Each year, UIC honors some of its most dedicated and outstanding teachers with the Award for Excellence in Teaching. The winners, who receive a $5,000 salary increase, are selected by past recipients of the award from nominations made by departments and colleges.
Professor of Educational Psychology
Years at UIC: 14
What does it mean to win an Excellence in Teaching Award?
The opportunity to teach is one of the major reasons that I chose an academic career. It is a great honor for me to receive this recognition. I appreciate the support from my students and colleagues.
What do you teach?
I teach statistics and measurement courses. I have taught the following courses at UIC: Regression, Analysis of Variance, Multivariate Analysis, Hierarchical Linear Modeling, Educational Measurement, and Item Response Theory.
How do you engage students in your courses?
I mostly teach statistics, which can be dry and abstract. To help students better understand the concepts, master the skills, and become proficient in the subjects, I design tasks for students to get hands-on experience. For example, in all my courses, I provide students with many data sets and/or real-world scenarios so that they can implement the techniques they have learned to solve problems. I encourage students to design their research studies in which they can apply the methods they learned in class. I also encourage students to share with the class research articles in their fields that applied the methods being taught. As the contents are concrete and relevant, students tend to be engaged and motivated to learn.
What do you enjoy most about teaching at UIC?
Students in my classes come from various fields, for example, education, social work, management school and nursing. Students tend to have diverse backgrounds, such as prior knowledge, perspectives, experiences, cultures and ethnicities. I enjoy sharing my expertise with students, watching them grow intellectually and applying what they learned in their particular fields. Meanwhile, it is fascinating that I learn from them and am inspired by them all the time.
What are your research interests?
My research focuses on how to use assessments to help improve instruction and learning, especially in the field of science, technology, engineering and mathematics.
What is your advice to students considering a teaching career?
First, try not to talk too much for too long. When instructors keep talking (for example, for more than 10 minutes), students may lose their attention. It is critical to embed questions or exercises frequently during lectures for students to try out and/or discuss so that they can be actively engaged in learning.