My passion for imparting knowledge and the opportunity to impact the next generation directed me to a career as an engineering educator. I believe my students like my emphasis on “straight talk” and “tough love.” I let my students know every minute they are in my classroom the importance of why they need to be there in terms of their future and (frankly) the future of our nation.
I believe my colleagues would say they admire my lack of fear in trying something new in the classroom. I am never complacent with teaching. As such, I am always asking how can we do this better to better engage our students?

Sharing experiences

I focus on sharing my experience with the students. My story: I failed my first exam in my first ChE course, fluid mechanics. I thought, “Oh boy, this is not for me.” But my professor told me that I just had to work harder, and I did and ended up working my way back to an “A.” My message to students: You can all succeed in engineering provided you have the raw materials - which a lot of you do if you made it into engineering at Michigan - and a willingness to do the hard work.” I then show students sample grades from the prior year of students who also were able to work their way back from a bad first exam to an “A.”

I also spend a lot of time highlighting to students the critical role of engineering/engineers - in this case chemical engineering - play in our society and the bigger role it is poised to play in the future. For example, the department brings in alumni to the classroom during homecoming game. The times I was teaching the materials and energy balance course, I would ask the alumni to comment on how they have used the particular course material in their jobs. This is always an eye opening experience for the students.

Practice, practice, practice

That is what I tell my students. I often spend the first day of classes explaining why students need to do their homework on their own as well as extra practice problem. I use the analogy of driving to a location for the first time. I ask, “How many of you have driven to a particular location time and time again with, say, your parents and you are sure you know how to get there? Then you get your license and it is your time to drive there solo.” I ask the class what often happens, to which their response is always – the detail of the route is often fuzzy for the first solo drive. Then I say to tell them this is what happens when you only learn materials from the lectures and work in groups for homework. If you do not practice on your own, then your first “solo drive” will be on the test – this would be a bad idea. To encourage student to work on their homework individual, I have the homework worth no more than 8% of my course grade and show them the math – with 70 – 80% on their homework grades, they can still make a solid grade in the course.

Balancing practice and research

Time management is the biggest challenge; being a good teacher and being a good researcher both requires being innovative, which takes time. I manage by finding way of integrating my research and teaching. When I taught a mass and heat transfer course, I always incorporated examples from my research into the classroom. I also employ the “each-one-teach-one” technique in my teaching, particularly for the required course projects.

Outside of work I enjoy food – both cooking and eating.

My passion for imparting knowledge and the opportunity to impact the next generation directed me to a career as an engineering educator. I believe my students like my emphasis on “straight talk” and “tough love.” I let my students know every minute they are in my classroom the importance of why they need to be there in terms of their future and (frankly) the future of our nation.
I believe my colleagues would say they admire my lack of fear in trying something new in the classroom. I am never complacent with teaching. As such, I am always asking how can we do this better to better engage our students?

Sharing experiences

I focus on sharing my experience with the students. My story: I failed my first exam in my first ChE course, fluid mechanics. I thought, “Oh boy, this is not for me.” But my professor told me that I just had to work harder, and I did and ended up working my way back to an “A.” My message to students: You can all succeed in engineering provided you have the raw materials - which a lot of you do if you made it into engineering at Michigan - and a willingness to do the hard work.” I then show students sample grades from the prior year of students who also were able to work their way back from a bad first exam to an “A.”

I also spend a lot of time highlighting to students the critical role of engineering/engineers - in this case chemical engineering - play in our society and the bigger role it is poised to play in the future. For example, the department brings in alumni to the classroom during homecoming game. The times I was teaching the materials and energy balance course, I would ask the alumni to comment on how they have used the particular course material in their jobs. This is always an eye opening experience for the students.

Practice, practice, practice

That is what I tell my students. I often spend the first day of classes explaining why students need to do their homework on their own as well as extra practice problem. I use the analogy of driving to a location for the first time. I ask, “How many of you have driven to a particular location time and time again with, say, your parents and you are sure you know how to get there? Then you get your license and it is your time to drive there solo.” I ask the class what often happens, to which their response is always – the detail of the route is often fuzzy for the first solo drive. Then I say to tell them this is what happens when you only learn materials from the lectures and work in groups for homework. If you do not practice on your own, then your first “solo drive” will be on the test – this would be a bad idea. To encourage student to work on their homework individual, I have the homework worth no more than 8% of my course grade and show them the math – with 70 – 80% on their homework grades, they can still make a solid grade in the course.

Balancing practice and research

Time management is the biggest challenge; being a good teacher and being a good researcher both requires being innovative, which takes time. I manage by finding way of integrating my research and teaching. When I taught a mass and heat transfer course, I always incorporated examples from my research into the classroom. I also employ the “each-one-teach-one” technique in my teaching, particularly for the required course projects.

Outside of work I enjoy food – both cooking and eating.