UU Logo  In College Current picture (circa 2009) Haifei Li in 1994 Chinese Name 

TEACHING STATEMENT

Max Haifei Li

Teaching is an important part of my job as a professor, and a great source of inspiration to my research studies. Students are the very reason that universities exist. Teaching is a priority for faculty members. I believe that a good professor must be an effective teacher. Throughout my years as a student, I fully understand the importance of teaching to the growth of students. My Master’s and Ph.D. advisor Professor Stanley Y. W. Su at the University of Florida posted a paper in his office. It essentially says that “The student is the most important person on the campus…not dependent on us. We are dependent on them…We are not doing them a favor by serving them. They are doing us a favor by giving us the opportunity to do so.” I totally agree with it and I think my advisor has done a wonderful job to implement it. His dedication to teaching has greatly influenced his students and I have benefited a lot from his teaching.

The objective of teaching is to stimulate students' interest in the subject and educate them in developing aptitude and analytical skills for problem solving. I do not believe in spoon-feeding lectures or handout notes without providing insights and fundamental concepts. A class should be challenging yet interesting, where students have ample opportunities to express original ideas and thoughts.

I would emphasize the importance of getting feedbacks from students. My teaching will be adaptive to the needs of students. Depending on the content of the courses and student composition, I would like to arrange different subjects and have different difficulty levels for each lecture I teach. Specifically, I would like to get academic background information about students as much as possible, by one-to-one interview with students, questionnaires, and information from former instructors of the same course, so that I can better prepare for lectures.

I have always been enthusiastic about explaining to others what I know because it is extremely satisfying and it strengthens my own understanding of the subject. In my opinion, a classroom is a place for mutual learning, where interaction with students leads to deeper understanding of the teaching materials and even new research topics.

In addition to academic knowledge, I also want to emphasize the importance of academic integrity during my teaching. A student not only learns knowledge from a professor, but also the manner that a professor treats students and his/her peers. I would like to treat students as my most important customers. They are the ultimate judges of my professional careers.