The manner in which my courses are conducted reflects my teaching philosophy, which is to provide close support (intellectual, emotional, or personal, as necessary) to each student in the program. It is my impression that the principal cause of failure is often not the intellectual difficulties of the material, but rather motivational and personal matters. A student may not be doing the homework diligently, or may have serious family problems that are distracting him or her from their schoolwork. I attempt to identify and help correct such problems early on in the semester. That is one of the reasons for personally going over each student´s homework in detail, and also one of the reasons for personal counseling (just in the Fall 2004 semester, I had over 350 personal meetings with my students). Although very time-consuming for me, it may be the only way to ensure the survival of students in the developmental chemistry sequence. The cumulative passing rate of over 80% for the 3500 plus students I have taught here at NJIT since 1981 may indicate some success of this philosophy.
In the classroom, I try to hold my students attention with visuals, models and demonstrations, rather than simply lecturing. I also do my best to be always encouraging. About the only time I really get upset is when the students prematurely give up! I teach students chemistry - rather than teaching chemistry to students. Perhaps the most valuable lessons I hope my students learn in Chemistry 121 are such things as being on time, working hard, respecting their abilities, and not giving up on themselves.