My passion for research is tied to my drive to share knowledge. One makes me better at the other. My first love and career goal was to teach history in secondary education, though once I had been bitten by the research bug I set my sights on academia. I am deeply committed to producing scholarship that is open, accessible, and engaging to a wide audience. I view the classroom as an opportunity to practice this commitment.
As a graduate student, I have been an Instructor in two online courses and served as a Teaching Assistant in two courses of the Integrative Arts and Humanities program at Michigan State. I inhereted my course, HST 250: The History of the Digital Age, from Ethan Watrall and have re-engineered it along my own interests over the last two years. The course is open acess and run under a creative commons license. In both Latin American and the World: Tensions of Empire and Nation under Edward Murphy, and The U.S. and the World under Malcolm Magee, I received excellent feedback and remarks from my students.
Student evaluations for IAH 203: Latin America and the World “My TA, Alex Galarza, has been the best TA I've had at MSU. He was very interested in his students performance, was caring, and had a great way to spark up discussion and get his students to think more in depth about the course's contents. He genuinely cared about the class.” “I loved having Alex as a TA. He was very knowledgeable and he was always fair. I felt comfortable approaching him with any questions that I had and I knew he would help. "I would highly recommend Alex Galarza for an excellence award. He really helped me understand all the concepts and ideas presented in lecture. You could tell he was really knowledgeable on the topics and cared about our understanding. He did a great job motivating the class to discuss the lectures and readings. I wouldn't have enjoyed or learned as much as I did if I didn't have Alex as my TA." "My graduate teaching instructor put many hours outside the classroom editing our essays and giving us feedback." "Alex approached the material in a very deliberate manner trying to make the class pull out the main points of an article but with specific main points already ready if the class failed to comprehend the significance of a reading. He never let us stray into the weeds of a discussion and was very efficient in keeping us on task. However, by letting us begin the discussion he could gauge where the class was having problems with the readings and how he could better emphasize some points that we weren't getting as well as we should have. By not starting off the discussion himself he never wasted time going over things we already knew. Class always finished on time without missing anything we needed to talk about. He also linked his analyses very well making his arguments easy to follow." "Alex was extremely helpful and genuinely cared about our progress in this course. Always available for help and guidance, definitely one of the best TA's I've ever had." "I think the way that Alex organized sections was really great. I liked how he had a start out with small group work for the first part of the semester and then later once we were more comfortable with eachother did class-wide discussions. Alex most definitely helped me become a better writer, and the sections we had preparing us for our papers were very helpful." "I would nominate both Ed Murphy and Alex Galarza for a Teaching Excellence Award. Both are clearly very interested in the subject of Latin America and presented the material with enthusiasm. It's clear they have a passion for the subject and made both the lecture and section interesting to learn, read and write about. The use of music, photographs, paintings and movies helped to understand the true nature of the culture we were studying as well as providing a visual idea of what the countries, people and cultures looked like. I would gladly take another class taught by either and have considered taking the class discussed by Alex for the summer semester. I came away from the class feeling knowledgeable about a subject I previously had not known about. It was an excellent class, made so by both the Instructor and the T.A."
Student evaluations for HST 250: History of the Digital Age "The intellectual content is phenomenal--I have learned a great deal of information about historical facts and elements surrounding the world of digital arts and technology. The lectures, assigned readings, writing assignments, and final research paper was appropriate for the intensity of the history-based course. Instructor seemed enthusiastic about teaching the material via pre-recorded videos."