Dr. Ceni Babaoglu
Inspired by math
I believe that pursuit of knowledge is the most fulfilling human undertaking and, specifically, learning and enabling others to understand Mathematics is the apex of it. My passion for both learning and teaching, and application of mathematics led me to two decades of cherished academic life in various positions.
Teaching mathematics and data science at many levels, from certificate to graduate courses, as a Teaching Assistant and as a Professor has given me a sense of purpose and accomplishment so much as that it is now my second nature.
Throughout these years, the experience to impart mathematical and scientific literacy to thousands of students has not only strengthened my knowledge and conceptual clarity but also equipped me with the necessary communication and organizational skills required for an outstanding teaching career in this seemingly complex and abstract field.
As an instructor and an active member of the community of mathematicians and data scientists, I am strongly committed to supporting STEM education. As the age of intelligent machines is poised to replace a vast majority of jobs, literacy and competence in science have become a foremost important factor for youth to stay competitive in the upcoming era of innovation and creativity.
I believe that success in science for all is not only achievable but also imperative if the knowledge gaps are properly addressed and not accumulated over time.
As students progress through basic to advanced courses, these knowledge gaps create a sense of helplessness and a false realization that one cannot excel. Therefore, building a strong base and conceptual rigor, by allowing students to revisit and reconstruct the missing links, proves to be a gateway to enhance competence and regain confidence. I seek to help students identify these gaps and discover their abilities to bridge them.
Diversity and inclusion in academics have far-reaching social and economic dividends.
Being a female scientist and mathematician, I have experienced first-hand the pressure and lack of support even though it proved beneficial and propelled me to work harder at times. However, I am a staunch supporter of making my lectures and classrooms conducive to all. In my opinion, Mathematics provides us the basis where we all are equal.
My classrooms and labs are characteristically interactive, diligent, and polite. I make sure my students can not only participate and ask questions but also feel at ease to repeat the same question until they get the answer. Every question and person in the class matters and deserves a polite and thorough explanation.
Explaining the same answer with different scenarios and examples is never a fatiguing activity for me it energizes my passion for teaching.
As an instructor and research supervisor, engaging students in knowledge acquisition, transfer, and creation is a communication-intensive task. Despite years of teaching experience at the university level, I feel humbled by the fact that there is so much to learn and grow. I take every class as an opportunity to strengthen my knowledge and discover the gaps where I have to improve and become a better teacher.
For me, learning to teach is a perpetual path of finding success in self-improvement and being useful for my students, university, and society.
I am committed to the ongoing exchange of ideas with the academic community throughout my career, to continue to grow and excel as an instructor, and thereby to benefit my institution, my field, and most importantly, my students.
I am striving to make the teaching as meaningful as possible, both for myself and my students. I design my courses in a way that puts the students into work early in the course as a clear structure helps students in time management and avoid procrastination. This is particularly important when teaching engineering students because they have a very high teaching load from other courses as well. I support my students in establishing professional standards for time and project management by establishing policies for missing deadlines.
In addition to instructor availability and early engagement in assignments, my principle is to explain concepts in a variety of different ways relating to real-world scenarios. I realize that even though everybody may have a different learning style, we get inspiration from an explanation of a theory or concept when it relates to real life.
I believe true learning occurs when students are inspired by the field they are studying.
Therefore, giving examples of how abstract theorems are relevant in practice is one of my core priorities. To that end, in addition to lectures, I give activities and assignments that require them to practice, demonstrate, research, explore, and solve problems from real life. I also encourage them in making a connection with their classmates.
Finally, to me, success in teaching is underlined if my students grow as enthusiastic as I am. I bring my passion together with my years of experience to continue learning and teaching as my career.