I’ve been at Mizzou for 35 years and I’m a professor of Physics so my job involves research, teaching, and service. My research is in the area of optical spectroscopy and I specialize in doing studies using high pressure on semi-conducting materials which basically means I use a diamond anvil cell and I use lasers to study the optical properties of what happens to semi-conductors and organic semi-conductors as we apply pressure. Another part of my job is to teach and that has been a passion of mine for a great many years.
One of the things I love about teaching is the interaction with students. So, over the years I’ve developed classes where student interaction is an integral part of the class. For example, in many classes the teacher stands up there and is the sage on the stage and talks to all the students and the students dutifully write everything down and learn stuff and come back and take their test. I feel that it is very important for students, instead, to also be part of the class, to be interacting with each other and with the professor as they learn the material in the class. So, it’s not just a passive learning; it’s active learning that is important for students.