My teaching is based on one of my favorite sayings – “Don’t just pass through the university. Let the university pass through you.” Whether it’s writing news stories, preparing the front page of a newspaper or magazine, learning about culture or musing on the media’s influence, I want my students to gain the knowledge and skills that will help them appreciate diversity and be open to various experiences. I want them to be active and responsible participants in their education by taking part in activities and opportunities beyond the classroom so they can get a taste of "real world" situations and are better prepared to face whatever comes their way.
My job is to train and prepare the next generation of engineering students for a world and workplace that is ever-evolving. After completing any course I teach, my hope is that I give students the knowledge of how to approach a problem and empower them with the tools to be able to solve it. Put simply, my goal is to teach students how to critically think.
The intellectual and social visionary W.E.B. DuBois once said, Education must not simply teach work—it must teach life. To enact an ethically responsible life, in the context of living in the wonderfully diverse U.S. and larger global world, one must possess a robust sociocultural knowledge about the racial, cultural, gender and economic conditions that shape individuals, communities and social relations. The teacher that seeks to help students acquire this complex knowledge must view the teaching process as one that not only informs and empowers, but ultimately seeks to transform lives, schools and society for the betterment of all.
The study of literature and the arts offers students an immersion into the incredible versatility of human expression, language and communication. In the playfulness of literary works or artworks, language unveils its own ambiguities and gaps in meaning; words, images or sounds cannot simply be reduced to one literal definition or a direct empirical correlation. Through classroom exercises in discussing the language of literature and the arts, I constantly seek to cultivate intellectual flexibility in my students and to foster the analytical skills necessary to grapple with multiple interpretations, viewpoints and situations, which are, to me, key dimensions in the formation of students as citizens in the contemporary world.
My teaching is based on the belief that students are most engaged and inspired when challenged to understand architecture as a situated dialog rather than a stand-alone discipline, and to create designs which achieve meaning through thoughtful response to their complex physical, social and cultural contexts. Engagement is the consistent goal of my teaching, guided by the belief that students who develop the skills to critically interpret and operate effectively within our complex world will become our best architects, as well as our best citizens.
In computer science, students can often "learn by doing.” This is key to my teaching strategy. I offer challenging implementation assignments that require students to understand the mathematical models and algorithms to the point where each step is explicit---and usually along the way, realize which steps they had overlooked in passing. I strive to make the context of the assignment intriguing, so that they are problems that students simply want to solve. My goal is for the course material not only to provide sound background, but also to foster "aha" moments, where abstract technical concepts become concrete and thus more firmly understood.
My aim in teaching statistical science is to ensure that the students have a strong qualitative grip of a series of quantitative concepts and ideas introduced in the courses so that they can apply this new knowledge to make other significant discoveries and to solve real world problems. Ultimately I want them to realize that developing strong logical, critical thinking skills as well as quantitative reasoning skills will have tremendous and far-reaching benefits in their lives and future careers. It may have been coded in my DNA but most importantly, I teach because I love to from the very core of my heart.
If students acquire knowledge about their history, their family, and their communities they are able to make connections to their place in our nation; they will then realize that they have a responsibility to it. I strive to transform my students into practicing historians and my responsibility to them, the community, and to the profession of history is to help students see themselves as real historians who critically think about the past in ways that will enrich their present. In this way, history is meaningful, thought-provoking, and instills a passion for this type of problem solving in a compassionate, balanced and creative way.
My main ambition is to become a better teacher every semester. To me, teaching is about being flexible and about being able to adapt to different environments. I am always willing to try something new to enhance my students learning.
Both of my parents and many of my heroes are educators. When I consider the far-reaching influence of teaching – that poor instruction can stultify and excellent instruction can magnify a student's progress – I feel a moral responsibility toward quality teaching. It has been my privilege to learn at the feet of some masterful teachers, and it is my goal to carry on in their grand tradition.
As an educator, I seek to improve the teaching and learning of mathematics by transforming my students’ views of mathematics from a collection of facts and procedures to a discipline that involves thinking and sense-making. My students, who are mainly prospective teachers, experience a learning environment that helps them grapple with the mathematics, communicate their reasoning, challenge each other’s ideas, learn from mistakes and consequently deepen their understanding.
Advertising and public relations students are by nature a creative and inquisitive group. My goal is to channel students’ energy and teach them to become strategic and critical thinkers. I challenge students to experiment with ideas, take risks and learn from their mistakes. This often starts in the relative safety of the classroom but evolves to working with advertising agency partners on “real world” problems. I want my students to know that I am there to support them through the learning process all semester, and it is a great reward to share in their success and pride when they finish by shining in front of professional clients.
The keys to success in the classroom are to convince students that what they are learning is important and to engage them in the active learning process. When possible, I let students participate in deciding what they learn and how they learn, because this freedom to explore individual interests creates a rich educational environment. In an era where digital technology allows too much passive observation, it is imperative that we capitalize on the strengths of technology while ensuring that active learning is still taking place in the classroom and beyond.
My mission is to cultivate meaningful personal relationships and transformative learning experiences to counteract indifference and to motivate students to leave their comfort zones and take risks by seeking new adventures abroad and in their own communities. I do this through my Pedagogy of Engagement, teaching students to use anthropological theories and methods to learn about others and about themselves.
Social science can be real science! In some ways, it’s more challenging: human beings may change their behavior once we understand it, and our observations are confined to a single iteration of history. I try to impress upon my students the importance of evidence, the skill of evidentiary argument and connections to other scientific endeavors.
Exchanging and discussing work in a compassionate, rigorous creative writing workshop can be a form of gift-giving when participants rise to the challenge of excellence and innovation in their writing and criticism. Writing well in any genre is a powerful skill that leads to more opportunities in life and can help in the pursuit of social justice for our communities. When creative writing students lead service learning literacy projects in community and detention centers, they teach academic techniques in their service while improving their own writing as their audiences expand from the classroom into the community.
I am very committed to creating a learning environment that is both rigorous and engaging and empowers students and educators to learn. My teaching goals are to actively engage students in the learning process, help students develop critical thinking skills, help students develop written and oral communication skills and provide a strong foundation for lifelong learning. Teaching with clarity, passion, insight and patience impacts the learner and allows them to find their passion and become lifelong learners.