Statement of Teaching Philosophy
Teaching is what professors try to do. Learning is what students do when they are sufficiently motivated by themselves and their teachers. A good teacher can make all the difference on student learning outcomes.
In the Classroom:
Some of my guiding principles are as follows: Try to keep your students at the edge of their seats by making it interesting for both you and them. Be fair. Challenge the students and yourself. Be clear of expectations, give and accept constructive criticism in an effort to construct a better dialogue. Enthusiasm is contagious. Try to convey the course material in a way that demystifies the topics rather than in a way that seeks to prove to the students that the professor is brilliant. Ask questions often in class and wait patiently for students to answer. Encourage classroom participation by being open - encourage students to try out their ideas - it is often also a learning experience for the professor.
GIVE REGULAR HOMEWORK!!!
GRADE THE HOMEWORK CAREFULLY!!!
This is one major opportunity to learn about your students and to find out how the class is going. It also is VITAL for students to have regular feedback so that they can gauge their progress and improve on all elements of homework, including clarity of presentation.
Develop homework assignments based on contemporary problems. Teach students use of modern tools like research using the internet, programming to solve less trivial problems, equipment control software, measurement, soldering skills, circuit board layout software, in addition to classic methods associated with having students solve homework problems from their textbook.
Courses Taught :
I have taught a 2-semester sequence of Optics to undergrads at both the University of Mississippi and at UNR. At UNR, I also developed an Optics lab to complement the course, with the assistance of a graduate student.
I have taught Statistical Mechanics and Thermodynamics at the cross-over level between undergrad and grad (400 - 600) at the University of Mississippi, and at the University of Nevada. We used the book by Reif for awhile, and now use the book by Schroeder. I also taught portions of the graduate level acoustics course using the text by Pierce.
In Atmospheric Sciences, I routinely teach Radiation Transfer at the graduate level, and have taught Introduction to Atmospheric Physics at the cross-over level between undergrad and grad (400-600). The first time I taught Radiation Transfer, we worked through many approximate methods and much theory, based on a 30 year old text. I was not at all satisfied with the course, and I think the students were short-changed. Consequently I changed the nature of the course. The course now takes a hands-on approach. Students learn the theory of FTIR instruments, then use one to make measurements of the downwelling IR spectral radiance from 500 to 2000 1/cm. With this motivation, they develop a theoretical understanding, and numerical model, that seeks to explain their measurements. A simple 1-D model is developed and explored to understand multiple scattering. Other topics, such as single particle scattering theory, are discussed as well.
I also teach ATMS 360 Atmospheric Instrumentation at the University of Nevada Reno. I have developed this course as a hands on course to explore instrumentation used in Atmospheric Chemistry, Physics, and Meteorology.
At DRI, I was a Research Professor in the Division of Atmospheric Sciences. DRI faculty administer and teach all of the courses in the Atmospheric Sciences program at UNR. It is a program within the Physics Department. I served as the Assistant Director of this program from 1996-2003, and continue to serve on the curriculum and comprehensive exam committees. It is a small, fiscally stressed program that nonetheless survives and thrives. In addition, I am on the graduate faculty at UNR, and serve on a number of committees for graduate students in a variety of departments. As an advisor, I have graduated 4 students, 2 Ph.D. and 2 Masters students. They are all working in the field. One Ph.D. student is at Brookhaven National Lab, another is a professor at Yarmouk University in Jordan. 1 M.S. student is at SAI in the WA DC area doing numerical modeling of mesoscale meteorology, and the second MS student has just started a new job at NCAR doing cloud microphysics analysis. I currently have 2 Ph.D. students.
I guide theses and dissertations for undergrad and grad students, serve on student committees, teach the atmospheric sciences graduate seminar course, and organize and administer the comprehensive examination to atmospheric sciences graduate students.