As a university professor, I have been blessed with a unique opportunity to contribute to the shaping of society and the future. From the earliest opportunities that I had to interact with students, my goal was to make a positive difference in their lives, thereby repaying those faculty members who nurtured and encouraged me when I was pursuing my own education.
At the heart of my teaching philosophy is my belief that the role of a teacher is not only to lecture the course, but also he should inspire the students and stimulate their creativities. In my opinion, this strong belief incorporates two core principles, iterative process of learning and effective communication between instructor and students. The former helps students to move forward through the steps of Bloom’s taxonomy from remembering to creating. The latter helps the instructor to inspire students more effectively and help them better comprehend course materials. I take advantage of different tools such as homework assignments, multiple midterm exams and a project in the course syllabus to ensure that the iterative process of learning occurs. The project is critical for students’ learning since it would allow them to synthesize what they have learned and work on something practical that can be applied to a real-life problem.
One of my most dearly held beliefs is that it is the professor’s responsibility to help students learn how to learn. It is a very important skill for students in our ever-changing world where technology advancements change human needs and expectations rapidly. Learning is often measured by the amount of information a student has absorbed. I think this is an easy but uninspired vision of learning. Learning, in an exciting sense, really happens when factual knowledge is accompanied by the ability to apply knowledge, to synthesize, to make predictions and judgments, and ultimately, to make defensible normative claims. To achieve this goal, I organize a discussion forum and group projects in my courses where students take more responsibility for their own education. I post related articles and real-world problems and motivate students to critique the article, share their opinion and discuss different aspects of the subject matter together. I also provide my undergraduate and graduate students with related research opportunities. By carefully designing such special discussions, group projects and research topics, students can explore their own intellectual capabilities in a cooperative environment, which triggers their creativity and completes the learning process.
Professors, as role models for students, play significant roles in preparing them for future careers. To achieve this ultimate goal, a professor should voluntarily share his information with students and advise them considering their backgrounds and career goals. I aim at informing my students at the possibilities of graduate school and potential career tracks based on graduate school. I would endeavor to provide my students with all the help and information they need to pursue a career where they can accomplish greatness. In the meanwhile, I continue to promote a high level of expectation for my students, both in the classroom and afterwards in their professional career.
Furthermore, I strongly believe that a teacher must update his knowledge and improve his teaching skills on a continuous basis. In my opinion, students will be more motivated and inspired by a teacher who uses cutting-edge resources and incorporates modern media in his teaching. I will continue to challenge myself by adapting more effective teaching styles and continuously evolving the course content to match the ever-changing needs of students, industry and academia. I strive to be responsive to the changing classroom dynamic and to students’ particular learning needs. I know that I will never teach the same class twice, and I will always expect that what works for me one semester may not work the next. This dynamism is at once exciting and intimidating.
Last but not the least, I believe that mutual respect between students and the teacher is indispensable component of a productive learning environment. I strive to earn students’ respects in a variety of ways, given that respect cannot simply be awarded. I take a sincere interest in the well-being of students, closely monitor their performance, interact with them on academic and professional levels and try to challenge them in ways that will benefit them and provide a sense of accomplishment. In the evaluation surveys conducted by Auburn University and Clarkson University at the end of the semesters, students specifically mentioned that they enjoyed my teaching style, my communication skills inside and outside the classroom and how enthusiastic I am about my teaching responsibilities. I hope that my teaching efforts have helped and continue to help produce professionals who are valuable contributors to the profession and society.
In conclusion, learning and teaching are essential and invigorating aspects of my intellectual life. The university atmosphere allows me to continue to grow, personally and intellectually, because I am challenged by colleagues, students, and other members of the community who present and defend their ideas in the university setting. This vitality, a deliberative and provocative vitality, is what drew me to a career as a professor, and it is what will continue to challenge me, both as an instructor and a scholar, in the future.