn how a research project is carried out from its design to its completion. I thus expect students to be active in the search for multiple resources for their essays and assignments. I teach students how to find proper resources online but also how relevant it is to make an academic literature review of a subject, as well as how to proceed in any other step of a research-based essay. Globally, this tutorship of students has been the richest reward in my teaching.
In all my courses of Introduction to Political Science and Comparative Politics, I followed a neo-institutionalist approach. Thus, the basic focus was the understanding of the effect of institutions on the behavior of political actors. The syllabus thus covered topics from the differences and similarities between presidential, semipresidential and parliamentary systems, to agenda-setting dynamics in legislative settings, fiscal federalism, as well as topics more focused on the voter, such as electoral participation and voting, collective action and new social movements and referendums. Readings and material for assignments for my courses largely refer to topics on European Comparative Politics. For selected topics, such as transitions to democracy, other regional areas are further privileged.
The assignments in the courses largely posit questions and topics covering essential themes of Comparative topics. Some examples of these questions are: “The relationship between party systems and European electoral systems”; “What is the power of the European Commission in EU legislative decision-making?”; “National welfare states and Europeanization”; “In western democracies, governments increasingly delegate executive tasks to specialized independent agencies. Discuss the motivation for agency delegation”.
My experience in teaching-related activities in Comparative Politics and European Politics was completed during my Marie Curie period with the chairing of an interdisciplinary seminar on the European Union in which I also often assumed the role of discussant or co-discussant, and leaded the debate.
I have also experience in teaching Quantitative Research Design to the PhD students of the Marie Curie Program, and Applied Game Theory in a course that was directed to Sciences Po Professors and to advanced PhD students.
My course in “Political Game Theory” at Sciences Po was specially designed to the application of game theory to problems of political science. The course was addressed both to graduate students and to junior scholars who, in the course of their own research, wished to evaluate, critique, or otherwise engage in formal-theoretic work, as well as those who anticipated using game theoretic models themselves. The course covered canonical games of complete and incomplete information that are widely used in all fields of political science. The structure of the course linked the explanation of abstract models with direct applications of these models in key representative topics of political science that have a prominent role in recent contributions to the literature. One of the key tenets I followed in the course was that participants in the course needed to engage in “active learning”. In this view, each session introduced an assigned “political science exercise” (from McCarty and Meirowitz’s Political Game Theory, 2007). Solutions to these exercises were then worked out in the next sessions, with an extensive discussion concerning the interpretation and the evaluation of the models presented in the exercises.
My objectives for further teaching experiences in this subfield will aim at introducing some fundamental changes regarding my previous teaching. These prospective changes mostly derive from my experience at EITM, Berkeley, 2013. A first change will be to use a greater variety of text books, and, in particular, Austin Smith and Banks’s Positive Political theory (2005), Patty and Penn's Social Choice and Legitimacy (2014) and Scott Gehlbach’s Formal Models of Domestic Politics (2013), as well as supporting texts covering mathematical reasoning in social sciences, such as Gill’s Essential Mathematics for Political and Social Research (2006). Perhaps, a more substantive change will be to increase the share of readings from journal articles, which present models attractive to students in their aim to produce themselves extensions of these models. Finally, a feature that is increasingly important in formal theory is the dialogue with statistical modeling. I thus wish to study in the courses models that incorporate statistical components in the models themselves and, specially, that provide testing strategies. My approach in this respect will be to focus on the concept of “Data Generating Process” when studying these connections (cf. Gailmard’s Statistical Modeling and Inference for Social Science, 2014).
Introduction to Comparative Politics
Bachelor program, Sciences Po, Paris. Spring term 2012
Introduction to Political Science
Bachelor Program, Sciences Po, Paris. Spring term 2011
Advanced Political Game Theory
Doctoral School, Sciences Po, Paris Fall and Spring terms 2011-12
Master in European Affaires, Sciences Po, Paris. Fall term 2011-12
Research Design in Quantitative Political Science
Marie Curie INCOOP Doctoral program. Paris workshop, September 2011.