I am Associate Director of the Walter H. Capps Center for the Study of Ethics, Religion, and Public Life at the University of California, Santa Barbara. I received my Ph.D. in Religious Studies from UCSB in 2018.

My commitment to excellence in teaching stems from my love for sharing transformative ideas, a skill honed over 15 years of teaching at multiple levels.


I have experience working with diverse student populations across multiple minority-serving institutions, designing curriculum that raises awareness, critiques privilege, and empowers students. I have taught 21 courses as instructor of record and 18 as a teaching assistant. I also received a Master of Arts in Teaching from Lewis & Clark College Graduate School in 2006.

  • 2019-2020 Visiting Assistant Teaching Professor, University of Southern Mississippi
  • 2018-2019 Lecturer, University of California, Santa Barbara
  • 2011-2018 Teaching Assistant/Associate, University of California, Santa Barbara
  • 2006-2010 Teacher, Wood Middle School (Wilsonville, OR)
  • 2005-2006 Instructor, Mt. Hood Community College (OR)

Teaching Philosophy

My goal is to help students become better global citizens who demonstrate analytical thinking, ethical reflection, and respect for diversity through interdisciplinary and comparative teaching. I teach students to consider ideas and practices that we encounter in class empathetically, and to think critically about those ideas and practices, so that they can see the strange as familiar and the familiar as strange. This process changes how students think about religion, the world, and their own experience.

Teaching Evaluations

My consistently high marks on student evaluations and enthusiastic written comments demonstrate a record of creative and effective teaching. In 2015, I won the UCSB Dean’s Prize Teaching Fellowship, a competitive annual teaching award that allowed me to teach a seminar course that I designed on the “spiritual but not religious.”

Courses Taught

University of Southern Mississippi

  • Comparative Religion
  • The American Religious Experience
  • Issues in Religion: New Religious Movements

University of California Santa Barbara

  • Introduction to the Study of Religion
  • Introduction to American Religion
  • New Religious Movements
  • Spiritual but Not Religious in America
  • Asian American Religions
  • Race, Law, and Asian American Religions
  • Introduction to Asian American Literature
  • Introduction to Religion in Asian America*
  • Asian American Popular Culture*
  • American Migration since 1965: Asians and Others in the United States*
  • History of the American People, WWI-Present*
  • Religion and Psychology*
  • Modern Iran*
    • *Teaching Assistant (TA)

Mt. Hood Community College

  • History of the Old Testament
  • History of the New Testament

Dusty was really awesome. He knows this material so well and was so clear and articulate in all lectures. Really nice and understanding towards students, and had a clear objective. Thank you!
Student, Spring 2019