Teaching Statement (20 December 2015)
As part of my application to have my contract as Clinical Assistant Professor renewed in 2016, I was required to submit a personal statement. Here it is.
There are many good reasons not to be a teacher: comparatively low pay, high levels of bureaucratic overhead, and threats to teachers’ benefits and job security at all levels of education. In applying for this contract renewal, one might deduce that I either see no better alternative employment opportunities for myself, or I have an irrational affection for teaching. I’m happy to confirm the latter.
At the conclusion of my current contract, I expect I will have taught approximately 964 students of all backgrounds, over three years, how to use computers to create interactive media and computer applications. This does not include the 869 students I taught at NYU in the nine years prior to this contract. By contract’s end, I will have helped dozens of these students in their applications for fellowships, graduate programs, and employment in industry. I consider this teaching, mentorship, and general help to students as my major contribution to Courant and the NYU community at large.
In addition to my twelve years’ teaching experience, I have continued to work in the tech and media industries for nineteen years in a variety of capacities, first as a software engineer, then as a product manager, and now as a part-time consultant. Having consulted with dozens of top firms in recent years, on projects of all sizes, I have intimate knowledge of the work force and maintain many contacts within industry. This practice-based insight has informed my perspective in department curriculum discussions and in the design of my own courses. During my time at NYU, I have connected several top-level students with industry leaders who I personally know and have brought several C-level executives from the tech industry into the classroom to have them explain their career paths to students and to solicit their feedback on student work. I hope to be able to continue to do this for many years to come.