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Statement of Teaching Philosophy

I believe my chosen career as a university professor has provided me with a unique opportunity to contribute to the shaping of society and the future. I believe my primary responsibility is to provide students with the knowledge, skills, attitude and experience necessary so that they can expand their personal horizons and have the ability to be successful in their chosen careers and lives. In other words, at the heart of my teaching philosophy is my belief that students need to be not just educated but mentored. The years spent as an undergraduate engineering student are among the most formative and important in a developing professional’s life.  Attitudes, skills, and insights developed and acquired at this time are the template for the rest of their years in a demanding and rewarding profession.

I believe that teaching is much more than just delivering knowledge in a convenient format to my students. One of my most important functions is to help students learn how to learn, how to effectively solve problems, and how to judge the long-range impact of their solutions and recommendations on society. I endeavor to make students active participants in their education by making my classroom lectures two-way experiences. Interactive lectures and positive thinking and analysis are employed to let students learn how to form their own view of the information they are presented with. I believe students do not learn material as a result of my simply lecturing on it, but that true learning takes place when the student has made the principles at the heart of the lecture part of their life-view.

I also believe in the value of students working in small groups or teams on projects in most of my courses.  In this way students take more responsibility for their own education.  This is especially important in engineering education since people normally work cooperatively. Students are exposed to problems where they must find information and data broadly rather than narrowly from their required textbooks.  By carefully designing such special projects, students can explore their own intellectual capabilities in a cooperative environment.  Most of these projects culminate in a written or oral presentation so that students can share their ideas and encourage each other with their excitement as well as practicing the important skills of effectively communicating technical information.

I believe the professor’s first task to motivate his students’ interest and ensure they are excited about the subject matter. I find that exposing students to real world problems (not just limited to problems selected from industry) greatly increases their interest as well as helping them appreciate that engineering solutions exist to meet the needs of society. Students are encouraged to see the principles being lectured on in their classes at work in the world around them. I strive to show them how classroom training relates to the challenges they will one day be facing as a practicing engineer. Further, I try to employ computer software and other advanced techniques in my classroom to make the class vivid. Where students are found to be lacking appropriate computer or analytical skills I provide additional materials to supplement their understanding.

I expect students to be active participants in the learning process.  With this expectation, I function as a facilitator in the learning process, rather than the mere deliverer of information.  I recognize that students learn in a variety of ways, and I attempt to accommodate these methods.  I encourage students to find personalized methods to understand and retain concepts, and I assist them by providing my own customized examples for explanation of concepts that elude them.  In addition to different learning processes, I often find that students must simply be given the confidence to experiment in the application of newly gained knowledge and to ask questions to promote individual thinking.  In an effort to encourage discussion, I am always available to students.  Although I arrange formal office hours, students are welcome to make appointments at other times.

One of my most dearly held beliefs is that it is the professor’s responsibility to prepare a student for a life-long learning ability. This goes far beyond simply staying current with one’s profession.  Being an advocate of creative and critical thinking as a necessary skill to be a successful engineer, I know that many problems require the unique thought processes that only arise in a person with an exceptionally broad background who is constantly in contact with new information. This broad view of life and education as a continuous process is at the heart of being truly creative and also knowledgeable about society. Through classroom “side discussions” (often before class starts) I encourage students to be broadly aware of their world and the events that continue to shape our world and society.

I believe a professor should be sensitive to the background and preparation of the students. The way students are treated has a great influence on the students’ performance. I announce several times each term that my office and my time is available for their needs. These needs go far beyond clarifying lecture, homework, or exam materials. I openly invite students to discuss with me any problems they are having that impact on their success. This includes the development of learning and study skills, test taking skills, and dealing with problems such as test anxiety.

I believe that students deserve respect just as any other person, and there must be mutual respect between the students and me. I strive to earn students' respect in a variety of ways, given that respect cannot simply be awarded. I take a sincere interest in the well-being of students and interact with them on professional and social levels. I am convinced that social interaction with students develops a rapport with them and they are more comfortable when asking for assistance while in the classroom. In everything I do, I want to be considered a fair and reasonable person.

I see my responsibilities as a university professor in the broadest sense. Besides the unidirectional teaching methods (e.g. lecture, demonstration), I implement interactional teaching techniques: brainstorming, workshop, role playing, storytelling, group discussion, case study, debate and simulation. I implement several teaching approaches, which include: project-based pedagogy, educational module, group work and self-learning. I use several teaching methods outside the lecture hall, for example: assignments, projects, term papers and field/technical visit trips. I have developed homework, web-based materials, problem solving methodologies and problem solving traits. I implement several teaching technologies, which include: MOOC, Moodle and E-learning. I urge my students to contribute to the ongoing research projects to gain more scientific experience and have access to practical and experimental issues. I implement the results of the research projects in terms of cutting-edge research in teaching my students and to develop training programs for the graduate engineers to keep them linked with their college, provide them with the state-of-the-art and the scientific frontiers, and allow experience exchange and technology transfer among them. Furthermore, I have committed myself to transferring my experience to the Senior Teaching Assistants and Teaching Assistants.

I maintain high standards for my students. I frequently discuss the profession of engineering and the responsibilities of an engineer to society. I try to challenge them in ways that will benefit them and provide a sense of accomplishment. I hope that my teaching efforts have helped and continue to help produce engineers and related professionals who are valuable contributors to the profession and society.

I have committed myself to creating an educational community which enhances student awareness and appreciation of diverse ethnicities and cultures and which actively supports tolerance, civility and respect for the rights and sensibilities of each person without regard to economic status, ethnic background, political views, sexual orientation, or other personal characteristics or beliefs. Awareness of and sensitivity to diverse ethnic and cultural heritages are especially considered in my endeavors. I believe that the cultural contradictions form the basis of our human precious assets, and that our human advantages are implicit in our diversity. Therefore, I always transfer these values to my students as well as to the others.

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