Kate Magargal portrait
  • Graduate Research Assistant, Anthropology Department

Teaching Philosophy

When reflecting on the work of my own teachers and professors, two teaching modes are thrown into contrast. The first teaching mode demands that the student intuit processual knowledge of the subject through lectures and problem sets. Classes in which this was the primary mode of learning were often difficult and opaque to me. The second mode still contained plenty of lecture-based class time, but the professors encouraged discussion, called on people, and frequently coursework involved novel experiences, such as field trips. Professors frequently talk about their own research and invite students to participate. As an undergraduate, I got involved with some of that research and was able to travel internationally to conduct fieldwork relating to my own research questions, followed by a series of forums where I presented my findings. I attribute much of my academic success as an undergraduate to professors who focused on encouraging me take initiative for my own college experience by revealing the ways in which they did so.

Now in the pursuit of an academic career, I often evaluate my personal motivations. I intend to continue on a career path that focuses on conducting research, however, I think the way I can contribute to other people’s success is as a teacher who helps people understand not just the content of our collective knowledge, but the process through which we develop that knowledge. Much research speaks to the success of active, learner-centered classrooms at any stage of an academic career. By structuring a course so students are required to practice good learning habits, students are also more likely to retain course content as well as understand the evidence that supports that content. This type of course structure helps students develop an ability to reflect on their own learning skills, which prepares them to not only continue pursuing their interests, but to also communicate those skills to future employers. I think the dual goals of research and teaching are intertwined, as one elevates the success and purpose of the other. In my career, I hope to develop courses that will engage students in topics about the human relationship to the environment through examination of- and participation in- research.

Courses I Teach

  • ANTH 1030 - World Prehistory
    TA for in-person section, Instructor for online section. Course Description: Introduction to the two-million-year-old archaeological record of human prehistory. This course is a broad introduction to the story of humanity prior to the advent of writing. Because we have no written words to account for many critical moments in our past, understanding human prehistory requires the discipline of archaeology to reconstruct past human behavior from the material remains our ancestors left behind. The course is divided into four parts designed to explain four keystone moments in human prehistory: how we 1) evolved, 2) colonized the planet), 3) domesticated wild resources, and 4) developed civilizations. Emphasis is placed on archaeological method and theory, human-environment interactions, scientific reasoning and hypothesis testing. Assignments are designed to sharpen student’s academic writing and critical thinking skills.
  • ANTH 4341 - Fundamentals of Archaeology
    TA. Course Description: Introduction to basic archaeological field and lab techniques through lec- tures, discussions, and field exercises.

Teaching Projects

  • Archaeological Investigations of Red Butte Creek. Project Lead: Tom Flanigan. Collaborators: Brian Codding, Kate Magargal. 09/05/2015 - present.
  • Lower Dolores Watershed Archaeological Project. Project Lead: Kate Magargal. Collaborators: Brian Codding. 03/09/2015 - present.