Naomi T-T Levine


contact Naomi via naomit.tlevine[at]gmail[dot]com


Current Assignment

Naomi will not be teaching in the near future as she is now a Scientific Research Manager for PARI-GDI on the LASER PULSE Program.

This page holds information about previous teaching experience, Naomi’s teaching philosophy & praxis, as well as some notes on work she’s contributed to in order to share innovations in teaching with others.

Previous Teaching Assignments

COM114: Introduction to Presentational Speaking

Description: This is a general education requirement for all undergraduate students attending Purdue University. A personal emphasis I have when teaching this course is on delivery. As someone with a background in theatrical performance, professional public speaking, and competitive Speech & Debate, I have experienced the distinction between simply giving a monologue/speech and delivering those same lines/ideas with flourish.

Book Used: Morgan, M. & Hall, J., & Anderson, L. (2019). Presentations that Matter. Cincinnati, OH: Van-Griner Publishing.

COM102: Introduction to Communication Theory

Description: This course is one of three required courses for the Communication Studies major in the Brian Lamb School of Communication at Purdue University. A strong emphasis of this course is practicing applying theory. This emphasis is what has brought me back to instructing and being a teaching assistant for this course as often as my schedule would permit.

Book Used: A First Look at Communication Theory (10th edition) by Em Griffin, Andrew Ledbetter & Glenn Sparks (McGraw-Hill, 2018).

Commentary: In this Example of Naomi teaching COM102 from Maymester 2021, you will hear me discussing Muted Group Theory. This video lecture exists as part of a series of lectures delivered asynchronously to students taking this course for credit.

COM204: Critical Perspectives in Communication

Description: This course is one of three required courses for the Communication Studies major in the Brian Lamb School of Communication at Purdue University.

Book Used: None; this course relies on lectures and supplemental materials provided by the main lecturer.

COM324: Introduction to Organizational Communication

Description: Communication is a process through which we build social realities and engage with those around us, and it plays an essential role in organizations, both at the individual and systems level. Communication is integral to how we choose to organize, how a business operates, and how we study both. In addition to answering questions like, “What is an organization?” and “What is organizational communication?” this class will examine: (1) approaches to organizing; (2) perspectives on and critiques of organizations; as well as (3) special topics in organizational communication. In all of these areas, we will discuss, reflect on, and evaluate current research, theory, and practice in organizational communication. And as organizational communication is inherent in everyday life, this course will also provide you with the opportunity to apply course material to your experience beyond the classroom. I deeply enjoy teaching this course and place a strong emphasis on application, personal reflection, and creative imagination which asks students to use theory to simulate something new.

Book Used: Miller, K. (2015). Organizational communication: Approaches and processes (7th edition). Stamford, CT: Cengage Learning.

Commentary: In this Example of Naomi teaching COM324 from Fall semester 2020, you will hear me discussing Constitutive Approaches to Organizational Communication. This video lecture exists as part of a series of lectures delivered asynchronously to students taking this course for credit.

COM325: Interviewing Practices and Principles

Description: Communication is a process through which we build social realities and engage with those around us and interviews are an excellent way to gain an insight into the social realities of others. This course is designed to teach students about the breadth of what constitutes an interview and give them detailed knowledge of what it takes to prepare for an interview.

Commentary: I have professional beef with how interviewing is commonly taught in courses as it tends to make two grave mistakes. The first mistake courses about interviewing tend to make is thinking that it’s appropriate to just throw students off the deep end into an interview without talking about why someone would even do an interview, considering stylistic approaches, active listening, and how to structure an interview. To correct for this mistake, I spent the first few weeks of the course talking with my students about these principles of interviewing while demonstrating good interviews for students in the course. Following my insistence that being a good educator means being a bad magician, I am able to use the interviews I perform for them as a tool to point out techniques that might not have been noticed in order for it to be a skill that they can learn.

The second mistake is one that becomes more obvious later when scholars are reading ethnographies and research conducted by someone who didn’t have a good education in interviewing from someone who took the time to explain the higher level thinking behind the method: poor ethics, bad questions, and lazy analysis. In my course I’ve correct for this, again, by bringing students behind the curtain of performing an interview before ever asking them to do an interview. Students in my course get hands on experience with this by me asking them to bring me behind the curtains of their anticipated interviews via their interviewing plans where they have to walk me through their ethical consideration(s) regardless of the social proximity they have to their interviewee, teaching them about intercultural and interpersonal communication as a means to help them understand more about planned conversations, and walking them through how I plan my data management in anticipation of data analysis well before I even schedule my interviews.

While many of my students do not anticipate conducting an interview of any sort in their future careers, they have spoken positively of the utility of learning all that can (and does) go into interviews for them as prospective interviewees for jobs. Some have expressed that being taught interviewing in this way helped them feel more prepared to spot issues in job interviews and be able to confidently navigate those tricky questions, uncomfortable/unethical practices, and brain freezes they might experience when they go to interview for jobs after college.

Teaching Philosophy & Praxis

As a student, I sought spaces to be heard and philosophically play; I teach because I want to create this space for others. In a space like the one described, I see my role, as the teacher, as one of introducing students to concepts; showing them how I, and others, play with the concepts; and guide the them toward engaging in this kind of play with one another. I know I have fulfilled this when I see my students connecting the comments of their peers together and connecting their peer’s ideas with their own without prompting and when I am there as a sounding board for their ideas and to help guide them when they begin to feel unsure or lost while wrestling with a concept.

I believe that the purpose of education is to learn skills, theories, and jargon that was unknown or unfamiliar; be exposed to alternative perspectives on what is already known; and, practice applying that knowledge while in dialogue with one’s peers. Too often I have been in a classroom where I felt defeated by the knowledge I was being asked to learn and left wondering “of what use is knowledge that literally beats students down, leaves them stumbling bleary-eyed from classroom settings feeling humiliated, feeling as though they could easily be standing in a living room or bedroom somewhere naked with someone who has seduced them or is going to, who also subjects them to a process of interaction that humiliates, that strips them of their sense of value” (hooks, 1994, 65)? Learning is a vulnerable activity and, with the current system of commodifying and gamifying education, any mistakes in demonstrating learning are detrimental and demoralizing.

Students learn best when they are allowed to explore their individualized learning needs & desires and then having those needs & desires accommodated. As such, my goals when teaching are as follows:

In my own classrooms, I have seen the pursuit of these goals result in rich discussion among my students where they appeared to feel confident in taking risks with the questions and connections they shared. This in-class behavior has led students to submit written assignments that demonstrate a deep and nuanced text of understanding of the material through inventive connections and well supported claims. I sincerely believe that fostering a space and mindset of philosophical play, radical imagination, and vulnerable interrogation are great boons to student success and intellectual fulfillment.

G.I.F.T.S. (Great Ideas for Teaching Students)

These are from NCA 2022! I collaborated on these with Dr. Grace Lee and Dr. Amanda Lilly.

  1. “Using the Big Five Inventory to Examine Identity Concepts”: A teaching activity that uses the Big Five Inventory to help students understand identity. This activity uses self-concept and symbolic interactionism theories as a lens. The activity includes having students do outside work to explore how their identity may vary from how they perceive it to how their relationships impact their identity with others. Included in this is how communication behaviors and relational roles impact identity.
  2. “Verbal and Nonverbal Interplay”: There is a complex interplay between verbal and nonverbal messages when emotion is involved. While nonverbal cues of heightened emotions may be more difficult to conceal than verbal cues, the factors mentioned above that influence one’s appraisal of unexpected nonverbal behavior render both making sense of the behavior and responding to the behavior a complicated and sometimes challenging endeavor. Nonverbal behavior may function in any of the following ways:
    • Complement the verbal message
    • Accent/Emphasize the verbal message
    • Repeat the verbal message
    • Substitute for the verbal message
    • Contradict the verbal message