I approach teaching as a practice grounded in equity and real life application. I strive to make my courses accessible to and inclusive of all students and foreground the reality of academic knowledge as a tool of both transformation and oppression. I view teaching as an opportunity to build relationships with and learn from students as much as it is an opportunity to share my own knowledge and introduce students to new information and perspectives. 

I’ve taught discussion sections (20-30 students), small seminar courses ( < 10 students), a large lecture course ( > 200 students), and online courses in both synchronous and asynchronous formats. In addition to teaching at UC Santa Barbara, I’ve taught at an HBCU in the Southeast (kept confidential for research purposes) and a local Santa Barbara high school.

Below is a selection of my teaching experiences. A full list of my teaching positions, trainings, awards, presentations and publications can be found on my CV.

Teaching positions

Teaching Associate / Instructor of Record (UCSB)

  • LING 20: Language and Linguistics ( < 10 students, online)
  • LING 50: Language and Power ( > 200 students)
    • Interdisciplinary general education course
  • LING 101: Basic Elements of Linguistic Analysis (< 20 students)
    • Introduction to methods of analyzing language structure

Teaching Assistant (UCSB)

  • LING 70: Language in Society 
  • LING 136: African American Language and Culture
  • LING 180: Language, Race, and Ethnicity
  • LING 187: Language, Power, and Learning (cross listed with Chicana/o Studies)
  • BLST 1: Introduction to African American Studies 
  • BLST 5: Blacks in Western Civilization

Teaching at other institutions

  • ANTH 104: Language and Culture (20-30 students)
    • Dual enrollment college course taught to senior high school students through the UCSB SKILLS program  (lead instructor)
  • ENGL 422: History of the English Language (< 10 students)
    • Upper division seminar course taught at an HBCU as a visiting instructor

“Kendra was, by far, one of the best TA’s I’ve had this year. It wasn’t that she was just interested in the material, it was the fact that she was completely enthusiastic about teaching it as well. She used her extensive knowledge of linguistics to better her students in a way that most teachers are unable to do, and intensified my love for language and language change.”

Language in Society student

“Kendra has a great informal style that’s funny and fun while still keeping students attentive and focused on learning. Given the seriousness of the topics she addresses, such as racism and transphobia, this makes it easier for majority students to lower their defenses and hear about these issues and for students from marginalized groups to keep from being retraumatized by this material or feeling that the issue has been trivialized.”

Faculty observation of Language and Power lecture

Training and awards

In addition to my years of classroom experience, I earned the Certificate in College and University Teaching through UCSB’s Instructional Development program. The certificate requires consultation with pedagogy specialists, working with faculty mentors, completing pedagogy workshops and courses, and creating a reflexive teaching portfolio.

I have been nominated for the UCSB Graduate Student Association’s Excellence in Teaching Award three times, and was an award winner for 2016-2017. Graduate student instructors are nominated for the award by students, faculty, or other members of the university community.


I’ve presented about the Black-centered introductory linguistics course that I taught in the UCSB-HBCU Scholars in Linguistics Program as a model for racially inclusive teaching in multiple venues:

  • Annual meeting of the American Dialect Society (received 2020 ADS student conference award)
  • Second annual Advancing African American Linguist(ic)s Symposium at UCSB
  • Inclusive Pedagogy in Linguistics series at the University of Chicago Department of Linguistics, which can be viewed here.

I presented about my use of technology in teaching at the 2018 Graduate Student Teaching Symposium, hosted by UCSB’s Office of Instructional Development. The presentation, “Using Everyday Technology as Tools for Racially Inclusive Classrooms,” can be viewed here.


One of the central goals of the UC-HBCU/NSF REU Scholars in Linguistics Program was to increase the number of Black students enrolled in graduate linguistics programs and to provide linguistics training to Black students in related fields. This is a goal that requires structural changes in recruitment, teaching, and mentoring in linguistics as a field. As part of this work toward structural change, I’ve shared my experiences teaching Black-centered introductory linguistics curricula as a model of the type pedagogical strategies instructors can use to make their courses more inclusive of Black students. The course is described in detail in my co-authored article in Language, “Attracting Black Undergraduate Students to Linguistics through a Black-Centered Introduction to Linguistics Course.”

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