Teaching Spotlights

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This Week's Teaching Spotlight: Dr. Carmen McCallum, Associate Professor, Leadership and Counseling

“From the first day of class, Dr. McCallum made it clear that her course was a welcoming and inclusive environment. She encouraged all of her students to freely share their perspectives on the course content and how our life experiences influence our prior knowledge. She modeled strategies that we can use to support our future students in the ways that she supported all of us in the class. Class content was always engaging and relevant, and I will be a better student affairs professional because of her.”  

We got the chance to speak with Dr. Carmen McCallum about her teaching experiences and philosophy. Her answers have been edited for clarity and length. 

Dr. McCallum received her BA in Sociology from the University of Michigan in 1997. She received a Masters of Social Work from Wayne State University in 2000, and a Special Education Certificate from Wayne State University in 2005. She also received her Ph.D. in Higher Education from the University of Michigan in 2012. 

Dr. McCallum teaches in the Leadership and Counseling department within the College of Education at Eastern Michigan University and has been teaching at EMU for 5 years. She teaches classes at the Masters level including Introduction to Student Affairs and College Student Development, and at the Ph.D. level including Ethics and Politics of Education and Leadership, and Introduction to Qualitative Methods.

Dr. McCallum’s research focuses on the graduate school pipeline, which includes how students become interested in graduate education, how they get accepted into graduate school, the experiences that students have in graduate school, and the effect that graduate level education has on a person’s career trajectory. Currently, she is excited about a program that she’s heading at EMU called Mentoring for Life, which is part of a collaboration between graduate schools and the National Science Foundation to enhance mentoring skills and well-being in graduate students studying STEM disciplines. This project aims to provide graduate students with tools to advocate for themselves as mentees and to become mentors, and it is currently in the second of three grant-funded years. 

When it comes to teaching, Dr. McCallum credits her background in social work as shaping her philosophy about how people interact with their environments and acknowledging that they’re not isolated beings. She says the same is true for students, “they’re not disconnected from their roles as a wife or a mother or a friend… or anxieties they have outside of the classroom.” She acknowledges that these factors all have an effect on student’s experiences and performance in a class, and that it's important to understand this in order to be able to work best with students. 

She also mentions Dr. Patricia Gurin at the University of Michigan as a mentor who has influenced her teaching style. Dr. McCallum got the chance to work with Dr. Gurin on a research project when she was in graduate school, and despite the prestige Dr. Gurin held in her field, “she would walk in and give us hugs like she was our grandmother.” Dr. McCallum says she appreciates that there was no sense of hierarchy in the project, and her voice as a first year graduate student was treated as being just as important as anyone else’s. This is how Dr. McCallum approaches teaching now, “I know I’m coming in with certain content but students are coming in with their own knowledge and experiences, and I want to be able to understand that and bring that into the classroom so that I can learn from that and their peers can learn from that as well.”

This philosophy seems to be present in the way Dr. McCallum engages students in course content as well. She says she makes her curriculum culturally relevant by integrating “hot topics'' into her Introduction to Student Affairs course. One or two students each week are assigned to find a hot topic that’s happening in higher education and present it to the class, then the first 15 minutes of class are spent discussing the topic. She says this shows that, “while it’s important to understand the theories of higher education, this is a way to look at how those theories are actually playing out in real life at this current moment.”

Dr. McCallum tries to make sure that the content she brings to class will also connect with her students. This is something that she says she’s become more aware of over her teaching career. She says, “It’s really important to take a step back and understand what you’re teaching. Now I’ll go back and look at the articles that I've assigned and think, ‘Are these all white male scholars? If so, how do I include women of color? Men of color? LGBTQ people?’ I want to make sure to include these people so that students are seeing themselves represented not only in the course content, but also in the scholars that are showing up, and that takes time and effort but it really does make a difference to students.”

Being a first generation college student herself, Dr. McCallum sees the importance of creating a sense of belonging in higher education, especially at EMU. “We have a lot of first generation working class students who don’t come into the classroom with elitism and entitlement but with a hunger to learn and do better. These are students who understand the importance and the value of a higher education and know this is their opportunity to change their lives and possibly the lives of generations of students that will come after them.” She says that faculty members need to think about the spaces that they’re creating in the classroom, “We’re setting the tone by the first day of class for how students are going to learn over the entire semester. If we're not coming in ready to teach, to connect with students, and to help them learn the material and get to where they need to be, then they're not going to feel a sense of belonging, they're not going to want to be in that class… We should meet them where they are and help them achieve the goals that they have for themselves academically.” 

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Previous Teaching Spotlights

  • Dr. Catherine Gammon, Assistant Professor of Exercise Science Expand dropdown
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    “I have had her for two of my classes, she is very well organized and is amazing at relaying the information in a fun and interactive way throughout the semester. I have always looked forward to her classes.”

    We got the chance to speak with Dr. Catherine Gammon about her teaching experiences and philosophy. Her answers have been edited for clarity and length. 

    Dr. Catherine Gammon graduated in 2008 with her undergraduate degree in Sport and Exercise Science at the University of Bath (UK). She received her Physical Activity and Health master’s degree from Loughborough University (UK) in 2009 and her Ph.D. in 2016 in Exercise Physiology from Michigan State University. She then went on to pursue post doctoral work from 2016-2018 in Behavioral Epidemiology at the University of Cambridge (UK). 

    Dr. Gammon has been teaching at EMU for 3 years in the School of Health Promotion and Human Performance. Currently, she is teaching Undergraduate Statistics, Exercise and Sports Psychology, and Exercise Epidemiology. Looking back on these classes, Dr. Gammon believes that the Epidemiology class is the class that aligns most closely with her training and she enjoys, “being able to deliver high-level insights.” The Exercise and Sports Psychology class is the class that she’s taught the most and has had the most chances to refine . Dr. Gammon told us, “all the students bring their own exercise and sport experience to the class so we can have a lot of interesting discussion on how the material relates to them.” Lastly, the Statistics class is one she believes has the widest applicability, which is the inherent appeal of this class for her as an educator. She gets to teach concepts that will be applicable in almost any career field that students choose. The way Dr. Gammon put it, “Regardless of which career you’re going into, being able to interpret and summarize data, explain it in a meaningful way and knowing where to get high quality scientific information are really important skills.” 

    Dr. Gammon also works with Eastern Michigan University’s Swoop’s Pantry. Her role as a member of the advisory board is to support the functioning of the pantry. Dr. Gammon’s position at Swoop’s is one she enjoys, “The SWOOPS team that run the pantry are a joy to work with,” said Dr. Gammon, “I’ve been able to collaborate with people from different departments on research that we’ve done with SWOOPS and that’s exciting.  Research with the pantry also fits with my research direction that focuses on promoting the health and wellbeing of young people.” 

    On reflecting about educators who shaped her into the professor she is today, Dr. Gammon mentioned her postdoctoral mentor, Dr. Esther van Sluijs of the University of Cambridge. Dr. van Slujis made it clear that professional life is not independent of personal life and was considerate of the interaction between the two. Dr. Gammon noted Dr. van Slujis’s patience, saying “I really appreciated her willingness to take the time to explain things.She recognized the importance of building self-confidence in aspiring researchers and giving them time to develop in whatever way they needed to.” Dr. Gammon feels she learned the importance of compassion, patience, and paying it forward from her mentor. 

    Over the years, Dr. Gammon has learned things that she is able to give as advice to incoming teachers. She notes that higher education teaching gets easier and you become more efficient. She’s also gotten to see the harder part of teaching, which is seeing students struggle and fail in her classes.  Often this is because they are, “working so many hours to pay their way through the degree ...that they can’t dedicate sufficient time and energy to succeed in their classes”. Dr. Gammon said, “I find that really difficult.”

    Some of her favorite times in her teaching career are the moments when students reach out to her and tell her she’s taught them things they find valuable and useful, and when it comes across that she is passionate and excited about the material. It is these moments that she feels like she’s done a good job. She also loves doing research projects with students.  Dr. Gammon told us, “I find it really enjoyable to give students an opportunity to take ownership of something outside the classroom and explore the data and do the analysis and see what it says and compare it to the literature. I find that really exciting and it’s fun to mentor a student through that process.” Whether in research with students or in classroom projects, autonomy is something Dr. Gammon values giving her students. 

  • Dr. Christopher Elias, Associate Professor, Undergraduate Coordinator Economics Expand dropdown
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    “He taught me Macroeconomics which is a very intimidating course. He executed it in a way that was digestible and ultimately cultivated my interest in pursuing an economics degree”

    We got the chance to speak with Dr. Christopher Elias about his teaching experiences and philosophy. His answers have been edited for clarity and length. 

    Dr. Elias received his BA in Economics from Youngstown State University in 1999. He received 2 Master’s degrees, the first of which being in Economics from Florida State University in 2000 as well as in 2002 in Industrial Engineering from Youngstown State University. Lastly, he received his Ph.D. in Economics in 2014 from University of California Irvine. 

    Dr. Elias has been teaching Economics at Eastern Michigan University for nearly 8 years. This semester he is teaching Principles of Macroeconomics, a Graduate Macroeconomics Theory course as well as his favorite class, Financial Economics, about which he often tells students, “that’s probably a class I’d teach for free.”

    Dr. Elias particularly appreciates when aspects of his research overlap concepts he teaches in the class allowing him to reference his work to students. “It's been nice to have research projects that I’ve worked on that I can talk about in the classroom.” Dr. Elias told us. The first example of this dynamic between courses he teaches and his research is between the series of papers he’s been working on for the last 4 or 5 years and the Graduate Macroeconomics Theory course he teaches. “There's been a good kind of symbiotic relationship between my work in that area on these papers and my teaching in that particular class.” Elias says. In addition to this example, every winter semester he teaches a Time Series Econometrics Course. In this class, his most recent research has related to the topics covered in that class. 

    In regards to his teaching style, Dr. Elias values an organized classroom structure and believes it is something that students appreciate. Included in this organized structure is a lot of course material to be able to reference as well as a set schedule. Regarding scheduling and organization,  Dr. Elias said, “I think it helps with preparation and I just think it makes it a little easier for the students to plan ahead so they know, ‘okay you know I’m not going to be able to come to class this particular day. What am I gonna miss?’” With all of that being said, the best feedback received from his students typically notes this standard of organization and planning Dr. Elias likes to uphold. 

    Reflecting on the years spent being a professor and researching in his field, Dr. Elias says, “I certainly am a better Economist now than I was years ago. I think I have a better command of the material. My research has progressed significantly in the last 8 years which I think at the higher education level definitely helps you in the classroom. I think it’s very difficult to be very effective in the classroom at this level and not have an active research agenda so I think the two really feed into each other.” 

    When advising incoming faculty on the experience they’re about to embark on, Dr. Elias likes to emphasize organization, setting clear goals/policies, and going in prepared, “knowing your stuff.” To emphasize the significant relationship between knowing your material and running an effective college class to new faculty, Dr. Elias says, “Don’t go in not prepared because students will pick up on that, and if you lose credibility, if it looks like you don’t know what you’re talking about, you’re going to lose credibility very quickly. So it’s incredibly important to be prepared.” The last piece of advice he’s offered is being objective in terms of grading, “I like telling students this is my grading system and this is how you’re going to be graded”, says Elias, “I want to make it as absolutely easy as possible for them to be able to calculate their grade because that’s important.”

    His focus on making his classroom as student-centered as possible is what led him to realizing the great student population he gets to teach at EMU each year. In fact, diversity of students is his favorite part of teaching EMU students. He believes the wide range of backgrounds and opinions really play a significant role in the classroom setting. “There's been multiple times when I’ve been teaching and I’ll get a question or comment and I never thought of it like that or that is a really good insight.” Dr. Elias said, “the longer you do this you think, ‘well I won’t hear anything new or anything that’s really gonna open my eyes,’ because you think you’ve heard it all before but that’s not that case at all. I think that comes from the broad diverse background of the students that I teach.”

  • Dr. Hedeel Guy-Evans, Professor, Chemistry; Neuroscience Expand dropdown
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    "As an undergraduate student, I had felt like I was just learning to pass a class. That was until I entered Dr. Evans’s class, where my new found interest was in cell signaling and how the body operated through these signals. Her teaching style wasn’t like other professors, she was always willing to help and made learning easy and understandable with real world examples."

    We got the chance to speak with Dr. Hedeel Guy-Evans about her teaching experiences and philosophy. Her answers have been edited for clarity and length. 

    Dr. Hedeel Guy-Evans graduated with her bachelors from Eastern Michigan University in 1984 and went on to get a Masters and Ph.D. from Wayne State Medical School in 1986 and 1992. She also completed a Postdoctoral Fellowship in Biochemistry from the Université Pierre et Marie CURIE (University of Paris VI) from 1992-1994.  While at Eastern (2009), she was awarded the prestigious Fulbright Scholarship to Paris, France to work at the Institut Curie. She was the only scientist from the United States to go to Paris as a Fulbright Scholar that year.  She won the 2019/2020 EMU Distinguished Faculty Award for Research as well.

    Dr. Evans carries an impressive research history, being a part of nearly 60 publications/projects. Her interests and expertise are in the regulation of insulin-like growth factor binding Protein-3 (IGFBP-3) and β-Amyloid by Humanin (HN) as well as Pyrimidine Biosynthesis. Aside from this, she also was the key initiator in the development and launch of the Neuroscience (NSCI) program (a field that intertwines Biology, Psychology, and Chemistry) here at EMU, which made its debut in 2016. 

    Dr. Evans teaches undergraduate Foundations of Biochemistry, Biochemistry, Neuroscience, as well as graduate Neurochemistry, Cell Signaling in Disease, and Chemistry Seminar. She can’t choose a particular favorite class, though each class is different in its own way, it’s the science that really gets her excited. She told us, “I mean I just love science, so whatever I teach I’m just having fun with it!” Her passion for what she teaches has been evident in her students’ feedback. Even when the feedback is perceived as negative, she still happily listens to it. “All their feedback, whether it can be perceived as negative or positive, has always been welcomed and spectacular”, said Dr. Evans. “My students have been my best teachers.”

    In Dr. Evans's classroom, there’s always room to explore, learn, and discover. She helps push this development of individuality and autonomy in her students, especially by letting them have room to figure things out on their own, she says, “I think my students are always surprised when I let them try to figure it out.” She also co-authored an article published by the Journal of Chemical Education in 2016. The article proposes a method of teaching an undergraduate Biochemistry laboratory course that includes the use of a research based lab, grant proposals, and experimentation on real experiments and data. It’s in classes like the Biochemistry laboratory where she teaches in this method that students are able to gain confidence. It is clear the value Dr. Evans places on allowing her students to be themselves even in the lab and she finds that when she helps her students gain confidence, the outcomes rarely disappoint. 

    Dr. Evans heads an active research program at EMU funded by a $445,500 from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to support her project entitled Probing the Role of Insulin-Like Growth Factor-Binding Protein 3 and Humanin in Regulating Hyaluronan Function.  The research project centers on examining the overlapping interactions between molecular players, linked to both neurodegeneration and cancer. Through this funding by NIH, she can better provide a comprehensive training research opportunity for undergraduate students in the Biochemistry and NSCI programs to equip students with an authentic and extensive hands-on research training at an early stage of their education and cultivate an interest in a career in biomedical research.

    Dr. Evans has always been about realizing the potential of her students and trying to bring that out. “I always tell my students that the hardest thing to do in this life is to be you… focus on you and bring out that potential!” Her focus is on reminding and encouraging her students to build on and reach their potential and not as it relates to anyone else. The hardest part of teaching for Dr. Evans is giving out bad grades. She tells students, “That might be the grade you got in my class today” but she is confident in their abilities to get A’s once they acknowledge and work towards their potential and has seen it happen as well. “I see my students grow before my eyes… I’m always so happy to have any role in their growth,” she told us. 

    When asked for tips for incoming faculty, Dr. Evans emphasized that the focus should be on your role as a professor, “By far the most important thing is how you relate to your students”, Dr. Evans told us, “target your students, know them, feel with them, help them grow, no matter what teaching style you have.” This advice didn’t just occur to her in an instant, it was over her years here at EMU and the different experiences she’s accumulated through this journey that helped her realize this. One of the experiences she reflected on was her first lecture at EMU. She remembers a student on the very first day commenting on her teaching, “A student came up to me and he said ‘I don’t like your teaching style’— the very first day. Then he starts telling me just be yourself, don't try to just be that person that’s teaching, you got to let the students see you. So, I think that’s the best thing that’s happened [to me]. Since then, I started slowly being myself. When the students see you, they can be themselves too.” said Dr. Evans.

    She was then asked to reflect on her time at EMU, and decided to focus on the students and opportunities here saying, “Eastern is the kind of place where you can be whatever you want. There are so many opportunities for you to grow at Eastern.” She attributes this aspect of EMU to the wonderfully diverse background of students who bring their own background and experiences to EMU to make the academic experience that much better. She also noted the attitude of students and their learning in the classroom here at EMU. She described a classroom where students are not afraid to speak up and show the teacher another way of thinking or even express to the teacher that they may be wrong in some aspect. Dr. Evans really values this quality that EMU students tend to have and loves it. She said, “I tell my colleagues, ‘you wanna know how much you don’t know? Go teach a class here.’ And this is, in part, why I say they have been my greatest teachers (her students).”

  • Jessica Kander, Lecturer, English Language and Literature Expand dropdown
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    “Jessica Kander helped make my undergraduate and graduate experience at EMU truly magnificent. She is passionate, driven, charismatic, and I've loved learning from her as an undergraduate student and I love working with her now as a graduate assistant even more.”

    We got the chance to speak with Professor Jessica Kander about her teaching experiences and philosophy. Her answers have been edited for clarity and length. 

    Professor Kander has been teaching children's literature at EMU for 12 years. She especially loves teaching writing intensive courses because she explains, “I feel like I get to know the students better and get to help scaffold their passions, and I find I really get to differentiate my teaching more effectively.”

    Having had over a decade of experience teaching at EMU, I asked Professor Kander what advice she had for new teachers. She listed two pieces of advice, “don’t reinvent the wheel,” and “give yourself time to take a break.” She advises new teachers to remember they have a community that is rooting for their success. “Find inspiring mentors, teaching blogs or research blogs… because there’s tons of stuff out there that you don’t need to start from the beginning, somebody else has some stuff that you can work from and I don’t see a problem with really leaning on those resources… look at what other people are doing and create your own spin on it.” Professor Kander also reminds new educators to have fun outside of work in order to be able to get the most out of work. “Academia has a way of eating into our entire lives and into our entire sense of self and if you want this to be sustainable and enjoyable in the long run you need to find ways to enjoy yourself that are not related to academia.” 

    Professor Kander reflected on the educators that have had an impact on her, notably Annette Wannamaker, Cathy Fleischer, Doug Baker, Sheila Most and Elizabeth Dӓumer, who she encountered in graduate school at EMU. “They each approached their teaching and our learning in really raw and honest ways and I think that’s what I appreciated, just that sense that failure and playfulness had a real place in their classes and I think that demystified the learning process for me… I always felt incredibly inspired in their classes, I enjoyed going to class and I  enjoyed the work that I was doing with them and I think one of the things that I took with me for my own teaching was their way of boosting me to be a better version of myself without making me feel like I couldn't get there, they were always pushing me to be better without making me feel like I wasn’t already good.” 

    In her time at EMU, Professor Kander has had the opportunity to be involved in EMU’s community in lots of unique ways. She talks about two of her favorite experiences, being an academic advisor to the quidditch team, and taking part in “Writing Across the Curriculum,” a program run by Ann Blakeslee. Professor Kander loved being a part of the quidditch team, “the students were wonderful… it was a completely student led team and it was really fun seeing the varying levels of engagement.” She also credits “Writing Across the Curriculum” as being a useful opportunity for educators from all departments. “It gave me the opportunity to get closer with professors and instructors from completely different programs and maintain those connections… it’s also been great knowing [we’re] making sure that we’re really thinking thoughtfully about our students as these holistic beings who are taking classes in many different departments and working on projects and knowing that just because I'm a literature professor doesn’t mean I'm the only one who’s working on writing with them was really rewarding.”

    Finally, Professor Kander talked about what she loves about teaching students at EMU. “I really appreciate just how hard working and thoughtful and practical our students are. I’m constantly blown away by all of the obligations that our students have but they keep showing up again and again and again and giving it their all. They really have clear visions for themselves… they know why they’re here and they really value the experience, they don’t take it for granted and I think that allows us as instructors to really give them back our all. I think that’s something that has forced me to become a better instructor because I know how strapped our students are in terms of time, so I know that the work has to be really important for them to do it, I can’t just assign it because I think it’s interesting… it has to actually serve a purpose both for me and them. So as I'm developing course material I'm constantly thinking about, ‘Okay, is this really necessary? What is this actually going to accomplish for the students?’ so it's really helped me fine tune my teaching in that sense.”

  • Dr. Andrew Ross, Associate Professor, Department of Mathematics and Statistics Expand dropdown
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    “Dr. Ross was a pleasure to have as a teacher. As intimidating as Calculus 2 was for me as a freshman during the pandemic, he eased my anxiety with his caring attitude and perspective of feedback rather than grading. He was really understanding of his students' situations. Even with the online asynchronous structure of the class, I felt a certain realness and kindness with him. I would recommend him to anybody!”

    We got the chance to speak with Dr. Andrew Ross about his teaching experiences and philosophy. His answers have been edited for clarity and length. 

    Dr. Andrew Ross graduated from Harvey Mudd College with a Bachelor’s Degree in Math in 1996 and from University of California Berkeley in 2001 with a Ph.D. in Industrial Engineering and Operations Research (a branch of applied math). He’s been teaching at EMU for 15 years. He is currently a professor in the Department of Mathematics and Statistics and does advising regarding Mathematics, Statistics, and the Data Science and Analytics (DSA) program.

    This semester (Fall 21) he teaches Mathematical Modeling and Calculus 1. The Calc 1 class is particularly interesting to teach for Dr. Ross because of the range of majors he gets in the class. “Hopefully every class is a different way of thinking but that class, Intro to Calculus, is a new way of thinking,” says Ross. The topics and examples covered in class are, as Ross describes them, “fun for us as teachers and students to play with but it can have real impact on people’s lives.''  Mathematical Modeling can also be interesting because, Dr. Ross’s words, “helps expand people’s variety as to how math can help people and the planet and animals and such.” 

    Aside from teaching, Dr. Ross has an exciting research agenda. Together, he and departmental colleague Dr. Stephanie Casey are working on developing a set of curriculum materials for future Secondary Education Mathematics teachers. They are focusing on introducing inclusion and empowerment through statistics. “Statistics can be really empowering to people who want to show what’s going on in society and to pose ways of changing it,” Dr. Ross told us. “We’ve chosen as many data sets as we can that look at social situations in the US and stereotypes on what type of people are ‘good students’ or care about education. We’re trying to break stereotypes like that using data, which is really important to people who will be high school and middle school teachers so they hopefully don’t go into their classrooms with inaccurate stereotypes about which students are the ‘good’ ones.” The program has already been piloted in around a dozen places nationwide.

    Dr. Ross’s passion for advocating diversity, equity, inclusion, and justice in the classroom has been evident through his projects, his classroom management, and even through the book club he helps lead. The book club this semester discusses a book by Dr. Pamela Harris and Dr. Aris Winger called, Asked and Answered: Dialogues On Advocating For Students of Color in Mathematics.

    In the classroom, Dr. Ross is moving towards an active learning and inquiry-based style of teaching, “I’m also trying to do more active learning and discussion-based teaching. I have a long way to go toward being perfect at that but I’m doing less lectures and more group work.” That being said, he focuses on flexibility and introducing a caring attitude in his classes.  Students often give positive feedback to the level of care he gives to them. Math and care are typically not two words that go together, and it’s typically not a trait students are used to from mathematics professors. “You know, math is not typically seen as a caring subject. A bunch of us in the department are working to change that.” 

    Ross introduces caring within his classroom by trying to relieve stress and anxiety surrounding tests and examinations. This semester, his Calculus 1 class doesn’t have any full exams. He is instead introducing projects in place of the exams by letting students focus on their interests and how they intertwine with the math he teaches them. Lastly, Dr. Ross is promoting this caring mindset by moving towards a conversation-based method of grading, believing it can, “really encourage the idea that by the end of this course there are some good things for you to learn and if you didn’t learn them at exactly the right timeline along the way that’s ok.”

    Finally, there have been a few professional development opportunities offered that Dr. Ross felt were worth noting and particularly benefited him. Among them are the Writing Across the Curriculum Project, the Creative Scientific Inquiry and Experience (CSIE) program, and the FDC Connect Conferences. Currently, Dr. Ross, with his department head and another colleague in his department are going through training around inclusive STEM teaching so that they can facilitate a professional learning community within the department next semester. 

    Some of the best parts of teaching students at EMU for Dr. Ross is helping students broaden their view on the application of mathematics in the world, seeing students who struggle in his class learn and achieve their goals, and of course the occasional times where his class inspires a student to expand their education by including math in their studies.