Teaching is a central component of my scholarly identity. For me, the ability to communicate knowledge and passion is as important as the ability to produce it. I have two main goals in my teaching. First, I want to guide students to find their passion and talent and mentor them in expressing them. In my experience, many students do not know what they want to do or whether they are capable of becoming what they want to be. My intention is to guide my students to find the path that they want to follow and give them the assurance that boosts their self-confidence. Second, I plan to mentor my students in questioning and challenging existing knowledge and help them to understand that knowledge formation is as social as it is scientific.
I find that understanding interdisciplinary education is crucial in broadening students’ perspectives and in helping the students to find their passion. This is particularly the case in teaching policies and governance around newly emerging technologies and cyber-physical systems for two reasons: (1) students often come from widely varying backgrounds from social to natural sciences and even engineering and have different modes of learning; (2) because students are expected to understand the complex socio-economic structures that affect corporate sustainability and AI and cyber-physical systems.
To find ways to effectively reach my teaching goals, I have earned a Certificate in College Teaching, from the Center for Teaching at Vanderbilt University. Moreover, I have received specialized training on online teaching. In the process of getting the certificate, I have attended workshops that focused on college teaching, effective communication, and different learning activities for efficient teaching not just in physical classrooms but also in online teaching environments.
In order to effectively communicate the goals and contents, I use various experimental designs in my classrooms. I tend to limit my lectures to a minimum, only using it to clarify a concept or a theory. I heavily rely on small group debates and personal projects that culminate in case studies or presentations, and video clips. I find that these different experimental designs break down the classroom time into smaller sections; consequently, helping students to focus better. In my teaching evaluations, many students noted that class discussions were particularly helpful. I find that teaching is a constant experimentation with a range of pedagogical techniques.
My teaching philosophy has been implemented thoroughly in my solo-taught class, Human Behavior in Organizations. In building the syllabus, my main goal for the students was to guide them to understand the power structures that exist in organizations and its effect on the technology governance and regulations, policy design, and diversity practices. For their final project, students could choose an organization and investigate their corporate behavior and environmental practices. My teaching efforts thus far in the classroom have been successful as evidenced by my evaluations. Overall, evaluations of my instruction for this class averaged 4.89 out of 5.
Furthermore, as a part of the National Science Foundation grant that supports cross education, I have been involved in interdisciplinary teaching of engineering and computer science students. In spring 2020, I co-taught the class, Science of Design for Societal-Scale Cyber-Physical Systems, in which I focused on teaching the social and economic benefits and challenges of artificial intelligence and new and emerging technologies. The topics included personal data privacy, safety and liability of regulatory policies of connected and automated vehicles (self-driving vehicles), and economic benefits and challenges of transactive energy systems.
Additionally, when I was a teaching assistant for Professor David Hess’s Energy Transitions and Society, I learned to communicate with students from diverse backgrounds. Because the student composition in class were so diverse that I learnt to be very clear in all my communications and I drew from real-life examples to explain complex social theories when I guest lectured for this class. My effort was highly praised in my evaluation with an average score of 4.67 out of 5.
My training has prepared to teach multiple courses including but not limited to Corporate Sustainability; Energy Companies and Sustainable Transitions; Business Ethics and Artificial Intelligence; Digital Data and Energy; and New Technologies and Corporate Policy. The classes that I am interested in teaching particularly benefit from interdisciplinary education. They involve social science and management, geography, earth and environmental sciences, and computer science. In addition, I am also interested in teaching quantitative methods classes: Programming in R; Introduction to Data Analysis and Visualization; and more advanced methods classes for social science research, such as Structural Equation Modeling; Latent Growth Curve Modeling; and Multilevel Analysis. I plan to fully incorporate my successful teaching techniques to help students be aware of critical issues that we face in contemporary society as well as continue to develop my pedagogical repertoire.
I hope to work with undergraduate and graduate students on different projects. I perceive data management, research design and methods, writing an academic article, and submitting articles to journals to be parts of mentoring processes that students benefit from. By writing and publishing papers with undergraduate and graduate students, I hope to have the opportunities to train them as critical thinkers and experts.
I regularly reflect and attempt to improve my teaching by drawing from my experiences of working with and supervising undergraduate students. For a project that I worked on with Professor David Hess on media representations and framing strategies of different actors in the solar transitions in the United States, I supervised six undergraduate research assistants. Through holding weekly meetings and working with these students for a period of a semester, I learnt that between a mentor and mentee relationship, it is very important to have clear expectations, which must be expressed through direct communication, agreed set goals, organization, and reliability. I plan to work with students valuing these strategies and build strong relationships that contribute to the university community.