Teaching Statement and Teaching Evaluation

I take pride in my teaching and advising.  It gives me great satisfaction to be able to inspire my students to think about what is ethical and right in politics.  I seek to introduce my students to writings of the most thoughtful and influential political theorists.  My teaching connects these readings with important debates in politics and public policy.  I then encourage my students to develop their own views, and to improve their skills as speakers in class conversation and as writers in their essays.

I have extensive experience teaching both advanced and introductory courses in political theory.  I co-teach the courses "Justice and the University," "The Spirit of Democracy," and "Inventing Government" at Stanford University.  At Princeton University, I taught the “Senior Thesis Seminar” for the Program in Values and Public Life.  I also designed and taught the courses “Global Justice” and “Democratic Theory and Globalization” when I was a Ph.D student at Brown University.  Based on my teaching performance, I was the first instructor in political science to win an honorable mention for the university-wide Archambault Teaching Award.

I have earned outstanding evaluations as a teaching assistant for seven courses in political theory and political science, including “Introduction to Political Thought: Plato to Marx,” “Modern Political Thought: Hobbes to Rawls,” and “The Ethics and Economics of the Wealth of Nations.”  My evaluations were among the top in my department in every measure of teaching effectiveness, such as skill in teaching difficult material, enthusiasm for the course, and helpfulness outside of class.  Given my background, I would be highly qualified to teach courses in political theory, democratic theory, global justice, theories of economic justice, ethics and public policy, the theory of human rights, and the history of political thought.  In the history of political thought, I am especially interested in liberalism, rights, and the philosophy of Kant, Locke, and Madison.  

I have included below, as evidence of teaching success, the student qualitative evaluations for my performance as the teaching assistant in the courses "Modern Political Thought," "Prosperity: the Ethics and Economics of the Wealth of Nations," and "Introduction to Political Thought."  

Department of Political Science qualitative student evaluations for "Modern Political Thought: Hobbes to Rawls" (spring 2013).


POLS1030-S01: Ly, Minh Vy(TA): Minh was fantastic, one of the best TA's I've ever had at Brown. He taught hard issues well; he did a great job of clarifying difficult ideas; he was very responsive to student questions inside and outside of class; and, he passionately engaged with students who were interested in the course material. One time, after class, we talked for ten minutes about some of my thoughts on what we were covering, and it was one of the best conversations I'd had with a professor for a while. He was interested; he raised issues; and he seemed genuinely concerned in my own intellectual development as a student in political theory. Minh is great, and he deserves a raise, regardless of what he is being paid now.

POLS1030-S01: Ly, Minh Vy(TA): Minh was great! He knew the material really well and was always willing to entertain any question no matter how basic. He's also very friendly!

POLS1030-S01: Ly, Minh Vy(TA): Minh Ly is the best TA I've come across this year. Absolutely fantastic during section and extremely knowledgeable.

POLS1030-S01: Ly, Minh Vy(TA): Funny, approachable, explains the material well and relates it to real life circumstances

POLS1030-S01: Ly, Minh Vy(TA): Minh was an excellent TA. He had a deep understanding of all the thinkers we covered and was always up for a discussion about their ideas. His sections were engaging, and his feedback on our papers was thoughtful (and prompt!). He always made himself available for office hours.

POLS1030-S01: Ly, Minh Vy(TA): Minh was available and wrote helpful comments in essays. He knows the material very well. Very intelligent.

POLS1030-S01: Ly, Minh Vy(TA): Minh was excellent and his feedback was extremely helpful. He clearly took a lot of time carefully evaluating papers, and gave thorough feedback on all of them. When I disagreed with a particular grade I was given and requested to meet with Minh, he responded promptly, and his explanation of the reasoning behind the grade was very helpful. I would say he's the most invested, helpful and passionate TA at Brown I've had so far.

POLS1030-S01: Ly, Minh Vy(TA): Best TA i have had at Brown. Always willing to help and had a perfect understanding of the material.

POLS1030-S01: Ly, Minh Vy(TA): As mentioned above, Minh was great. Really one of the most knowledgeable TAs I've had for a class. He was extremely willing to talk outside of class, and always asked for my feedback after lectures/section -- feedback which he would subsequently incorporate into lectures/section. His commentary on my papers was always thorough and helpful. Great job, Minh!




2. Department of Political Science qualitative student evaluations for "Prosperity: The Ethics and Economics of the Wealth of Nations" (fall 2013).


POLS1150-S01: Ly, Minh Vy(TA): Incredibly sharp guy, cuts through fluffy arguments with a knife

POLS1150-S01: Ly, Minh Vy(TA): Minh made it a point to get everyone in the discussion and I think he did a great job generating a conversation.

POLS1150-S01: Ly, Minh Vy(TA): Excellent knowledge of the subject and great willingness to explain concepts during the sessions. Very enthusiastic and extremely helpful outside the class settings.

POLS1150-S01: Ly, Minh Vy(TA): Minh taught section very well, and was very knowledgeable in every aspect of POLS. He answered questions students had happily and completely. He challenged students to really know the material by asking their opinions and stimulating conference discussion.

POLS1150-S01: Ly, Minh Vy(TA): Minh was very good about allowing all opinions in section and helped to elaborate on course material so we could get a better understanding. He was also available outside of class to help.

POLS1150-S01: Ly, Minh Vy(TA): I love Minh! He was always extremely busy but he always made time for any student who needed help. He was so enthusiastic in section; he inspired me and really helped improve my understanding of course material with his quick mind and good communication skills.

POLS1150-S01: Ly, Minh Vy(TA): Minh was a brilliant, patient, generally excellent section leader. He was always able to facilitate interesting conversations that involved everyone and made us truly feel comfortable speaking. He always had a helpful response even if our contributions weren't fully formed--I felt comfortable participating even when I didn't feel like I had an expert opinion. He was very available and helpful outside of class!

POLS1150-S01: Ly, Minh Vy(TA): One of the best TAs i have had, very helpful, approachable and clear. Always well prepared, enthusiastically approaches and encourages discussions.

POLS1150-S01: Ly, Minh Vy(TA): He is the best!

POLS1150-S01: Ly, Minh Vy(TA): I loved being in Minh's class - he was a fantastic grader of essays and was always constructive and objective in leading discussions.

POLS1150-S01: Ly, Minh Vy(TA): TA taught in a clear and concise manner, often using graphical breakdowns of course concepts.




3. Department of Political Science qualitative student evaluations for "Introduction to Political Thought: Plato to Marx" (spring 2012).


POLS0110-S01: Ly, Minh Vy: Was very good at leading discussion sections and finding a balance between student participation and lecturing.

POLS0110-S01: Ly, Minh Vy: Minh was an excellent T.A., and it was left mostly to him to clarify difficult arguments and complicated texts that were left unexplained in lecture. He was a great facilitator of discussion and was also incredibly helpful in answering questions and elaborating on responses. Each week, going to section was imperative for me to feel like I understood the material we were reading, because lecture hardly clarified main arguments and points.

POLS0110-S01: Ly, Minh Vy: Great facilitator, always held discussion.

POLS0110-S01: Ly, Minh Vy: Minh was a great TA. He was good at encouraging discussion, and his comments were helpful.

POLS0110-S01: Ly, Minh Vy: Minh was an amazing TA. He was extremely helpful outside of class: both in office hours and via email. I found that his guidance really helped me when writing my papers. Additionally, his enthusiasm made section fun.

POLS0110-S01: Ly, Minh Vy: Good discussion leader and helpful with paper writing.

POLS0110-S01: Ly, Minh Vy: The best TA I've ever had at Brown. Very accessible, responsive, and friendly. Gave great critiques.

POLS0110-S01: Ly, Minh Vy: Minh is by far the most inspirational, effective T.A. I have had so far. I got just as much out of section - if not more - as I did out of lecture.

Minh Ly Statement of Teaching Philosophy and Evaluations286 KB