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SARAH E. JAMES

PhD Candidate in Government &

Social Policy

Harvard University

 

ABOUT

I am a sixth year PhD Candidate in the Social Policy and Government PhD program at Harvard University. I have several interests related to inequality, education, and American social policy. I study the state politics of social policy, and political responses to policy failure. I also explore contemporary political mobilization and organization among new constituencies.

I am a fellow in the Multidisciplinary Program in Inequality & Social Policy, and a graduate affiliate of the Institute for Quantitative Social Science.  

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RESEARCH

POLITICAL DYNAMICS OF POLICY FAILURE

My dissertation book project, When is Hindsight 20/20?, studies the conditions under which public officials are willing to recognize and respond to policy failure, particularly as it relates to social policies.

CIVIC ENGAGEMENT & POLITICAL MOBILIZATION

I study the civic engagement and political mobilization of new constituencies. I am also interested in components of effective civic education and the and effects of civics education on subsequent political involvement of students and their communities.

EDUCATION POLICY & REFORM

My research examines the ways in which the unique history and structure of the American education system impact innovation, policy making and reform.

EFFECTIVE PEDAGOGY IN THE SOCIAL SCIENCES

My research on pedagogy and instruction examines strategies for improving students' ability to read and write in the social sciences.

 

TEACHING & ADVISING

TEACHING PHILOSOPHY

I believe that excellent teaching is learner-centered and organized around teaching both skills and content. Even more specifically, I believe it is essential to teach writing and reading explicitly in social science classes. Doing so both enhances the chance that all students, regardless of prior preparation, feel successful and grow academically, and provides students with valuable skills they can apply to new tasks once the class concludes.

UNDERGRADUATE COURSES

I have taught over 15 courses at Harvard, and have won both the Bok Teaching Award and the Sid Verba Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Education.

GRADUATE COURSES & INSTRUCTINOAL COACHING

I redesigned the Government department's teaching fellow training when it was converted into an official course. I also coached teaching fellows on developing curriculum, planning instruction, and managing section.

ADVISING & MENTORING

In addition to teaching, I value mentoring students one-on-one in research and general academic progress. I have advised several senior theses and served as a concentration advisor for 4 years. My peers awarded me the first annual Graduate Student Association Peer Mentoring Award in 2019.

 

PERSONAL

I grew up moving around Central and South America with my family for my dad's job as a Foreign Area Officer in the U.S. Army.  As a result I love traveling abroad (because I always have) and throughout the US (to learn more about the country I spent so little time in growing up).  

I also enjoy all things related to amazing food.  I experienced autumn for the first time after moving to Boston, and I particularly enjoy cooking with the ingredients native to New England during that time of year. My adventurous husband, curious daughter, and rambunctious golden retriever keep me busy when I am not teaching, researching or writing. We are on a family mission to visit every Presidential Museum & Library, and are about halfway there.

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SARAH E. JAMES

1737 Cambridge St., Cambridge, MA 02138