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Junior Faculty Spotlight: Uttam Ghosh

Posted by on Monday, November 26, 2018 in News.

Each month, the CFT Newsletter highlights the work of our Junior Faculty Teaching Fellows. This month, Uttam Ghosh, Electrical Engineering & Computer Science, talks about his teaching philosophy and interests.

I am an Assistant Professor of the Practice in EECS Department at Vanderbilt University since 2018. I obtained my PhD and Master of Science (by Research) both from Department of E&ECE, Indian Institute of Technology Kharagpur, India in 2013 and 2009 respectively. I have postdoctoral experiences at ADSC (A unit of University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign), Singapore, Fordham University and Tennessee State University. My research mainly focused on cybersecurity and advanced networking. I am teaching Computer Organization, Operating System and Computer Networks.

Research and teaching are not two separate entities for me rather one complements another. In research, I believe on system building and teaching is nothing but nurturing the skills and qualities to be a good builder of systems. In my view, a teacher is successful if he/she can successfully prepare students for careers in engineering or systems research, entails fostering some basic aptitudes; strong implementation/troubleshooting skills, independent, creative, analytic thinking, effective communication. I aim to cultivate these basic skills in my students in classroom and most effectively in one-on-one mentoring. For me, teacher is embodiment of God and therefore I wish to set an example of morality as well as career perspectives to all these young and bright minds and make them ready for stepping into the real-world. It is a joy of giving the true values of life at the initial stages of their journey. Moreover, I want to consider myself as a student as all interaction and day to day experience provide me a platform for improving my own skills both in terms of expressing myself as well as be a great source of research ideas.

Computer science is a combination of theory, mathematics and practical field. Based on my own experience and from the feedback provided by students and attendees of different courses, I trust that students are keener on a hands-on experience in building small systems or working through problems rather than just a theoretical treatment of the subject. The impact of a hands-on experience and joy of making products stay for a much longer time. I would also like to keep in things in mind while I design a new course flexible. I would like to evaluate my students progressively over the semester through assignments, projects, and quizzes rather than just through tests, also, sometimes, conventional test can be replaced with writing a research paper or a major project. In an advance course, students are more dependent on web rather than class, a teacher should play the role of pied-piper by indoctrinating the joy of learning the various concepts and techniques. To facilitate this, I will keep my classes interactive. I will also introduce discussion sessions on open-ended topics. I would also like to invite guest lecturers or do a field trip for my courses whenever possible. I believe a student can more relate with his/her mentor than a conventional teacher. Lastly, I will ensure that my grading system does not penalize students for doing more exploratory work rather than a results-oriented work.


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