I place immense value on learning. I push students’ understanding of material by asking them about the problems they are solving. There is value in computational problem-solving, but I find it is much more valuable if students understand more than the plug-and-chug. My goal as an instructor is to help students understand how to problem-solve without a formula. Formulas only have value if you understand where they come from. The conceptual understanding sets students apart because it gives them a skill they can use to solve problems that do not have pre-defined formulas. It also allows them to interpret results from problems that do have pre-defined formulas.
My goal for our mathematics majors is that when they get a job in the field, they have the confidence and tools to solve any problem thrown at them. I want them to be able to critically analyze the problem given, and appropriately solve it for their employer. Mathematical modeling is the primary tool for converting a physical problem into mathematics, solving it, and analyzing the results. This is why I started a Mathematical Modeling course in Fall 2016.
In the classroom, I am constantly looking for a balance between personal freedom of the students and how to get them all learning the material. I feel that feedback is extremely important; I like to grade quickly and pass back student work asap. Similarly, I like my students to tell me when they want me to add something – if students are struggling with a particular subject I want to know, and I want to help them because without that feedback I can’t help them learn.
I feel that every student has their own goals and expectations for each class, and I try to respect that. I try to see each perspective as best I can, and I try to meet their expectations – I’m not here to restrict, force, or judge them – I’m here to help them learn.
Teaching Portfolio (it’s old, but it’s mine.)
Numerical Analysis I
Numerical Analysis II
Partial Differential Equations
Mathematical Applications of Optics
Mathematics of Light Propagation
Mathematics of Protein Folding
Mathematics of Fluid Dynamics
College Algebra through Modeling