I strive to design my class for students to collaborate with me and each other to create a stimulating learning environment. In this section, I have collated a selection of students’ comments, including some negative ones that helped me to improve my teaching. For example, in response to complaints about certain students dominating class discussions, I took steps to share that challenge with students and formally prohibited students from monopolizing the conversation (see comment below under instructional delivery). Also, in response to criticism of lectures that included too much information (see comment under the learning atmosphere), I took steps to re-organize my lectures.
Instructional Delivery and Discussion
Learning & Workload
Availability and Responses to Students’ Inquiries
Use of Technology
As an instructor, Nikhil is first-rate. Nikhil won the Department of Sociology’s [UTK] graduate teaching award and the Graduate Student Senate Excellence in Teaching Award. The department’s award is given to a graduate student serving as the instructor of record who posted the highest teaching evaluations for the year. According to the Century Foundation and other research institutions, instructors of color like Nikhil—particularly those with an accent—typically score much lower than equally competent white, native English-speaking instructors. Despite this endemic bias, Nikhil still received the Department’s highest teaching scores in a department with exceptionally good teachers. His written comments from students attest to the genuine concern he has for his students, the respect that he has for them, the care with which he explains complex concepts and his generally warm personality. Stephanie Bohon, Professor and Chair of Sociology, the University of Tennessee.
Nikhil cares about sociology and teaching. He is very comfortable lecturing to a class. He allows questions from students and answers them with sincerity. I must point out that he invites students to ask for clarification if they have trouble understanding anything he discusses. His PowerPoints are very well-designed and consistent with the content and objectives of his class. He will do great as a teacher. His take-home message at the end of the lecture was very useful. Cynthia Anderson, Professor of Sociology and Director of Women’s, Gender, & Sexuality Studies, Ohio University. (This comment was part of evaluations required prior to assigning graduate students to the instructional role at Ohio University)
He started with an opening multiple choice question related to the topic for the day. It soundslike he does this every class period, which is a nice way to have some regular/consistent structure to each class period… way to pique their interest. He got responses from students both in person and via Zoom, which was good to see…discussing the answer to this question, he also referred back to material from a previous class session, which I also thought was nice — showing connections between course material…[then] The lecture/class session moved from an overview of some “basic concepts”, to theories/debates about globalization, to “recent research.” I thought that the content presented was all relevant to the overarching topic of the day, and Dr. Deb clearly is knowledgeable on the subject… He spoke clearly, at a good pace, and repeated himself for clarification/emphasis as needed. His eye contact with students in the classroom was good. He remained at the podium the whole time, but I think that was because he was using the camera on his laptop and trying to also monitor the chat box in Zoom…He repeatedly sought participation from students and checked for their understanding. Alexandra Hendley, Associate Professor of Sociology, Department of Political Science & Sociology, Murray State University (from the observation note of my teaching)