Irena CreedFaculty of Science

Teaching

“Tell me and I forget. Teach me and I remember. Involve me and I learn.”
Benjamin Franklin
 
I am multidimensional. I bring to my students years of traditional and non-traditional experiences. I bring experiences working for private and public sectors, working as a consultant with industry, governmental, and non-governmental organizations, and working on local, national, and international research projects. From these experiences I relay to students that the world needs “those that do” and not “those that think/talk about doing.”  To back my beliefs, I give all students opportunities to “do” the subject, not just hear about how others did it.  The students complete milestones, but their pride is in the process of learning and making decisions to realize the outcome of their efforts. It is rewarding for me to see their successes.

To turn my belief into a teaching philosophy requires a different approach to teaching.  While it is essential to have the “lecture”- type presentation, the definitive aspect of my courses is achieved through creating a more personable learning experience – generating synchronized lecture and laboratory exercises where students are exposed to and apply concepts within a single week; providing opportunities to visit research facilities; creating liaisons where students serve as consultants for clients within the community (a mini-Co-Op experience); and bringing regional, national, and international leaders into the classroom for face-to-face discussion – all chances for a student to elevate themselves in the courses. To accomplish this I keep my mind, my heart, and my office open to my students – can you imagine the disappointment a student will feel if given a project to accomplish yet no one cares enough to detail their initial worries or their final concerns?  I also accomplish this through ensuring that my classes are not “museum pieces” but require students to learn state-of-the-art approaches.  Thus students start off with the most modern approach to the subject and are encouraged to extend it further. Students are proud of their achievements. Their status is reaffirmed by my confidence in them, by the enthusiasm of clients who get a project completed that is usable, and by scientific leaders who walk away impressed by the quality of students at UWO.

I try to create in my students a feeling that they are the “top guns” of the academic world and that UWO is offering them real projects with real opportunities for their solutions.  The academic path is fraught with pitfalls.  So, when there are bumps along the way, I encourage them and I remind them to keep things in perspective – “They who laugh, last!” By empowering students with opportunity and mentorship I witness students striving to exceed my expectations that I convey to them through my enthusiasm.