Teaching Statement

One of the key reasons I am seeking an academic appointment is my interest in teaching. I have taught several courses, in university and other settings, and have always enjoyed them. I do not view teaching and research in the dichotomous way in which they are often viewed. I believe the abilities honed by teaching–to communicate and understand ideas clearly, to provoke curiosity in others and myself, and to appreciate a diversity of ways of approaching and solving problems–are central to all aspects of research: designing experiments, getting funding, managing personnel, and publishing excellent papers.

I have taught undergraduate-level courses on a wide range of topics: university courses in finite mathematics and scientific logic, and pre-medical courses in biology, physics, and chemistry. I am prepared to teach graduate courses on vision science, retinal anatomy and physiology, scientific computing, or image processing and analysis, and I can give lectures in the ophthalmic components of the neurology, histology, or pathology courses for M.D. students.

Finally, I have a strong background in inquiry-based learning, having attended five week-long NSF workshops on the topic. I have designed and led inquiry-based labs for graduate students in astronomy and optics, and I’ve had opportunities to observe such activities on numerous occasions. I feel strongly that some aspects of undergraduate science education should be inquiry-based, both because such activities draw into the sciences many students who would otherwise be uninterested, and because inquiry reminds all the participants–even advanced students and faculty members–of the basic techniques and cognitive skills that are the foundations of good scientific research.