I started teaching at Pierce College in 1996. But this story begins in 1990 when I was an undergraduate at UCLA. I started college as a pre-law, political science student but found myself really enjoying my Afro-American Studies courses I was taking as electives. I took so many Black Studies courses that it just made sense for me to change my major. Boy, you should have seen my Mom and Dad’s faces when I told them I was changing from pre-law to a Afro-American Studies major. My Mom’s exact words: “Eric, you are Black. What else do you need to know?” LOL!
Well, there was lots to know about myself as a Black man and even more to know about the richness of African American culture. My interest in ethnic studies, cross-cultural communication and sociology was officially sparked so there was no turning back! While an undergrad at UCLA, I started a program entitled, RAP 101. The concept was simple: use popular hip-hop music as a catalyst for discussion and debate on important social issues. Each week featured a different song. I played the song, “Me So Horny” and we debated censorship. The next week, I play “F— tha Police” and we talked about police brutality and racism. Another week, I would play “Acknowledge Your History” and the group would brainstorm solutions to combat the lack of diversity in history books. Week after week we would tackle different social issues. This RAP 101 model has become my signature and will be the foundational format for all of the classes I teach at Bellevue College.
Back to Pierce College circa 1996… After graduating from UCLA in 1993, I polished my presentation skills and started taking RAP 101 on the road. The folks at Pierce found me because of my RAP 101 website–which listed my bachelors degree in Afro-American Studies. The Humanities Division was looking to bring back a course entitled, “Black Thought and Culture” and asked me to give it a go. The rest is history! From Black Thought and Culture I went on to teach Ethnic Thought and Culture there at Pierce College. That led to an opportunity to teach Multicultural Communication at Cascadia Community College and Introduction to Multicultural Studies at Shoreline. Sprinkle in a section of Race and Ethnic Relations at Tacoma CC and Sociology of Diversity at Highline and my teaching resume suddenly got quite diversified.
When not teaching, I play on a men’s baseball team and spend hours under my iPhone headphones listening to Hip-Hop, World Music, Soul, Jazz and Old School R&B. My favorite artists include Michael Franti and Spearhead, The Roots, N.E.R.D., Prince and Sade. My iTunes collection includes everything from Public Enemy to the Carpenters; Billy Idol to Billie Holiday; and a diversity of other stuff in between.
My classroom teaching style is student-centered. This means that I approach the course with student learning in mind. I do all I can to make each and every class session compelling–so compelling that you don’t want to miss even one day! In exchange for all of my creative efforts to “edu-tain,” I expect students to come to class prepared, attentive and ready to demonstrate critical thinking. I see myself as a facilitator of student learning. I am there in the classroom to set the tempo, guide the discussions and pose the right questions at the right time. When done right, this student-centered teaching style makes for a wonderful learning experience!
Please join me in class!
COURSES ERIC TEACHES AT BC
Introduction to Sociology; Blacks in America; Sports in Society; Television, Culture and Society; Education in the 21st Century; Sociology of Race & Ethnicity; Interdisciplinary Studies (IDS): Show Me the Money