On the educational side, my interests in teaching and research have a great deal of overlap. That is, for both I seek to improve teaching and learning through scholarly pedagogical approaches, assessments and measurements, and curriculum design. As well, my dissertation study relates to faculty development, looking at motivational characteristics of faculty engagement in assessment of student learning. Therefore, much of my interest lies in finding ways to improve the academic culture so that faculty and students engage in teaching and learning intrinsically, based in Self-Determination Theory. I will expand on these briefly.
First, I believe that scholarly teaching is of the utmost importance, informed by research from the field and contributing to the knowledge base whenever possible. Pedagogy, assessment, and curriculum design are topics that are at the center of scholarly teaching and are receiving a lot of attention currently. For pedagogy, I prefer approaches that utilize active learning, are based in the constructivist epistemology, and that engage critical pedagogies; a good example would be problem-based learning. Further, assessment plays an important role in teaching, serving as the feedback mechanism to inform instructors on how well they are achieving learning outcomes and goals, and should be engaged in both formative and summative manners. Finally, for curriculum design I prefer the “Backward Design” approach endorsed by Wiggins and McTighe, working from learning objectives to assessments to pedagogy for both course and curricular design, and using practices like spiraling.
My dissertation work with faculty development is aimed at improving how engineering is taught, helping instructors discover the incredible approaches to teaching available in the literature. With my approach, grounded in the motivation theory Self-Determination Theory, I aim to bring faculty to use quality teaching measures like assessment by appealing to their intrinsic interests and goals, to the benefit of students, instructors, and administrators alike. I also have strong interest in outreach to K-12 education and the general populace, sharing the basics as well as cutting-edge research with those outside the walls of academia; to this end, I have recently written some newspaper articles on topics such as learning, classroom rules and etiquette, and motivation.
On the engineering side, my interests in teaching and research center on electrical and computer engineering for automotive, electronics, and alternative energy applications. I am quite comfortable teaching in these areas, as I have taught a senior level electronics course, Advanced Circuit Design, as an instructor, been a graduate teaching assistant for first-year engineering courses and junior-year electrical and computer engineering courses, and have been tutoring for various courses since middle school.
With the Future Energy Electronics Center (FEEC), I worked on projects for the Department of Energy (DOE), Tatung (a Taiwanese company), and Visteon Corporation. Each project involved dc-dc converters or dc-ac inverters, designed using state-of-the-art control methods and electronics to maximize energy efficiency for applications to hybrid and fuel cell vehicles, as well as a thermo-electric generator for automotive use. I really enjoyed this work and the fuel cell modeling that I did and would enjoy doing it again, though I would really like to get more involved with the latest developments such as plug-in hybrids and power management controls. As well, the work I did with FEEC did not have enough outreach and teaching opportunities, and I would like to find those as well.