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Sabbatical Leave

Dr. Lott is on sabbatical leave from August 25, 2011 until the start of Spring Semester 2012.

   

 

CurrentNews

 
 

Descendants of Willie and Hattie Bell Lott

The Lott family is looking for all descendants of Willie and Hattie Bell Lott. For more information, please contact Salahuddin Bey at beyphoto@yahoo.com

   

 

RecentNews

 
 

Student Graduates (Aug 2011)

Ms. Nandima Koroma Turay graduated from DSU with a Master of Science in Applied Mathematics under the research direction of Dr. Dawn A. Lott. Her thesis was entitled "A numerical simulation of saccular aneurysm wall deformation via hyperbolic elasticity theory." 

Mr. Sherif Azeez graduated from DSU with a Master of Science in Applied Mathematics under the research direction of Drs.  Dawn A. Lott and Pablo Suarez.  His thesis was entitled "Analytical and numerical solution of the effect of slip condition on magnetohydrodynamic  Stokes flow due to an oscillating wall."

   

 

 

Teaching Philosophy

 
 

In the words of the d'Zert Club' [1] (the world's largest and fastest growing African-American youth organization of its kind), "it is better to build a child than repair an adult." This fact makes the parent and the teacher responsible for molding a young child into a knowledgeable adult. It is the teacher that spends almost one-third of the formative, secondary and post-secondary years with a child and it is the teacher that should make a significant difference.

 I am a mathematics professor because I am committed to an excellence in teaching. Teaching is my art form. It is the manner in which I express myself and color the world with my ideas and expectations. I find teaching to be one of the most rewarding aspects of my academic career. 

My experience with teaching began at Michigan State University (MSU) in 1987, when I was a graduate teaching assistant. It was then that I began to define my own presence and teaching style.  I teach as if I have the ability to infuse the knowledge and enthusiasm I have inside me into my students.  Even in the early years, my teaching style was bold and exciting.  In 1989, I received the first year graduate student teaching award and the Distinguished Teacher/Faculty Award from the Summer University Program Encouraging Retention (MSU).  This experience was the foundation for my pursuit of excellence and excitement in my teaching activities.

While completing my dissertation at Northwestern University, I was the Monsanto Faculty Intern in the Department of Engineering Sciences and Applied Mathematics.  During this internship, I was responsible for teaching one course per year, advising undergraduate students, attending faculty meetings and writing a grant proposal. In 1996, I was a postdoctoral researcher at the University of Maryland.  It was in the teaching of Linear Algebra for Scientists and Engineers where I first incorporated the use of a numerical algebra method, MATLAB) MATLAB allows the integration of classroom algebra instruction with computer applications.  I developed MATLAB exercises which both illustrated and expanded upon the classroom material. Student feedback was very positive.

Beyond the seven years of teaching at the New Jersey Institute of Technology (NJIT) and three years of teaching at DSU, I have participated in professional development workshops, on and off campus.  In 2006, I attended the QEM (Quality Education for Minorities) Network workshop on Mathematics and Biology. During this workshop, the connections, collaborations and creative ideas began to flow.  As an applied mathematician whose research infiltrates and infects the biological sciences, I felt the need to make mathematics more palatable to biologists.  Hence I submitted a proposal to the National Science Foundation (NSF) solicitation of Targeted Infusion projects.  The success of brainstorming and planning for a major in Mathematical and Computational Biology blossomed into the NSF funded grant “Computers and Laboratories Integrated with Mathematics to Enhance the Biosciences (The CLIMB Project),” of which I am the Principal Investigator.  Through this grant, I seek to create new courses, add biology and other STEM areas to mathematics courses and create a more mathematically-enhanced biological program at DSU.

I believe that the dedication and the enthusiasm of an instructor are as important as the classroom material in influencing student success. I seek to provide an environment for my students which is challenging, yet nurturing, and will allow for creativity, individuality and growth.  In order to obtain this environment, I frequently collect homework and make students accountable for material with periodic quizzes. My exams serve two purposes: (1) to test the current level of retention of material and the level of achievement that the student has attained in the course, and (2) to allow the student to express his/her mathematical ability and creativity by challenging them with interesting problems.

I try to teach students in a language which is mathematical, yet understandable; sometimes sharing my own experiences and frequently introducing applications to better explain a problem or a topic. I respect my students' opinions and put forth every effort to present mathematics in an enjoyable manner.  In many instances I consult additional texts, in order to glean examples and other points of view for my classroom presentations. In order to cultivate student ideas, I pose questions throughout my lecture and encourage students to respond. Frequently, we engage in classroom discussions of problems and their relationships to other areas of the course or applications.

As a former “A” student, it is my goal that each student earns an “A.”  Earn, being the key word, implies that I force my students to perform up to their level of achievement in order to receive the grade of excellent.  But “A” does not only represent the highest grade achievable.

                                                                     

A

Ask

Accept

Access

Assess

Act

Advise

Admit

A is for Ask; that is, before I introduce an important new concept, subject, or topic in the course syllabus, I ask students questions to determine what they already know about it. I must first recognize that their knowledge may be partial, fragmented, simplistic, or even incorrect and it is my goal to try to find at lease one point that most students are likely to know, and use that point to lead into others [2].

A is for Accept; that is, all students are not good students. ONE can not choose one’s parents, children, or one’s students.  I accept my good students, those who behave and do good work. But I must somehow accept those students who do not do the work, do not have the skills and who are not self-motivated and do what I can to educate them as well.

A is for Access. One measure of the teacher's willingness to give of herself is her accessibility to her students and her willingness to spend time with them. I give my students ample time for office hours and graduate students get access to my cell phone.

A is for Assess.  Faculty and students must work together in order to monitor learning throughout the semester.  The teacher must first know the level of knowledge and maturity the student is starting from and must tailor the syllabus accordingly, without inhibiting faster moving students. In addition, the student must take the responsibility to inform the teacher of his/her weaknesses and gaps.  Exams, quizzes, and projects are useful methods of assessment, and should be utilized accordingly.

A is for Active learning; that is, I must move past the rote teaching methods of board writing and textbook duplication to an active classroom, full of dialogue, excitement and fun [3].

A is for Advisor. A professor must analyze the situation to know when a student is not succeeding for academic or other reasons, and at times, provide advice. Students face multiple challenges and suffer from stress; however, my class is designed to be a source of enjoyment for my students. I try to teach values and management skills, keep energy levels high and motivate and inspire my students. Common student stressors such as test anxiety, financial worries, and roommate and relationship conflicts, are at best distractions and at worst completely disruptive to learning [4]. Many times the lesson may continue outside the classroom and in the presence of an advisor, a student can work through a difficult situation.

A is for Admit. Admit when I as the professor do not know something. Students have respect for the professor who researches the answer to their question and provides an informed response.

 

I am sensitive to the needs of the maturing student, as individuals mature at different paces.  I strive to make eye contact with each student and to learn the individual expressions which signify clarity or confusion and address the student's situation accordingly. As an instructor, my goal is not only to present material; my goal is to help students satisfy their desire for comprehension and analytical thinking and to meet their need to acquire knowledge.

In the past years, I have tried to make a difference in my students' education.  I continue to seek ways of motivating challenged students and I continually seek out excellent students and encourage them to pursue graduate or professional degrees.

I  enjoy producing meaningful research and to providing quality training and advising of undergraduate and graduate students as part of my responsibility as a Professor. I am dedicated to the academic needs of future mathematicians and scientists.

  


 
   [1] Entertainment attorney Helen McCrary Salahuddin founded the organization called the d'Zert Club in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in 1992. The d'Zert Club specializes in producing positive entertainment and cultural events for elementary, middle and high school students. 

[2] Thomas A. Angelo and K. Patricia Cross

From Classroom Assessment Techniques: A Handbook for College Teachers, 2nd Ed.

[3] L. Dee Fink, reprinted with permission of the University of Oklahoma Instructional Development Program, July 19, 1999

[4] Gabrielle Siemion, Counselor, Santa Barbara City College \\ http://honolulu.hawaii.edu/intranet/committees/FacDevCom/guidebk/teachtip/top10stress.htm