Teaching Portfolio

1. Teaching Accomplishment and Philosophy Statement

Teaching Accomplishments

In March 2020, I was recognized with “University of Georgia Outstanding Teaching Assistant Award” for contributions as a teaching assistant. In the Warnell School of Forestry and Natural Resources, I taught Field Measurement and Statistics, Renewable Resources Policy, Society and Natural Resources, and Economics of Renewable Resources. I prepared and delivered lectures, created and evaluated assignments, helped students in the labs (field and computer), and proctored exams. Currently, in Fall 2020, I am teaching a course that is filling me with great joy and that course is University Teaching in Forestry and Natural Resources—I am teaching how-to-teach and preparing the next generation of teaching assistants.

My teaching experience goes back almost two decades, beginning with tutoring grade school kids at age sixteen. After that, I was always a teacher. I have taught math and science to several middle and high school students from 2002 to 2010. In 2011, I started teaching GRE and TOEFL, and many of my students are now studying in USA and Canada. After I moved to the US to pursue higher degree, I started to teach online and created a video lecture series on GRE vocabulary based on my book VocaBuilder, available on YouTube. The videos in that series have been watched over six hundred thousand times in YouTube alone. That does not include the downloads from my book’s website or the DVD that goes with the book.

Teaching in a university setting was a deeply fulfilling experience because of the nature of the audience, who will go out in real world and directly use the knowledge from my classroom. All these experiences shaped my teaching philosophy and my primary mission as an instructor – to make the students’ time worthwhile. Let me elaborate on that.

 Teaching Philosophy Statement

Education is most effective when it also entertains. In my experience, students who are enjoying themselves are the most engaged and have the best learning outcomes. They educate themselves naturally when they find a topic interesting. The contract between a teacher and a student is not that the teacher should be a narrator for the content in books, but to make the subject matter exciting enough so that students spend their time on it enthusiastically. There are a variety of techniques to make the content enjoyable, such as references from popular books, movies, and TV series that has a connection with the content. For example, while teaching regression analysis, I may refer to the movie Ford Vs Ferrari to justify Ford’s historical decision to invest more on racing cars in order to win international races and get brand recognition, so that their affordable car sale gets a boost. Here, the dependent variable is sale of affordable cars, and one of the independent variables is investment on racing cars. Obviously, there will be parts of the subject matter that will provoke questions and require explanation from the instructor. I will try my hardest to fulfill my role doing just that—satisfy students’ thirst of knowing more. In my classroom, students will find a prepared instructor who focused not only on the content, but also made the content interesting.

When a student joins a class, there is a gap between what the students know and what they should know about the subject matter. This gap is not the same length for everyone and not everyone can cross his or her individual gap at the same pace. In my class, all students will be given a chance to get up to speed about the subject matter. Volunteers from students will be encouraged to perform this task within the first week of class. In addition, students will get an overview of all the course materials at the beginning of the course. Moreover, they will get the bigger picture on how the course may fit in their future goals. Students will take active part in learning throughout the duration of the course. After brief lecture, discussions with other students and solving problems among themselves will be emphasized in the classroom. Students will be divided into groups, whenever possible, to debate themselves about bifurcating ideas and reach a logical solution.

Obviously, there needs to be some technique to measure how much learning has occurred. Students will be tested based on their understanding of the core subject matter, not on memorizing bits that can be googled easily. In the test, students will get everything they can get their hands on in the real-world scenario. They will need to use their knowledge they acquire from the class to solve the problems presented in the test. Alongside students’ growth, instructor should grow as well. Students will provide multiple evaluations of my teaching, not just one at the end of the semester. My Teaching Perspective Inventory (TPI) survey results suggests that two of my strongest suits are developmental and nurturing, and that seems to support my view on teaching. I will try my best to reflect and improve my teaching based on the evaluations. My previous teaching evaluation records suggest that I have been relatable, approachable, efficient, fair, and dependable. I would like to continue excelling on all those qualities and will take all criticism as an opportunity to improve.

Let me include my diversity statement in teaching before my concluding remarks. I am from a developing country from Asia. For me, diversity and equity among students is an important and personal issue. I have travelled more than halfway around the world and learned that people are diverse in many categories (such as race, religion, preferences) and that cannot be a basis for discrimination. All my students will be treated equally from my part and I will try my best to create an environment where students do the same to each other.

To conclude my teaching philosophy, I would like to rephrase Sir Ken Robinson, a famous educational reformer. He said that education is not an industrial system, but an organic system, where learning and creativity can flourish by nurturing the field. I could not agree more. In my class, students will be nurtured, not programmed, to achieve their maximum creativity, as I will take my role as a facilitator to ensure that learning has occurred.

2. Statement of Research Interest

I chose to research the field of forestry and natural resources and the ecosystem services these resources provide because I believe in nature based solutions and I am deeply moved by the concept of sustaining the environment so that my next generation can cherish it.

For my current postdoctoral research, I am working on sustainability of bio-jet fuel from carinata seeds. I am performing techno-economic analysis of such bio-jet fuel and developing a supply chain model. For my recently completed doctoral research, I worked the economic and environmental sustainability of power generation from forest products such as pulpwood and logging residue. Forests provide various important ecosystem services such as regulating air quality and climate by sequestering carbon. In my dissertation, I developed mathematical optimization model to answer how stand carbon will change if there is a market shock of additional biomass demand in the coal-firing power plants to replace coal with energy-rich torrefied biomass. In a scientific article in Annual Review of Resource Economics, I ascertained trends of wood-based energy development in the US. I analyzed the unit cost of production and environmental externalities of wood-based bioenergy products, in conjunction with issues related to policies and social acceptability. This information is vital for developing a platform to forecast the trajectory of sustainable wood-based bioenergy development in the United States. Another publication from my dissertation was published in Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews where I estimated unit production cost, carbon intensity, and carbon abatement cost of biopower from feedstocks available in Georgia. This paper provides price competitive cleaner alternatives of fossil fuels that Georgia, as well as the southern US, can use in order to achieve a greener environment for its population. For the remaining part of my dissertation, I developed models with bioenergy production system with a special focus on land use change. In another publication in Forest Policy and Economics, I showed that Colombia can benefit from switching to diesel-based electricity to wood-based electricity by afforesting its Savannas with eucalyptus forest. Besides my terminal degree in the field of forestry, I completed an MS in Agricultural and Applied Economics in the University of Georgia, for which I developed a regional level (southeastern US) supply-chain model for forest products.

For my previous MS in Forest Resources, I used the life-cycle-assessment framework to estimate carbon balance of agroforest system in the Mississippi Alluvial Valley. I showed that cottonwood and switchgrass sequestered 6 and 3 times more carbon, respectively, than emitted during the production system. Both of those bioenergy crops emitted significantly less carbon in the atmosphere than the traditional soybean/grain sorghum cropping system. Before that, I worked in a research project to evaluate the services homestead forests provide to the indigenous communities of Bangladesh. We published our findings in respected journals such as Journal of Forestry Research and International Journal of Biodiversity Science, Ecosystem Services & Management. Before that, as a part of my undergraduate dissertation, I reviewed Environmental Kuznets Curve for pollutants and causes of global warming. My comprehensive review on Environmental Kuznets curve helped understand for which pollutants the core idea of EKC succeeds and for which pollutant it fails. This is helping and will continue to help environmental economists to take future EKC estimation projects. From this project, I have published articles in respected journals such as Energy Policy and The Environmentalist that have been cited approximately 100 times.

Moving forward, I intend to continue my investigation into the economic and environmental sustainability of natural resources. I wish to use my optimization and statistical skills to ensure sustainability of water resources by reducing agricultural nutrient run-off or analyzing best management practices in forestry. In addition, I plan to optimize land use allocation between forestland and agricultural land in order to maximize biomass collection for energy generation while satisfying traditional demand for these products. The goal of such work is to sustain maximum use of minimum resources and avoid the food vs fuel debate brought up while using agricultural land for energy crops. I would like to expand my research area into these topics as a natural progression of my previous and current research area.

As a long-term general goal, I will try to learn as long as I can and help create a more knowledgeable next generation with my research. To help express my passion for research and learning, I want to use one of T. H. Huxley’s quotes – “The known is finite, the unknown infinite; intellectually we stand on an islet in the midst of an illimitable ocean of inexplicability. Our business in every generation is to reclaim a little more land”. I like to think that I have reclaimed some amount of land through my previous research works, however tiny it might be, from the ocean of unknown. To do the same more effectively, I would love to contribute as an Assistant Professor.

3. Curriculum Vitae

CV_Masum, 01-07-21

4. Teaching Experience

  • Teaching Assistant, Fall 2020
    University of Georgia, USA
    Course Number and Title – FANR 8900, University Teaching in Forestry and Natural Resources (2 section, 20 students)
    Description – Created course outline, prepared lecture materials, lectured in class, and evaluated assignments.
  •  Teaching Assistant, Spring 2020
    University of Georgia, USA
    Course Number and Title – FANR 3300, Economics of Natural Resources; FANR 3400, Society and Natural Resources (1 section, 23 students)
    Description – Lectured in class, conducted labs, prepared lecture materials, and graded assignments and exams.
  •  Teaching Assistant, Spring 2019
    University of Georgia, USA
    Course Number and Title – FANR 4800/6800; Renewable Resource Policy (1 section, 48 students)
    Description – Lectured in class, conducted labs, prepared lecture materials, and graded assignments.
  •  Teaching Assistant, Spring 2018
    University of Georgia, USA
    Course Number and Title – FANR 3000; Field Orientation, Measurements, and Sampling (1 section, 35 students)
    Description – Lectured in class, conducted labs, prepared lecture materials and quiz, and graded assignments.
  • Vocabulary Teaching (online course), 2013
    Prepared an online course based on my vocabulary book VocaBuilder. I uploaded all video lectures on YouTube. This completely free online course had about 14000 registered students.
  • GRE and TOEFL Instructor, March 2011 – June 2012
    NexTop-USA (Higher Study in USA), Chittagong, Bangladesh
    Prepared lectures, quizzes, final model test and conducted lectures for all three (verbal, quantitative, and analytical) sections of GRE.
  • Science Communication (online)
    I create short lectures on scientific topics and upload it on my YouTube channel for science communication. Topics include, but not limited to, recent discoveries, scientists’ biography, and debunking myths and misunderstood scientific contents. I also publish popular science articles and videos.

5. Support Letter from Instructors for Teaching Assistant Award

Nomination for teaching assistant award comes from the faculty members. Below is the nomination letter written by the primary instructors of courses I taught.

6. Teaching Award Certificate

For outstanding service and dedication as a teaching assistant…

7. CTL transcript for Teaching and Learning

Because of my interest in teaching, I completed 5-credit hours of workshops required for the following transcript provided by the Center for Teaching and Learning at the University of Georgia.

CTL Transcript

8. Quiz Example

9. Field Lab Supervision Experience

I supervised the field lab for the course Field Orientation, Measurements, and Sampling (FANR 3000) in University of Georgia. Students learned about compass and pacing, simple random sampling, strip sampling, point sampling, using GPS, measuring tree height, tree diameter, tree age in Whitehall Forest. My responsibilities included showing how the sampling instruments work, how to collect field notes, how on-field-analysis are performed, and evaluate field data.

10. Grading Assignment Example

Here is an example of my grading for my class FANR 3000.

11. Teaching Evaluations

Below is my teaching evaluation record for three courses I taught at the University of Georgia. Evaluation records for courses in Spring 2020 is not available in this format as students could not complete their evaluation because of COVID.

TA Evaluation Record, ALL

12. Google Scholar Citation Report

For most recent citation report, please visit my Google Scholar profile

Citation Report, 01-13-21