My students begin their journeys with their own inner gifts and talents, most often hidden in a place where they cannot find them-deep inside. UTEP students are known as Miners. It is fitting that their scholarship should involve mining for those nuggets of inner wisdom that taken together, become a cohesive whole for each. There are thousands of teaching and learning ideas that are yet to be discovered. My students will have some of those ideas, and I will have the proud pleasure of learning from them so that I continually get better at what I do.
For me, research and teaching are two sides of the same coin; one is about the creation of new knowledge, while the other involves sharing the same in an accessible way to inspire bright, young minds. My teaching philosophy is to help students see problems in innovative ways by integrating cutting edge knowledge from seemingly diverse disciplines such as Information Systems, Finance and Marketing. I challenge them to reach beyond the confines of conventional thinking and to develop novel solutions to real-world business problems.
Like the profession itself, the education of “structural engineers in the making” exists between two competing factors: disciplined ways of thinking and a freedom to create. In the eyes of students, there is a fine line between a well-organized series of lectures and an overly regimented course. Student aversion to an overly-regimented learning environment is rooted in the intellectual freedom needed to strike a balance between structural form and function. I try to balance the learning environment in my classes through highly-organized lectures and more open-ended design assignments and projects. This seemingly simple concept is very complex, and quite frankly, very important.
Reading carefully is the very basis of effective citizenship. I feel privileged to be able to help students improve their analytical skills by introducing them to some of the richest texts in the English language.
In each of my courses I actively encourage my students to think beyond the classroom so they may understand the connection between literature and the real world, and thereby become cosmopolitan citizens of the global intellectual community. Each semester I have the honor and privilege of interacting with students who help me continually refine my ideas. My students force me to rethink much of what I had previously thought about the world and my place within it. I know that at the end of each semester if I have done my job well, I will have taught my students to teach me. I know how much I have continually benefited from my students, as a teacher, scholar and most-importantly, as a human being.
A good teacher has a solid understanding of the material, a clear presentation style and a fair assessment system that is clearly comprehensible to the students. An excellent teacher brings all of that to the classroom and realizes that each student is a unique individual who has their own goals and needs and is prepared to work with each one to give them the optimal learning experience.
Students fear that law is self-satisfied, complicated and perhaps irrelevant--a "system of wheels within wheels." I try to demystify and humanize legal history through role playing. Who better to explain England's Official Secrets Act than James Bond, untangle the Statute of Mortmain than Edward I, assess the Norman Conquest than an artisan who made the Bayeux Tapestry or depict Tyburn than Moll Cutpurse? Legal history can range from gruesome to silly, but I aim for it never to be boring.
What I love about teaching is finding a way to tell a story about the subject matter, and then having my students help me tell that story. Whatever work I ask of my students, whether a formal literary analysis or the writing of poetry, I want them to develop the intellectual independence and self-confidence to be critical and creative thinkers. To achieve this, I teach my students about asking the right questions, evaluating sources and strategies for effective reasoning and persuasion. Ultimately, these are not academic skills but life skills essential for the functioning of free people in a democratic society.
My philosophy of teaching is rooted in the belief that our students are the most important people on campus; that teaching is the most important responsibility of the faculty; and that student learning and success are the most important outcomes of teaching.
I like to remind my students that education is a lifelong pursuit and journalism is one of the best vehicles for fostering continuous learning. It can introduce us to unforgettable people and mind-stretching ways of looking at and dealing with life. My goal is to help students develop the curiosity, methodology and confidence it takes to get out into the world and follow what really matters to them with gusto and at depth.
My teaching philosophy reflects a challenging but playful journey based on a foundation of joy, passion, intense inquiry and constant analysis of the research. I believe that each teacher has the potential to empower, to change and to inspire. I want my students to take risks, question with energy and explore through research and learning. Teaching and learning are truly meaningful through community-based research and intentional service experiences. My approach is to afford students regional and international opportunities. I believe through communication I can guide my students through issues of early development, justice and equity. I have an important role in guiding our students to examine who they are and that they have the power to make a difference in the lives of children and families.
When teaching, I aim to help students think carefully. Careful thinking comes from engagement, discovery and a sense of importance. Engaging students, encouraging discovery and imparting a sense of importance form the foundation of all that I do when teaching.
Teaching is more than just carefully designed course content to create meaningful connections throughout the semester; to me, it is the ultimate form of mentorship. It is an opportunity to challenge students to open their minds to new ideas, to challenge them to strive for what they may never even dreamed possible, and be there as a safety net when they fall short or just need a reassuring voice to say “I believe you can.” This student-centered approach has always been at the core of how I sought to engage my students in the learning enterprise, and the way I challenge myself to strive for deeper understanding of my subject matter and the manner in which I convey it.
To current and prospective engineering students, I demonstrate my passion and enthusiasm for the subject matter and my commitment to their academic and professional success. I strive to provide the best educational experience and to promote high standards by being a role model. My teaching efforts include designing and implementing effective student challenges that take place inside and outside the classroom. These motivate and engage students and provide formative feedback to help them achieve their full potential.
My philosophy of teaching is informed by one consistent goal, and that is to encourage students to share my own love of great books. As a teacher of literature, I want them to think of the class not as an end but as a beginning, as a starting point for a lifetime of thoughtful reading.
The success of our students is primary. And what a joy it is that through practice of our profession we help students succeed. My Grandpa used to recite a verse that concluded with "there is nothing to equal the gladness and joy of making and keeping friends." Teaching comes close!
My teaching philosophy can be summarized by three words: caring, clarifying and connecting. I care deeply about my students and their success. I am passionate about physics and want to clarify ideas students find difficult so they can share my passion. I want facilitate genuine human connections and the connections of ideas into useful cognitive frameworks.
Taking students out of the classroom and into the community builds networks, fosters confidence in students and provides real world experience while contributing critical resources to our local schools, non-profits and various organizations. Building learning environments that extend beyond the walls of the classroom allow students to develop a greater sense of community responsibility and prepares them to be strong role models for other underrepresented minority students in the region. Bringing choice and opportunity to students, many of them the first in their family to go to college, is an exciting and rewarding privilege and I am fully committed to helping my students achieve the highest level of educational attainment possible.
My professional goal has always been to be a great teacher who inspires our students to become great teachers. I have always believed it is critical that students in my classes at UTEP become enthusiastic about the teaching profession and working with children with disabilities and their families.
Physics is a perspective on how to understand the world and an approach to solving problems. Physicists take joy from what humans have already understood and we revel in the pursuit of what we have yet to understand. In the classroom, I offer the physicist's world view on the same platter as physical theory, with a healthy dose of demonstrations, word play and inside jokes. Physics can be taught, but love of physics and respect for others have to be demonstrated. I try to pass on to my students that gift which my professors shared with me, and if my students are fortunate, someday they will have their own students to inspire.
If a teacher is not passionate about the subject matter, one can hardly expect students to feel otherwise. Teaching auditing is a privilege because I firmly believe that a sound audit function provides a profound benefit to society. Through a blend of discussion, cases, student presentations and a little humor along the way, my students and I discover that benefit.
One of my primary goals as a teacher is to connect with my students in a way that shows my strong interest in their learning and professional development. I strive to help students understand the relevance of the material, cultivate their critical thinking skills, motivate them to become lifelong learners, instill a sense of professionalism and accountability, and to learn from them. I love being with the students and I care about them as individuals—I always try to convey my sincere interest in their academic and professional success.
I believe that the role of a teacher is to help students develop into independent, aware, culturally sensitive and creative individuals. My teaching guides students to gain critical visual and conceptual skills in thinking and making. As a practicing artist, I often find myself sharing projects, processes and experiences in the art world with students. Being active with my own creativity feeds energy into my connection with students. This active interaction engages students and encourages them to discover their own creative expression in art making.
Students want courses that are clear, organized, relevant, and engaging. I strive to exceed their expectations.
Mentoring and teaching are a combination of active professional practice, thoughtful listening and intuitive timing. I try to embody an active practice of creative problem solving, critical intellectual analysis, vigorous communication, successful collaboration, a contextual understanding of the work and effective leadership. These core competencies form the heart of my pedagogical mission and my central goal for each student in my care.
In my students, I aim to cultivate intellectual curiosity, creativity and the desire for lifelong learning, instill the practical individual and collaborative skills necessary to be successful in the workforce, and encourage a sense of civic responsibility and ethical regard for others in regional, national and global contexts. I work to develop a dynamic curriculum that is relevant to my students’ lives and futures, that pushes them to think beyond their comfort zone, and that will ultimately contribute to stronger communities. At the same time, rather than adhering to a strict teaching philosophy, I constantly rethink and revise my approach to teaching through an ongoing dialogue with new pedagogies and technologies, my students and the environment in which I teach.
A special challenge of teaching biology is the perception of many students that science is merely a collection of facts. I would like the students in my classes to understand that science is an active process, that science is centered on critical thinking and that the story is constantly evolving. To foster this understanding, the atmosphere in my classroom is punctuated with noise as students interact to examine experimental data, form alternate hypotheses and propose new experiments to test their ideas. The sound of engaged students keeps teaching alive for me.
I want my students to employ informed skepticism and evidence-based criticism of concepts to which they are exposed. I want to see light bulbs come on. In order to maximize the likelihood that this occurs in my classroom and online courses, I try to create an environment which has as its foundation an unconditional positive regard for the student. I assume each student is competent to learn and that nurturing prompts, encouragement, and positive comments go a long way toward transforming each student's ability into skillful and insightful performance.
As a teacher, I describe myself as a progressive educator. Systems thinking, democratic education and service-learning serve as the framework influencing my teaching (and integrated research and service). In my classes, there is intentional collaboration between the students and myself regarding what, why and how learning occurs.
Engineers create things that change the world, and the importance of educating future engineers has never been more critical. I strive to work in partnership with students in an atmosphere of mutual respect, effective communication and timely feedback. It is my goal that students see learning can be fun and realize that learning is a lifelong endeavor to be approached with enthusiasm.
Capturing what ought to happen in a classroom is incredibly difficult. Given the linguistic, cultural and intellectual diversity of our world, teachers and students in a reciprocal relationship create unique dynamics there are loosely framed by histories and stances. As an educator, I believe that the excitement and rewards of teaching and learning exist when teachers remain open to new ideas, learners are set free to explore possibilities and classrooms serve as the places for little and great moments to occur.
I am a strong believer of active learning. I find it most effective when there is interaction on a frequent basis between me and students, as well as among students, in a controlled manner during class. Teaching, delivered in the form of a monolog, is wasted time in terms of learning effectiveness. Therefore, every time I find myself talking for more than 10 minutes straight without creating student interaction, I tell myself “Shut up and teach!”
Teaching is nurturing, not just of each student’s mind but of the whole person, not just in the classroom but outside of it as well, whether on the beaches of Normandy, the streets of London or Berlin or in my own home, where my wife and I host book discussions, award dinners and receptions for my students. If you think of it as nurturance, teaching can take place anywhere. And it’s a full-time job. For me, there could be no finer one.