Teaching Philosophy

     Teaching is an important aspect of an academic profession and is not to be taken lightly. I have been teaching for the last 16 years; this has been always been one of the main attractions of the profession for me. I enjoy teaching statistics at both the graduate and undergraduate levels and I enjoy interacting with students. One of the profound strengths of a competent teacher is his or her ability to motivate students inside and outside of the classroom.  This includes providing a detailed syllabus so that students can see what’s coming and gets a head start if they desire; being punctual in assigning and returning homework; making review sheets available before exams; and streamlining the courses so that lectures, lab class, and textbooks build upon each in a consistent fashion.


     Teaching at the undergraduate level poses a number of important challenges for the instructor; for example, teachers need to keep students’ attention and develop their abstract thinking. I always found that the following explanation works well: when introducing a new concept, first start with motivation and a “real-life” analogy, then give a formal definition, and finally illustrate it with examples.  I try to help students pay more attention to concepts and procedures rather than memorizing the facts.  One of the rewards of being a teacher is being able to introduce a whole new world to someone who hasn’t seen it before. The joy is in seeing someone finally “get it”. This is what my goal of teaching is: as opposed to merely giving them formulas, I do everything in my power to encourage students to ask questions during the class or outside the classroom.


            I teach the first course of statistics and an introduction to probability, two courses that are very important for many students. In these two courses I have students from computer science, all the engineering disciplines, geology, physics, biology, psychology, and mathematics. This forces me to be continuously creative in order to maintain multi-disciplinary students’ interest in probability and statistics. When I teach undergraduate courses, my goal is to ensure that students feel that the subject material is important in mathematics and other fields, useful and necessary in subsequent classes, and otherwise worth their effort. I teach statistics courses in such a manner that allows students to gain an appreciation of its usefulness in their own disciplines.


Maintaining the proper precision level of the subject and students’ concentration level often becomes little easier in advanced courses, but even there it still requires work and an innovative approach to teaching. When explaining a principle, or introducing a new concept, I often try to do it in the form of a conversation with students, and create a friendly environment, which makes them free to ask and answer questions without  feeling pressured or intimidated. This fosters their understanding of the materials more than just listing my explanations.








At the graduate level I have taught variety of courses such as Applied Multivariate Analysis, Statistical Inference, Industrial Statistics, Methods of Data Analysis, Experimental Design, and Applied Regression. All of these courses are the core courses for an OR/ STAT option graduate program here at New Mexico Tech. In our OR /STAT program, students are required to take these courses, and I am the only statistician at New Mexico Tech who can teach these courses. Every semester I teach one graduate course along with other courses. Most of these courses have considerable out –of- department enrollment. I find it is challenging and enjoyable to teach such a multidisciplinary audience. It is definitely a good experience for me to observe and participate in the discussions with students from other disciplines. For example, in the Data analysis and Industrial statistics courses students are required to present their term papers in class, so it is a positive experience for OR/STAT graduate students and students from other disciplines to interact.  In both the undergraduate and graduate statistics courses I use statistical packages such as Minitab or SAS.


To help students with test preparation, I prepare practice tests for them to look at and try out, usually a week before the actual test, and I organize review sessions. I also believe that it is important for an instructor to be readily available for additional questions and assistance, so I always hold regular office hours spread over at least three days and schedule additional appointments when necessary.


To conclude, I would like to stress once again that I have a strong commitment in teaching. My students’ performance and their written evaluations of my instruction indicate that my teaching has been very effective. It is important for me to be a professor so that I can make a difference in the lives of students by showing them the beauty, joy, and power of statistics. I feel privileged to be a part of this effort and hope to continue doing it for the rest of my professional career.