My teaching philosophy focuses on promoting a growth mindset in an active learning environment that is inclusive for all; I have refined this through experience in instructing courses on organic chemistry, process control, chemical process modeling, and advanced decision-making.
Active learning seeks a dynamic learning environment that readily encourages student engagement, contrary to traditional lecture-based approaches. I employ a flipped classroom where I cover new material via concise video lectures and use classroom time to conduct supervised learning exercises that allow students to engage in deliberate practice. I establish clear learning objectives based on Bloom’s taxonomy (which defines 6 cognitive learning processes and 4 types of knowledge) to guide the development of instruction, assessments, and exercises (e.g., think-pair-share, concept mapping, and live polling). I also provide my students with a transparent teaching vision at the beginning of a course, so they know that I will use cutting-edge teaching strategies, advocate for their success, and solicit their feedback for improvement.
Learning with a Growth Mindset
A growth mindset affirms that mastery comes with sufficient time and effort in contrast to the misconception that intelligence/mastery is innate which stifles progress, promotes superficial understanding, and discourages active learning. To promote a growth mindset, I directly discuss this concept, recognize students’ improvement, and structure courses that reward genuine effort such that failures become opportunities for learning. For instance, I encourage students to submit test corrections to regain partial credit. I also assist individual students identify effective learning strategies on which to focus their effort. This is an especially important for STEM students who are often discouraged by a barrage of challenging courses (e.g., chemistry, mathematics, thermodynamics). In short, I strive to establish a classroom with the understanding that everyone can excel regardless of the ease at which understanding comes initially.
Inclusive Learning Environment
Inclusive learning environments allow all students (especially underrepresented groups) to feel a sense of belonging and to equitably receive the support they need. I strive to foster an inclusive learning environment via a transparently inclusive teaching style, connecting personally, determining student expectations, modeling inclusive language/behavior, providing diverse channels of participation, facilitating collaborative small group work, and soliciting frequent anonymous student feedback. I also do not tolerate any derogatory, offensive, or discriminatory comments/actions (taking swift recourse as needed). Finally, my lived experience in battling physical disabilities empassions me to ensure that all are equitably accommodated in my classroom and beyond.
The Interplay Between Research and Teaching
Learning from some professors I’ve observed overfocus on research to the detriment of their teaching engagement, I endeavor to use the same standard of excellence in both my teaching and research pursuits. Furthermore, I plan to leverage my research to innovate course curriculum; for instance, I can incorporate excerpts from my research to instruct how uncertainty/statistics (a common weak-point for students) play an important role in the subject matter (e.g., chemical process design). This allows me to discuss areas I am passionate about and encourage undergraduate research. I can also tie my research directly into relevant graduate-level courses.