I grew up seeing my father, an electrical engineer from IIT Delhi (one of the most prestigious institutions in India), do his PhD and join university as a professor. Although, I did not know much about teaching and research at that time, ever since I can remember, I have always wanted to be a professor like him. I have seen first-hand how he captivates the minds of his students, how he guides and inspires them, how he works with them to come-up with results; and to me those are the most important qualities to have as a faculty member.
To me, teaching is all about capturing the imagination of my students – to make complicated topics simpler and simpler topics more fascinating – that will be my goal! I believe my role in a class will be to facilitate the transfer of knowledge through audible and visible gestures, similar to the conductor of an orchestra. I intend to treat my students as adults and give them the respect that they deserve. I plan to rely more on my personal appearance and voice, rather than slides or chalk-boards, as I have realized through personal experience, how much more powerful the former are in comparison to the latter. While interacting with my students/mentees, I will encourage them to think-out-of-the-box and explore new ideas so as to make them independent thinkers.
According to me, teaching and research go together – if teaching is all about capturing the imagination of one’s students, then research is all about capturing the imagination of one’s peers. I believe that my role as a researcher will be to solve problems and answer questions which will benefit my field of research and my university, in particular, and the society, at large. I intend to publish quality papers in peer-reviewed as well as open-access journals so as to create a bigger demand for my work. I plan to do inter-disciplinary research with colleagues from within the university and without so as to increase interest as well as applicability of my research. When conflicts arise, either with my students or colleagues, I will try to come up with a win-win solution while being as impartial and ethical as I can be.
This, in short, summarizes my philosophy about being a faculty member.