Inspirational teachers in Social Inquiry

Meet our inspirational teachers and find out how they are preparing our students for the workforce

Dr Raul Sanchez Urribarri

Dr Raul Sanchez Urribarri (pictured above) is a Senior Lecturer in Crime, Justice, and Legal Studies. Making students feel like they matter is how he engages them in learning.

Agents of change. I teach ‘Research Methods’ and ‘Police, Society and Democracy’. I also run the Honours seminar ‘Law and Legal Consciousness’ and a study tour to New Orleans, Mississippi and Memphis focused on justice, social change and equity. These all relate to exploring the intersection of law, politics and society, and invite students to think of themselves as responsible citizens, to cherish differences, and to seek better outcomes for all in everyday life.

Individual perspective. I like to engage with each student’s sense of curiosity and what motivates them as individuals. I ensure they have opportunities to express their views and develop critiques and research projects that reflect their interests. My goal is to remind students that what they think and how they feel matters.

Making an impact. I love teaching. It has transformed my life for the better and I enjoy getting to know each student cohort. My hope is that I can help students to realise new opportunities and new ways of engaging with the world and, let them know that in that process they are not alone. As teachers, we are walking alongside them.

Dr Anne-Maree Sawyer

Dr Anne-Maree Sawyer, Senior Lecturer in Sociology, aims to equip her students with the knowledge and skills they need to understand the world we live in.

A sociology perspective. I teach two undergraduate subjects, ‘Sociology of Emotions’ and ‘Sociology of Mental Illness’. Both subjects help students to develop an understanding of and empathy for the ways in which people’s life experiences are shaped by their social circumstances such as class, gender, ethnicity, illness and caregiving roles.

Making connections. In my experience, students are most inspired and engaged when you can make connections between what they are learning in the classroom and how that relates to their everyday lives. I often use real-world, de-identified stories from my previous career as a mental health social worker. These stories help to demonstrate the significance of social context in people’s lives, and to illuminate the structural conditions that produce mental illness and emotional suffering. It really brings learning to life for students.

Inspiring passion. I have a great passion for the subjects I teach and hope to inspire that same passion in my students. It is deeply rewarding when I see students become interested in what they’re learning, when they become excited by the ideas that Sociology offers as a means of understanding our world, and when one of the subjects I teach challenges, or changes, their perspective.

Find out more about the Department of Social Inquiry on their website and LinkedIn.