Academic Courses

Dr. Castellanos began to teach core academic courses at UC Irvine in 1999. Today, she is a Professor of Teaching for the School of Social Sciences.  Dr. Castellanos has a passion for teaching and developing curriculum. In her time in academia, she has been asked to teach courses including: Research Methods,  Honors seminar,  Latina/o Families, Comparative Cultures, Multicultural Counseling, Minorities in Higher Education, and Multicultural Education.

Castellanos’ teaching experiences develop and continue to refine active and engaging strategies that promote effective teaching and meaningful learning. Much of her theoretical grounding is based on learner-centered, constructivist, sociocultural, and certain behaviorist approaches. Castellanos states that: “… students learn best when the professor effectively connects utility to learning. It is important to use students’ prior knowledge in the classroom. In addition, the use of a variety of instructional approaches including media, narratives, and storytelling is essential. Moreover, it is necessary to provide an intellectual challenge while supporting individual growth to maximize student development.”

Below, you will find several of Dr. Castellanos’ courses highlighted and her syllabi available for you to review.

Comparative Cultures
This course introduces students to the scope of cross-cultural comparisons by analyzing the theories, methodologies, problems, and ethical issues encountered by anthropologists, sociologists, psychologists, political scientists, and historians as they compare cultures and sub-cultures. More specifically, the class presents the historical development of the dominant American culture and society. The readings have an emphasis on people in distinctly different societies throughout history, and students are exposed to concepts that cross all social science disciplines. Themes discussed and used as a basis for writing include democracy, elitism, power, social class, and race.

Chicano/Latino Families
This course is an upper division course addressing the research, literature, and issues surrounding the topic of Chicano/Latino Families. Various aspects of the Chicano/Latino family are examined including cultural history and contemporary issues such as: the organization of family, traditions, lifestyle, values, beliefs, generational differences, gender issues, and ethnic identity. Additionally, the course curriculum includes the evolution of demographic patterns and current economic and political standings for Chicano/Latinos in the United States. Other topics addressed include: the practice of religion, beliefs in spirituality, folk beliefs, coping, and well-being in the context of culture, generation, gender, and ethnicity.

Field Studies – Ethnographic Research and Community Service
This course is an introduction to the research, literature, and issues surrounding the topic of field studies through service learning. The course introduces theories, principles, and methods of conducting qualitative research (participant observation) in Social Sciences by placing students in non-profit community agencies for two quarters with the intent of serving the community and enhancing their research skills. Additionally, the course acquaints students with general issues involved in conducting research, including ethics, validity, and reliability. Research methods covered in this course include literature review, research design, data collection, and data analysis. Students generate and develop their own research interests and produce an original research paper.

Social Science Honors
The Social Science Honors Program (SSHP) is an excellent opportunity for Social Science and Social Policy and Public Service majors to get involved in their own academic projects to complete the process of doing an undergraduate thesis under the guidance of a faculty. This academic exercise is a unique activity for junior scholars to develop their analytical and critical thinking skills in an area of interest that they can later pursue in graduate school. The key element to this program is one-on-one contact with a faculty advisor who will provide you guidance and understanding in a specialized area of study. The program provides a venue for students to dialogue about critical social science issues while sharing their results and interpretations.

Social Policy and Public Service (SPPS)
The major in social policy and public service (SPPS) provides an interdisciplinary perspective on the study of society, both at the individual and group level. Using the knowledge and methods of all social science disciplines, a student majoring in social policy and public service develops the skills to think clearly about social concepts and issues.

Through SPPS, students can integrate a curriculum that focuses on governance, community management, leadership, and social service. Grounded in research, the curriculum highlights societal inequalities and partners with local non-profit and government agencies to facilitate student learning and 300 hours of field work and internships. The non-profit organizations serve as labs for case studies and to complete ethnographic research. Further, the three-quarter field placement facilitates the development of community skills, leadership, mentorship relationships with community supervisors, and networking. Majors have the opportunity to use their classroom knowledge in applied and individual learning experiences, such as internships, field studies, or research with a faculty advisor.