1. Teaching Philosophy Statement
My primary mission as an instructor is to ensure that learning occurs and my philosophy is to make the students’ time worthwhile. Let me elaborate on that.
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. I use a variety of techniques to make the content enjoyable. I use references from popular books, movies, and TV series and create 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 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. Another way students learn best in through experiential learning—when information is put into perspective by seeing knowledge in action. For a class such as forest economics, students would visit nearby forests and timber mills, and learn what they are optimizing or modeling for. Obviously, there will be parts of the subject matter that will provoke questions and require explanation from the instructor. I will try 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 students join a class, there is a gap between what the students know and what they should know about the subject matter to succeed in that course. 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. Student volunteers 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 lectures, 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.
Without a doubt, 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 the official one at the end of the semester. One evaluation within two weeks of first class and one around mid-term would help me better steer the lessons.
Incorporating diversity, practicing inclusion, and maintaining equity in the classroom are critical issues to ensure student success. While the presence of diversity is necessary for incorporating diversity into a classroom or scholarship, presence alone is insufficient. Incorporating diversity also requires hearing, understanding, and validating the knowledge that comes from another perspective. One way to do that is to actively seek out diverse voices and perspectives. In a classroom setting, this is especially important as for many students it may be their one of the first opportunities for exposure to other voices. To me, the best way to bring diverse perspectives into a classroom are from students themselves, guest lectures, and primary literature. Unlike diversity, inclusion is a process though which incorporating diversity takes place, and the hallmark of an inclusive classroom should be one where students can converse, debate, agree to disagree, and still walk away as friends enriched by the experience. Finally, equity in the classroom ensures that students will receive the required resources in order to be successful and personal, and/or cultural differences will not be an obstacle.
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 reflect and improve my teaching based on the evaluations. My teaching evaluation records, available in my e-portfolio (section 11), suggest that I am effective, relatable, approachable, enthusiastic, fair, and dependable. I would like to continue excelling on all those qualities and will take all criticism as an opportunity to improve.
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 in the field of natural resource and environmental science because I believe in nature-based solutions and I am moved by the concept of sustaining the environment so that my next generation can cherish it. I have over ten years of research experience in this field and I published over a dozen papers on the topics such as life cycle assessment, forestry, natural resource economics and policy, tax, timberland, and climate change.
EXPERTISE: My work on full cost accounting and life cycle analysis of wood-based energy has been published in respected peer-reviewed journals. 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. A second article in Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews where I performed cost accounting and life cycle analysis of nine feedstocks for energy generation. I estimated unit production cost, carbon intensity, and carbon abatement cost of biopower from forest and agricultural 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. In a third article in Forest Policy and Economics, I analyzed the economic and environmental feasibility of producing electricity from wood in Colombia. In another article using lifecycle assessment framework, I estimated carbon balance of agroforest system in the Mississippi Alluvial Valley, and 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. I also conducted techno-economic and lifecycle analysis for the production of jet-biofuel from carinata seeds in the southern United States.
I used advanced mathematical programming to develop optimization models that determines optimal harvest scheduling on a regional level (southeastern US) and satisfies demand in the traditional timber mills and bioenergy demand in the power plant. This model maximizes landowners’ revenue, and minimizes costs throughout the supply-chain of forest products. It also answers how stand carbon will change in the presence and/or absence of additional biomass demand in the coal-firing power plants to replace coal with energy-rich torrefied biomass. I also developed models using a bioenergy production system with a special focus on land use change.
In a research project evaluating the services homestead forests provide to the indigenous communities, I showed how indigenous people are dependent on the forest around them—not only for timber, but also for the ecosystem services and non-timber forest products. We published our findings in reputed journals such as Journal of Forestry Research and International Journal of Biodiversity Science, Ecosystem Services & Management. My work on Environmental Kuznets Curve (EKC) for pollutants and causes of global warming 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. These articles on EKC were published in Energy Policy and The Environmentalist.
My works were cited around 200 times by researchers around the world and got several regional and national recognitions including the best presentation award in the Society of American Foresters National Convention 2020.
FUTURE DIRECTION: Moving forward, I intend to continue my investigation into the sustainability of natural resources. Using the growth and yield models I build from FIA data, I can build advanced mathematical models for sustaining forest products over longer planning horizon or for assessing financial performance of any forestry practices. These models can be used 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. These models can also be used to estimate impacts of forest disturbances such as disease, wildfire, and climate change. I am fully equipped to conduct and supervise climate change studies and lifecycle analysis studies to find least GHG intensive options for forest-based energy generation or different forest management strategies. Additionally, I would like to delve into ensuring sustainability of water resources by reducing agricultural nutrient run-off or analyzing best management practices in forestry. I would like to expand my research area into these topics as a natural progression of my previous and current research area.
PHILOSOPHY: As a long-term goal, I will seek to learn as long as I can and help create a more knowledgeable next generation with my research. To express my enthusiasm 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 land through my research, however tiny it might be, from the ocean of unknown. I am excited to contribute as a faculty member in this field, through research and teaching.
3. Curriculum VitaeCV_Masum, 08-13-2021
4. Teaching Experience
- Primary Instructor, Fall 2021
University of Georgia, USA
Course Number and Title – FANR 3300, Economics of Natural Resources (1 section, 20 students)
Description – Created course outline, prepared lecture materials, lectured in class, arranged guest lectures, advised teaching assistant, conducted labs, and graded assignments and exams.
- 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.
12. Google Scholar Citation Report
For most recent citation report, please visit my Google Scholar profile