I strongly believe that a successful professor should not only have an impactful research, but also inspire the youth generation and nurture the future scientists. I also enjoy interacting with students and often find it a mind-opening process for me. During my PhD study at University of Louisiana at Lafayette, I accumulated substantial teaching experience. I was the teaching assistant for an introductory undergraduate course on object-oriented programming, which provides me with ample opportunities for advising students with a diverse background, from non-engineering to CS graduate students. I have also given lectures for additional explanation on the assignments and labs of the course. I also gained teaching experience through hands-on programming tutorials.
I consider teaching and student advising to be an important part of my academic career and to complement my research activities. My teaching philosophy consists of three key components: intuition, peer-learning, and practice. At the end of a teaching session, students should be able to place the knowledge, to explain the concepts clearly to their peers, and to have hands-on experience to solve practical problems.
Intuition: I observed that it is important to explain things intuitively and clearly behind any concepts before delving into definitions and proofs. Motivating examples support the concrete concepts and corner points through illustrations, and it will leave lasting impression on students. The intuition helps them nail a reference in their subtle mind, which can be looked up anytime if needed. The intuition of a specific approach also is often general and transferable, which helps students relating their knowledge to other approaches if applicable.
Peer-learning: Teaching something to someone always requires me with new insights in turn, so I believe that students learn effectively when they can explain clearly what they have understood to their peers. Peer-learning is also an efficient way to help students to be collaboratively and actively learners. As an educator, my goal is to guide them to ask questions without hesitation, encourage them thinking critically, and provide them useful resources to learn independently. To this end, the most common way to implement is in-person group discussion. I also encourage students to get involved in teaching by leading reading groups. These will help them developing critical thinking and provide complementary insights for their careers.
Practice: Both intuition and peer-learning only support students to understand the concepts in the abstractive ways with a system-level knowledge. To fill the gap between theory and practice, they will need to equip hands-on skills by applying their knowledge to the real-world applications. This helps students understanding better what principles they have learned, and what happens when those theoretical assumptions no longer hold in practices. To achieve this goal, I will design assignments, labs, and projects that convey in-class knowledge to the practical problems and real-world applications. For example, for machine learning course, I would like to explore datasets and interpret them in various fields, and so on.
Lastly, my objective is to contribute to the growth of the prestige of the ECE department and its undergraduate and graduate programs by teaching existing and developing new courses, building a strong research group in computer architecture with machine learning and artificial intelligence for systems; and building multidisciplinary collaborations with other schools and departments at the university.
I look forward to teaching courses related to computer science and engineering at various levels, such as:
· Computer Organization and Assembly Language (undergraduate level)
· Computer Architecture (both undergraduate and graduate level)
· Machine Learning, including topics on both traditional approaches and recent updates in Reinforcement Learning. (both undergraduate and graduate level)
· Hands-on Deep Learning for Computer Vision. (graduate level)