John Jones, an Associate Professor in the School of Engineering Science, didn’t plan on becoming a professor. His first teaching position was at a school in rural Kenya, where he winged it with no formal training. From this inexpert stage, he has advanced to become one of the three 2010 Excellence in Teaching Award recipients.
Early in his career, Jones devoted himself to research in his field and spent five years as an engine analyst for General Motors Research Laboratories. Although he remains active in engineering research, Jones has found that his passion lies in teaching. He has created an engineering history course that lets students better understand the background and foundation of their chosen field and what they can expect as they progress.
Good teaching, he claims, involves creating an awareness of one’s ignorance. He feels that professors should maintain beginner’s mind. Jones tries to ask unexpected kinds of question to pique students’ enthusiasm and interest. This pro-active and experimental attitude is part of an overall commitment to the student learning experience. His students appreciate the dedication of their professor and several have commented that they recommend his courses even to peers who do not study engineering.
How do you respond to Jones’ suggestions and ideas? Let us know in the comments below.