Introduction to Biological Anthropology
ANTH 204, University of Waterloo (Fall 2023)

Biological anthropology is a diverse field of study that sits at the crossroads of social sciences and biology, entrenched in the biocultural approach. This course will help introduce you to the various subfields of biological anthropology, encouraging you to consider a diverse range of approaches, theoretical frameworks, and methods to study humans, their ancestors, and their closest relatives. After an introduction to the history of evolutionary theory and genetics, we’ll explore the living non-human primates, biological biology, primate behaviour, and taxonomic relationships with humans. Following reading week, we’ll examine our own evolutionary history by studying the paleoanthropological origins of humans. Lastly, we’ll look at modern human adaptation and variation, and how we can study humans across space and time.

Forensic Anthropology
ANTHROP 3FA3, McMaster University (Spring 2022)

Forensic anthropology has been popularized by TV shows like CSI and Bones. This course, however, will focus on the practical skills and methods used by real-life forensic anthropologists to assist in investigating real-life cases. In this course, we will look at the different methods and approaches taken by forensic anthropologists to help investigate modern, suspicious, and violent deaths. This includes looking at the human skeleton, methods to identify a set of remains, and interpret time since death. You’ll take what you learn in this course and use it to solve two fictional case studies. Ultimately, this course will help you consider multiple lines of evidence and view a problem holistically. In doing so, it will also help develop your critical thinking skills, relevant in both academic and professional environments.

Inquiry in the Social Sciences: Eating and Drinking
SOCSCI 1SS3, McMaster University (Winter 2022)

Inquiry courses are designed to teach students how to learn and how to share academic knowledge. The courses are skill-driven, rather than content-driven, with a focus on the skills required to perform effectively in university. These personal, transferable skills and approaches to learning will be useful in other university courses, and beyond.  Students will engage in a process to begin to learn how to formulate good academic questions, gather and interpret scholarly evidence, draw reasoned conclusions, and communicate these conclusions, using as content, topics central to research in the Social Sciences. While the focus of this course is on the process of inquiry, the theme “Eating and Drinking” will provide the content that we will use to develop analytical and critical thinking skills.

Plagues and Peoples
ANTHROP 2U03, McMaster University (Winter 2022)

Plagues, disease, and outbreaks are not new topics in the wake of COVID-19. Rather, they have marked human history and development for thousands of years, shaping both our bodies and our societies. In this course, we will take a biocultural approach to understand how biology, culture, societies, medicine, and the environment each play a role in disease outbreak, and how they are, in turn, shaped by disease occurrence. Rather than exploring each of these in isolation, we will focus on the interconnectedness of these variables, and how plagues are the “perfect storm” of social and biological conditions.

Childhood in the Past: A Bioarchaeological Perspective
ANTHROP 3WO3, McMaster University (Fall 2019)

Once upon a time, bioarchaeologists viewed children in the archaeological record as passive beings, contributing little to their communities and daily lived experiences. However, recent research has demonstrated that this hasn’t always been the case, and instead, experiences of childhood has varied greatly across space and time. This special topic course considers the contributions, influences, and experiences of children in the past, and explores how bioarchaeologists investigate children to understand their lives, and their communities more broadly. In this class, students will learn about varying approaches to studying childhood in the past, before writing up a grant application for a hypothetical research project, and “pitch” their project to the class.

*Nominated by my students for the McMaster Student Union Teaching Award in 2020, which recognizes outstanding professors who have made an impact on their lives and post-secondary education.

Other Teaching Opportunities

I’ve provided guest lectures instructors at McMaster University, including stories of Cholera and Vampires for Plagues and Peoples, and discussions of sex, gender, and social age in Advanced Bioarchaeology and Skeletal Biology over multiple years.

I’ve also been a Teaching Assistant (TA) for various courses at McMaster University including The Black Death, Forensic Anthropology, and Nutritional Anthropology. As a TA, I helped run labs and tutorials, met with students, and designed/marked assessments and exams.


Through the MacPherson Institute at McMaster University, I’ve achieved the Teaching & Learning Foundations Certificate of Completion, Instructional Skills Workshop (ISW), and the Teaching and Learning Scholars Certificate of Completion.

I also worked as an Educational Development Fellow with the MacPherson Institute (2020-2022). In this capacity, I supported instructors during the transition to on-line teaching in response to COVID-19 global pandemic, by providing consultations and training, as well as developing just-in-time text and video resources. I also reviewed teaching and learning grant applications, helped develop workshops, performed qualitative data analysis as part of a campus-wide Fall Experience Survey, and was part of a working group addressing Partnered and Interdisciplinary Learning as part of McMaster’s Teaching and Learning Strategy.

Note: Teaching portfolio available upon request. Email me at averylc@mcmaster.ca