My teaching philosophy is to shape junior colleagues who see the world through the lens of mathematics and also see mathematics as a world in itself. I want them to be active citizens in both worlds, to appreciate that mathematics is the finest construct of the human imagination and, at the same time, that it constitutes the language of almost every discourse of modern civilization.
In addition to delivering high-quality course content, I want my students to see learning, thinking and teaching as valuable skills that will enhance their quality of life long after they leave the classroom. I want them to ask questions, look for answers and find meaning and satisfaction in the process.
There is no more relevant or important skill in contemporary education than the ability to hold, present and defend vigorously our perspectives through the articulation of that information and meaning. My teaching philosophy stipulates that every aspect of human thought and action can be thought of as a text, and that the entire process of communication is defined by its influences, intentions and interruptions. My philosophy mandates that every brand of academic thought has importance in the way that we choose to interpret human ideas. The history of human thought and communication can be perceived as a series of modes that inform and extend meaning.
I am committed to a dialogic, collaborative learning environment. I create a space and place where risk-taking and embodied engagement interconnect with critical thinking and an investigation of human behavior and relationships. I believe an arts-based approach to instruction actively engages participants in their education, enabling them to become advocates for their own emotional and intellectual development.
Teach a student a fact, they can answer a question. Teach a student how to think, they can ask their own questions.
I strive to be a compassionate educator that cares not only about the student's learning of the specific subject matter of the course but also about those aspects that will make them better human beings. I always tell my students “when I see you, I see my children” and that is how I treat them.
In a classic Saturday Night Live sketch from the 1970s, Father Guido Sarducci proposes the Five Minute University, suggesting that universities should only teach what students remember five years after graduation. While I acknowledge that gaining hard factual knowledge is of course desirable, ultimately I want my students to leave my courses with the ability to think critically; communicate articulately, both verbally and in writing; be able to work with others while considering different points of view; and take personal responsibility for their actions, continually self-assessing and adjusting their behavior in order to improve. If my students can still do these things five years after graduation, even if they cannot remember the details of a historical event, I feel that I have been successful as a teacher.
To me, excellent teaching begins with deep respect for students, their goals and the experiences that have brought them to this particular point in their lives. Our students are wonderfully bright and talented, and their desire to learn is inspiring. In every class, my fundamental goal is to bring about change in the ways students think about learning, development and motivation. To achieve deep and lasting change I must challenge students to question their current level of understanding and come to see that by evaluating assumptions, evidence and conclusions they can better understand ideas, and generate new ideas, that matter to their lives and goals.
My goal is to guide these intelligent and highly motivated students through the difficult transition from college student to valued healthcare provider. While they are expected to process large volumes of information at an unprecedented pace, I strive to help them understand their purpose is not merely to achieve high marks, but to focus on acquiring the knowledge and skills required to serve the evolving healthcare needs of our communities.
As an art educator I have the unique opportunity of helping students to define themselves as leaders and visionaries in the field of teaching. My own teaching philosophy stresses the importance of visual literacy in life experiences and the artistic and visual components of critical analysis and higher order applications in learning. I strive to prepare future visual art teachers to be important contributors to the success of all children in our educational system and in our culture.
For me, learning and teaching are inseparable processes. My own favorite teachers always seemed to position themselves as my fellow learners; rather than "instructing down to" students, they seemed to "learn along with" them, taking apparent joy in the process of discovery through discussion. At UTSA, I have certainly delighted in exploring complex issues with my students, who perennially challenge my perspectives and help me grow as a teacher.
I like to prepare the students for real life by making them not only understand the concepts in biology but also be able to apply them to solve problems and to help them become innovators.
My job as their instructor is to help my students get beyond their chemistry anxiety and to learn: to learn chemistry, for sure, but also to learn how to study, to learn how to challenge themselves and to learn that they can succeed. Most of students come to my classes with negative feelings toward chemistry. I hope to change that through my teaching.
I have been an engineering educator for nearly 20 years now, and I still believe that two of the greatest skills that I acquired from my undergraduate education were how to think and how to learn. These are not only important in engineering, but also in life in general. I strive to instill the importance of critical thinking and lifelong learning in my students by incorporating various techniques into classroom instruction, engaging them in activities that develop them wholly and encouraging them to pursue goals beyond their academic achievements.