VIDEO: Bahman Gharesifard earns First-Year Instructor Teaching Award

Posted on May 17, 2017

Queen's Math and Engineering professor, Bahman Gharesifard, has earned the First-Year Instructor Teaching Award from the Faculty of Engineering and Applied Science for his work with APSC 174: Linear Algebra. Students voted for the recipients of this one.

  • Video Transcript:

    First off I just want to congratulate you for winning the Faculty of Engineering and Applied Science First Year Instructor Teaching Award. How does it feel to be honoured by an award given by students to a teacher they really like?

    It's really a big honour, basically it's a pleasure to be able to teach such a great group of students. We're really privileged instructors at Queen's. And teach a group of brilliant students, so it's an honour. It's a big honour.

    And I think one of the things that you do really well, that I don't think any other professor I had this year did was you bothered learning the names of students. Is that something you've always tried to do?

    It's something I love doing. It's just that extra personal touch. I just want to know who I'm speaking to.

    So in classes that I teach in apple, I have 50-60 students and its ok. By half the semester I know all of them. In a class of 250, the first time I taught this course, I didn't know how because I was missing that part - not knowing the students. And so I was like, "I'm gonna try it," I'm not going to learn 250 names but even if Learned 20 names, thats really good. And it makes the class more fun for me too.

    Linear Algebra is kind of a tough course to approach because it's so abstract and doesn't necessarily relate in the ways people would think to engineering. How do you try to teach something so abstract?

    That's one of the difficulties of teaching this course, because as you know it's a pretty abstract course. But the element that really we're building in class is really the element of trust between the instructor and the students. At the beginning they were like "wow, this topic that you're talking about - I don't know how it's going to be of any use." But then with that element of trust, I always tell my students trust, it's going to be applied to something. That patience of students makes it work. They're pretty patient.

    What would you say you enjoy most about teaching the 174 course?

    I think the energy in the room, when you're in front of 200-250 students that are eager to learn. That joy, it gives you energy. It boosts your energy. I put so much energy in the class. It's because of students. I really enjoy it.