About Your Instructor

Winter 2015


Hi, I’m David Osborn, a faculty member in the University Studies department.

In addition to teaching at Portland State I am actively involved in social movements and in assisting organizations with facilitation, strategic planning and group process. I have previously worked with non-profits and in electoral politics. My own community engagement work currently focuses on social change and justice issues in regards to climate change.

My Teaching Philosophy

I strive to create a participatory learning community in the classroom in which students can claim agency over their education. Agency in the context of education means that students recognize that they can and should be the ones shaping their educational experience in collaboration with others involved in the university such as instructors and act accordingly. As part of this I believe that all participants in a course, not only the instructor, have valuable knowledge, insight and analysis to contribute as co-learners. Furthermore, I believe that students should be part of selecting the topics of inquiry in collaboration with the instructor. This insures that not only do we pursue topics which the class is interested in and passionate about but also that we are selecting topics that are relevant and important based on the perspective of all participants in the course.

Part of this requires that we name, acknowledge and intentionally engage the systems of oppression and domination that exist in our society and which shape our lived experiences, our interactions with each other, what we know and how we hold that knowledge. We must be thoughtful about how we engage each other in the classroom so as not to replicate patterns of oppression. Given these realities, among others, creating a truly participatory and egalitarian learning environment is not possible, however, it is a goal to which we still strive toward. In intentionally engaging and acknowledging these realities we can move as close as possible to creating a participatory learning environment. If there are ever ways that I can create an anti-oppression environment in the class beyond what I try and do please do not hesitate to let me know.

I have structured the course in an intentional fashion in order to foster this learning community and student agency in claiming your education. The course will not only be discussion driven, but the shape and form of the discussion will be directed by students as much as possible. Students will be deeply involved in assessing their performance and learning over the course of the term and selecting their grade. Lastly, course assignments will encourage a reflective learning practice that facilitates a deeper processing of course concepts and which encourages connection to real world issues. This structure is reflective of a commitment to the values of democracy, horizontalism in the classroom, decentralization and a rich form of participation, which I hope will provide for a dynamic learning experience.

When and Where to Contact

The best way to contact me is by email at dosborn [at] pdx.edu.

Also, come visit me in person in the University Studies office, Cramer Hall 117.


Previous Instructors – Summer 2014


Photo on 10-1-13 at 10.35 AM

Hi, I’m Daneen Bergland, a faculty member in the University Studies department and also an alumna of PSU. I earned my M.A. in Writing here. I am a published poet, and I’ve been teaching expository and creative writing to college students since 2004.

In my previous career I worked at non-profits, in the legal system, and at government agencies assisting victims of violence, neglect, and fraud.

My own community engagement work currently focuses on social change and justice issues in the education system. I am an active volunteer and organizer at my child’s school and an engaged member of the full time faculty union at PSU.

My Teaching Philosophy

As an instructor I value curiosity, creativity, problem-solving, self-reflection, and experimentation. I see our class as a learning community where we are all contributing ideas and constructing knowledge. I see my role in this community as one of curator of information, coach, and facilitator. My goal is to have students stretch themselves and risk failure; I’m most interested in what they learned in the process. Because my area of study and expertise is writing, my other goal is to have students learn how to write something that is clear and well-supported, as well as interesting. As much as possible, I want to encourage collaboration as a learning/writing community. I try to offer challenge and support in equal measure.  I enjoy answering questions and watching your progress!

When and Where to Contact

The best way to contact me is using D2L mail. I typically respond to d2l messages within 24 hours (response times may be longer on weekends). To send a message to me or anyone else in the class, click on People on the dark green navigation bar at the top of our course, then click on Classlist. Click on the person’s name you want to message. This will open up a message box. Make sure you click send before closing.

To access your mailbox and check messages, click on the pointy envelope icon in the black bar at the top of your D2L screen.

Please feel free to chat with me through instant message if you ever see me available in gmail. I am generally online M – F from 8:30 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.

Also, come visit me in person during my weekly office hours, Wednesdays, 9 – 11 a.m. in University Studies, Cramer Hall 117.

Where Else to Get Help

You can also post general course questions to the Discussion topic “General Course Questions”. This is an open forum for you to “raise your hand” and help each other out.

Please remember that if you have any technical difficulties with D2L to contact the D2L helpdesk at (503) 725-HELP or by clicking the D2L help button in the green banner at the top of your D2L screen.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s