Rachel Guldin

Doctoral Candidate in Communication & Media Studies
School of Journalism & Communication
University of Oregon




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Teaching Interests & Experience

As a future faculty member, I look forward to working with undergraduate and graduate students, including non-traditional and historically underrepresented populations. My teaching interests include introductory communication and media studies courses, media and society, introduction to media studies, communication and media theory, media/information literacy (which I think should be a required course for all university students), critical and cultural studies, representation, and popular culture. I have experience teaching media/information literacy, introductory professional writing, and rhetoric. 

My teaching experience includes instructor of record in Journalism at the University of Oregon,  visiting instructor in Rhetoric at the University of Iowa, and online graduate instructor in Education for Johns Hopkins University School of Education. I also taught fourth grade in Prince Georges County Public Schools and fifth and sixth grade in Baltimore City Public Schools through Teach for America. I continue to be strongly invested and vocal in pro-public education reform and labor rights.

Research Interests & Experience

My research interests focus on the intersection of media literacy education, critical pedagogy, and neoliberal ideologies. I take a critical cultural approach to understanding media phenomena with attention to political economy of media and critical race theory. My dissertation will examine neoliberal ideologies and race in media literacy education through political economic and curricular analyses of a national news literacy educational organization. 

Popular culture my secondary research interest. Some examples of my work include community building at Friday Night Magic (book chapter), social aggression on Disney Channel tween programming (book chapter), and representation of class through fat boys in children's ensemble films (forthcoming article). My other research includes arguing for critical media literacy education with an ecomedia framework (conference), proposing a markets-based framework for understanding cultural hybridity (conference), and advocating for teaching critical research methods in undergraduate rhetoric classes (conference).

Currently, I work as a graduate researcher with PIs Dr. Ed MadisonDr. Jenefer Husman, Dr. Matthew Kim, and Dr. Ross Anderson on "My STEM Story," a $1.2M National Science Foundation grant-funded study that examines the impact of digital storytelling on student motivation using Osyerman's theory of identity-based motivation.

I also worked as a graduate associate for the Journalistic Learning Initiative with Dr. Madison. Our collaborations have resulted in a book chapter on using journalistic writing with social justice pedagogy, a journal article-in-progress on Latina experiences with journalistic writing, and a conference presentation at ICA 2020 and acceptance at AERA 2020 (conference canceled).

Dr. Hollie Smith and I researched participant experiences at an inclusive science communication symposium. Our article, for which I performed the qualitative data analysis, was published in Frontiers in Communication.  We also studied science communication in the National Park System; this research was presented at NCA 2018. 


For the 2020-21 academic year, I was one of two doctoral candidates in my department awarded a Dissertation Research Fellowship, a competitive fellowship from the University of Oregon Graduate School. I also was one of three doctoral candidates awarded the Lokey Scholarship, a competitive scholarship from the SOJC. From 2016-2020 I received the Columbia Scholarship from the SOJC. In 2015, I was nominated by my students and named a Champion for Student Success at the University of Iowa. 

I am a member of Kappa Tau Alpha Honor Society, Omicron Delta Kappa Honor Society, Phi Kappa Phi Honor Society, and Phi Eta Sigma Honor Society. 

Doctoral Candidate,
Communication &
Media Studies
School of Journalism and Communication

Graduate Employee (Teaching Assistant, Research Assistant)

Proposed dissertation: "Media Literacy Education, Democracy, and Neoliberalism in the United States of America" (forthcoming 2021)

Master of Arts,
Media Studies
College of Communications

Thesis: "Li'l Fatties: A Textual Analysis of Gender, Race, and Class Identity Portrayals of Overweight and Obese Children in Popular Children's Films" (2011)

Bachelor of Arts,
Media Studies
Sociology Minor
Schreyer Honors College
College of Communications

With honors

With highest distinction

Media Studies Student Marshal


Thesis: "Alienating the Audience: A Political Economy and Textual Analysis of Media Education Foundation Films" (2009)


Please see my updated

curriculum vitae.


Black lives matter.

After completing my master’s degree, I joined Teach for America and was placed in Baltimore City Public Schools. From this experience, I learned valuable lessons that I carry with me today. These lessons, along with my academic research and teaching during the COVID-19 pandemic, shape my understanding of equity, inclusion, and justice.


At the core of this is the necessity to listen.  This means taking time to get to know students, understanding who they are and where they come from, and respecting and embracing their individuality. It is also important to listen to what is unspoken; diversity does not only include visible and salient identifiers, such as race and gender, but age, nationality, sexual orientation, and on. Working to honor these meaningful pieces of students' truths and experiences is necessary in listening and finding equity, inclusion, and justice for all.


In addition to listening to students, I work to engage students in the co-creation of and participation in our learning space. In the spirit of Paulo Freire, I approach my students as student-teachers who have experiences, knowledge, and understanding to bring into our site of knowledge-building. I strive to embrace and include texts in my classroom that demonstrate theories, perspectives, and opinions from authors with varied backgrounds and allow us to engage with ideas beyond our own experiences. I also work to employ a variety of teaching methods to access different learning styles and support differently-abled learners, allowing students to connect and engaged differently with the course materials.


Different perspectives, philosophies, and lived experiences all contribute to a richer, more complete education. The presence of diversity alone, though, is incomplete without inclusion and justice. Diverse voices need to be actively included in conversations, decisions, and growth within the university community. Justice is also essential in reshaping oppressive systemic structures of the academy and working to remove them. Equity, inclusion, and justice are important at all levels of my practice. I look forward to further opportunities to incorporate this into my teaching, research, and service. With this understanding, I hope to create an enriched environment in which my students and I learn, grow, and achieve.


“Leaders who do not act dialogically, but insist on imposing their decisions, do not organize the people--they manipulate them. They do not liberate, nor are they liberated: they oppress.” – Paulo Freire, Pedagogy of the Oppressed


Teaching Goals

When students leave my classroom at the end of a course, I hope together we have accomplished three goals. First, students should be able to apply course concepts to real world situations. While I truly believe in learning for learning’s sake, I understand the market pressures on students to secure employment after graduation. If students cannot apply material in useful ways to their real lives, then my teaching is incomplete. Second, students should improve their critical thinking skills. In a quickly evolving digital world, students need to think through problems, consider multiple angles, and take various perspectives for success in the field of communication. Third, students should develop and strengthen their communication skills, both written and spoken. To be successful contributors in professional and personal pursuits, clear communication is essential. These goals transcend course content and are central to my teaching practice.


Teaching Methods

It is crucial to incorporate teaching methods that nurture development as critical thinkers and communicators. I base my teaching approach on Freire’s critical pedagogy, recognizing all student bring expertise to the classroom and all contribute to knowledge-building. My preferred methods are small groups discussions, large group discussions, and self-directed learning projects. Small group gallery walks allow reserved students to engage in discussion without the pressure of an entire class listening as they share their insights. Large group Socratic seminars prompt students think critically to develop questions and then communicate their responses during the discussion. Finally, self-directed learning projects for research and speeches support learning skills while simultaneously allowing students freedom to meet their personal interests and academic needs.


Learning Environment

After teaching during the COVID-19 pandemic, what I consider a "learning environment" has become more flexible. Yet despite the changes in place, having an accessible, inclusive, and open learning environment essential online and off. Students need space for creation: creating new ideas, developing perspectives, forging connections, building relationships, crafting questions, designing projects. A fundamental component of academic growth is the ability to ask questions and question material through disagreements and discussion. I remind my students that often we need to vocalize our thoughts to understand what we think, so we must proceed with a spirit of generosity and understanding for clumsy words in courageous conversations. This leads to students feeling respected and open to the vulnerability that is necessary for growth and learning. I also incorporate universal design into assignments and assessments when course objectives allow.


Professional Self-Reflection

I strive to recognize areas in which my practice as an educator can be improved. By asking students individually and using surveys throughout the term, I work to understand the students’ needs and fill in existing gaps. Reflection on lesson plans after implementing them helps me to improve for future lessons. Additionally, in all stages of my teaching career, I have attended professional development to learn best practices, new methods, and to implement in the classroom. By learning from others, I can better my practice and improve my students’ educations.


Student Evaluations

"Rachel was really great at communicating with us, I never felt like I didn’t know what was going on or what was expected of us, which is not something I can say for my other classes this term. Also Rachel was really understanding and empathetic towards us with everything going on, first with the pandemic, and then the national BLM protests.​"

-Anonymous, University of Oregon Spring 2020

"Rachel has great communication skills and was always available to answer any questions I had about the course. She really understands what she is teaching about and made an online term as easy as possible for students and herself."

-Anonymous, University of Oregon, Spring 2020

"Rachel is a wonderful human, and very thoughtful- this showed in the course."

-Jared B., University of Oregon, Spring 2020

"She made communication very easy to navigate with her through these tough times, and made me as a student feel accounted for. She not only took time to give great feedback, but she also took time to get to know us as people and help us with these unfortunate circumstances."

-Avery S., University of Oregon, Spring 2020

"Rachels organization and communication are the biggest thing that helped me to succeed in this class. It was always clear when things were do and the materials were organized very nicely on Canvas. I learned a lot during this course. Rachel is a wonderful professor."

-Anonymous, University of Oregon, Spring 2020

"Rachel was great at letting us know when assignments were due and keeping us up-to-date on important dates. Thank you. You are an amazing professor. :)"

-Anonymous, University of Oregon, Spring 2020

"Rachel is the most available GE/teacher I have ever had. She was always available in/out of class and by email. She genuinely wants all of her students to learn, and as a student I could really feel that!"

-Thomas G., University of Oregon, Summer 2019

"Rachel is the best teacher ever. ive never met any teacher can be patient as Rachel. my first time to have a teacher to look at essay literally word by word. Rachel is the best teacher
best of the best"

-Weikai N., University of Oregon, SUmmer 2019

"Rachel is a great teacher and open to learning from her students, too." 

-Dani G, University of Oregon, Winter 2019

"Rachel was a wonderful lab leader. She genuinely wanted to make me and the other students better writers and communicators. Rachel was extremely understanding with struggles we personally face as students. She made herself available for clarification on assignments or grading and any assistance that we may have needed. I would not have been as successful in this class if I didn't have Rachel as my GE."

-Jesse E., University of Oregon, Winter 2019

"Couldn't have asked for a better Rhetoric teacher. I was very nervous going into this class but she made it very fun and interesting to learn about Rhetoric."

-Anonymous, University of Iowa, Spring 2016

"The fact that you’re so real removes most of the stress. I love how the class became open-minded to being conversational and understanding that other people have conflicting opinions and still respected other perspectives and built off of them without argument. [...] I don’t know if I can expect other discussion classes to be as worthwhile and intelligent!  [...] Rachel, you’re an excellent person and professor!"

-Anonymous, University of Iowa, Spring 2016

"You are one of the best professors I have ever known. I learned a handful of skills from your class. You did a great job this semester. I enjoyed becoming your student. Thank you." 

-Anonymous, University of Iowa, Fall 2015

"My instructor is very approachable. I felt that my voice would, in most circumstances, be heard in the classroom and she kept an open mind to my responses even if she hadn't thought of them herself." 

- Anonymous, University of Iowa, Fall 2015

Sample Lecture

Please check back soon to see a sample lecture.


2018 by Rachel Guldin

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