As university professors, we all have the responsibility to communicate information, teach skills, and bring new knowledge from our research into the classroom. I believe that my teaching is characterized by passion for the material, and the desire to share with my students the outstanding opportunities and great experiences that I've had. The architecture students that I teach begin to see the built environment with new eyes, understanding the significance of form and thinking with greater maturity about the implications of their own design decisions for the community that they serve.
I believe that it is my responsibility as a Clinical Psychologist to share with students not only the discoveries in my field, but to inspire students to contribute to that knowledge base. By providing a stimulating and respectful environment where new ideas can be shared, I help my students learn how to think and how to solve problems. I want them to gain both theoretical and practical knowledge and become fascinated with the field of psychology so that they might seek out additional training and jobs where they can put this information to use in the service of others.
Teaching is a reciprocal relationship between the teacher and the student. This requires the teacher to create norms in the learning space where students are able to deeply engage with ideas and questions and arrive at new ways of making sense of the world. In essence, good teaching is transformative. As a teacher educator, I seek to make this philosophy come to life for future teachers.
In management and leadership, I believe that the best way to learn a concept, theory, or framework is to apply it. This involves challenging students to reflect what they think they know about leadership and the way people work, enact those beliefs through experiential exercises, and reconcile their beliefs and experiences with those of other students, real world examples and decades of research. Most of all, what I love is helping students develop the courage to pursue their passion for where they want to make their mark in this world and then cultivate the insight to figure out how to go about doing it.
My goal in teaching is not only to exceed my students' expectations of me, but, more importantly, for me to enable them to exceed their own expectations. I strongly believe in transparency in the teaching exchange — allowing each student to see that I am human and, by doing so, empowering them to feel comfortable exposing their uncertainties as well as their opinions. Through the use of this liberating pedagogical approach I have found teaching to be a profoundly humbling experience and one that continues to inspire me and my students to strive for excellence.
As a historian, I always felt that that "thinking with history", that is, the ability to put complex human dynamics in perspective across time, is a critical skill in becoming a contributing member of society. Yet, I had no idea that this habit of mind would prove so beneficial to our students from all walks of life. This is particularly true for veterans, many of whom struggle with the transition to academic and civilian life after returning from the battlefields of Afghanistan and Iraq. The ability to apply an abstract academic notion to real-life situations is one thing that makes teaching meaningful.
Education fails when it exists only in the classroom. I seek to help my students understand how historical knowledge is created, used, and valued because their knowledge of the past must do work in the broader world in which they live. I want to see their abilities and enthusiasm reverberate throughout their lives for the good of the community.
I strive to help and serve students. My teaching is about their learning, their achievement, and their future success. My moral and ethical obligation is to aim for excellence and to treat each student as inherently valuable, with God-given talents, and worthy of interpersonal respect. Years after all the classroom learning, testing, and projects I hope former students genuinely can say, "Dr. Grisaffe made a positive difference in my life."
I am passionate about research and my goal while teaching is to identify mechanisms through which students can become directly involved in the research process at a meaningful and contemporary level. I want students to experience the excitement of research — the "wow" of when they discover something new, and to do this as undergraduates.
My task as a teacher is to help students engage in the world around them and become more effective advocates for the things which matter to them. Events that happen far from home have a profound importance on how we live our lives. Learning public speaking, argument, persuasion, analysis, and other tools lets students engage fully in a complicated world, and we all benefit as a result.
Whether in the classroom or research laboratory, on a regular basis I find myself using the phrase "A picture is worth a thousand words." It is this simple idea that flavors my teaching of both introductory science topics and cutting edge research discoveries. At some basic level, we are all students and we all need visual and revealing "images" to create a teachable moment, concentrate a thought, or communicate a message.
My primary goal as a teacher is to prepare students to be scientifically critical consumers of psychological information. I believe that encouraging critical thinking serves multiple purposes: it helps students better understand the psychology material we are discussing, and it also helps them develop skills that should be useful for them outside of the classroom.
To me, higher education is about the development of critical thinking skills, analytical ability, and discipline in the processing and delivery of information. Everyone practices this implicitly by nature; however, it's my job to help guide students to become more systematic at it, so when they leave the University, they have an edge. Regardless of whether my students are majoring in criminology or electrical engineering, motivating this style of learning is what inspires me, and it's very exciting to watch students develop as thinkers. My goal is to give them something they can take with them for the long haul.
Being a UT professor is a great honor for me, and it fuels my sense of responsibility to the students and my enthusiasm for teaching. For each class, my goal is to create a personal connection between the students and the material being presented through visual aids, small group activities, or sharing my own personal experiences. But most importantly, I have a genuine interest in the students' education and thoroughly enjoy sharing my lifelong passion for the ocean environment, perhaps helping students discover their own passions for the sea.
In both my classroom and research-based teaching, my approach is to stimulate the thinking of the students and facilitate their learning in a fashion similar to the research process: exploration and peer collaboration are key in both
My mission is to change the way the world thinks about energy. My approach is to use the living laboratory of the university to create an educational environment where students can explore their passions for energy and the environment in independent, self-guided ways. The result is that they develop a deep understanding of energy from a multidisciplinary perspective that includes engineering, science, economics, culture, and history, which they combine with leadership, communication, and civic engagement. I use traditional techniques (lectures with thought-provoking questions), field trips, multimedia tools, and unconventional historical documents to create a fun-spirited classroom setting where creativity and curiosity can flourish.
I believe that we have a responsibility to nurture the student's innate curiosity around asking the 'big questions' and then we must strive to create a classroom ethos conducive to building the critical thinking mindset that effectively addresses those big questions.