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TEACHING

Selected Awards & Recognition

  • SUNY Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Service (2015)
  • University at Albany Excellence in Academic Service Award (2015)
  • School of Business Excellence in Research Award (2015)
  • Faculty Research Award Program (FRAP B) (2013)
  • University at Albany Excellence in Research Award (2010)
  • AT&T Industrial Ecology Faculty Fellowship (2009 – 2010)
  • Faculty Research Award Program (FRAP A/B) (2007)

Philosophy

I am not interested in marking time as a teacher, or watching students do the same; I believe in setting high standards, in providing challenges that students recognize as such from the outset, understanding that they will have to work hard to achieve results.

Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life? — Mary OliverMy philosophy of teaching is to generate a conceptual foundation of the subject matter with tools, projects and assignments to support the learning effort. We do this together, effectively developing an idea exchange, in discussions that evolve, expand, and influence the dynamics of the class. I make sure that students feel comfortable asking questions and challenging ideas–which often takes some individual encouragement–both within the classroom and through discussions outside of class. I encourage students to gain clarity of thought rather than knowledge through rote learning. These dynamics, I’ve come to understand, improve the overall learning experience.

goel-teachingMy teaching philosophy and practice have evolved increasingly towards hands-on experiential learning, and immersion classes. I believe that students grasp concepts better if they have a chance to apply them to real-world problems. I prefer not to waste their time or my own with long tedious assignments; I want them to be able to abstract insights through analysis, and apply that knowledge to a new problem. When these challenges are combined with team processes, guidance from, and presentations to, mentors, and a rigorous set of goals, students take remarkable responsibility for their own learning. The goal in these classes is not a fixed point; it is not one destination to which students can fix their gaze or chart a shortcut. Multi-layered, increased understanding is built, and tested, throughout the class.

I strive for excellence in teaching, and work hard with the students so that they feel inspired, rather than prodded to learn. I share with them my failures as well as successes, to encourage them to accept both as perennially intertwined and interdependent. My hope, as a teacher, is that they will face adversity with courage and dignity. None of us have all, or the exact skills we need to succeed. My greatest hope is that my students will see learning for the great joy and engine that it is, and leave UAlbany confident that through learning they can achieve whatever they wish in their ‘one wild and precious life.’

Academic Integrity

Students must comply with all University standards of academic integrity. As stated on the undergraduate and graduate bulletin, “Claims of ignorance, of unintentional error, or of academic or personal pressures are not sufficient reasons for violations of academic integrity.” If a student is discovered violating academic integrity standards, he/she will be reported to the Office of Graduate Admissions, or the Dean of Undergraduate Studies Office AND either: receive a warning: be told to rewrite the plagiarized material: receive a lowering of a paper or project grade of at least one full grade; receive a failing grade for a project containing plagiarized material or the examination in which cheating occurred; receive a lowering of course grade by one full grade or more; or receive a failing grade for the course, depending on the infraction.

Types of violations are attached

Prospective Students

Dissertation Committee Member

If you want me to be on your dissertation committee, please first consult with your dissertation chair to determine whether I would be a suitable choice. If your chair agrees with your request, or recommends me, please provide me with a written statement (4-5 pages) describing your proposed work (including a statement of goals and objectives, motivation, methodology, and the relevance or broader impacts of your work).

After a week, please schedule an appointment with me so that we can discuss any questions that I may have. I may have to decline being a part of your committee, should I feel that I am not a good fit, or if I am otherwise overcommitted. If I agree to be on your committee, I expect you to receive from you a detailed proposal, once ready, as well as a report of your progress (and any stumbling blocks) at least once during the semester. In the meantime, should you need any guidance or help, please make an appointment to see me. I also expect to be consulted prior to your scheduling your proposal/dissertation defenses, and provided with a copy of the proposal/dissertation more than two weeks before the event(s).

Dissertation Chair / Advisor

I will only take on a dedicated student for the doctoral program, one who is prepared for the program and dedicated to high-caliber research. I accept doctoral students to work with me periodically, based on my current commitments to students, research, professional, and community responsibilities. I will typically not supervise more than three dissertations at any given time, and advise one Ph.D. student every other year. I currently advise four PhD students. I provide some funding for my students through research grants and teaching, however, the funding may or may not directly relate to the student’s dissertation topic.

Prerequisites

Any student I accept as an advisee should be self-motivated, independent, hard working, and ethical. He/she must have completed their core course requirements, and passed the general comprehensive exam. In addition, students should work on at least 1 independent study or research project in my lab with me towards a publishable paper.

In selecting doctoral students, these are some of my prerequisites:

  • Strong command of spoken and written English
  • Outstanding academic record
  • Understanding of academic integrity issues, including proper citation and attribution of work
  • Must know at least one programming language well (knowledge of both windows and Linux OS preferred)
  • Must be willing and able to work independently, without the need for constant prompting and/or monitoring

If you feel that you meet these prerequisites, and would like me to be your dissertation chair, please send me a write-up of your proposed topic. Explain why you believe that I should be your dissertation chair, and what you would expect from me in that capacity. I expect students to hold me to the same high standards in ethics, quality of work, and diligence that I will expect from them.

Expectations

Please understand that it will take a minimum 4-5 years to complete your dissertation work, unless yours is an exceptional case. It is a difficult journey, and you should be mentally prepared for its rigors. You should also fully understand why you want to pursue a Ph.D. If you are a part-time student, you need to be even more introspective, because work commitments may make it difficult for you to find time for course work and research. Plan your job scenario for the next 4-5+ years, such that it is feasible for you to work on your dissertation.

My expectations of those students who work with me include:

  • Periodic updates or progress reports.
  • Equivalent of two conferences, or one journal submission, per year. Please note that presentations do not count towards this number!
  • All administrative paperwork / responsibilities should be taken care of in a meticulous and timely manner, and copies of all important documents should be maintained by the student.
  • No engagement in extensive teaching activities prior to a successful proposal defense.
  • I will be given sufficient time to review any co-authored article for journal or conference submission, and no work will be published without my review and approval.
  • At least one accepted journal paper prior to graduation.
  • If funded by me, I expect students to devote significant time during breaks on research work.

Choosing Other Committee Members

The dissertation committee should be chosen very carefully. New dissertation members or advisors must be mutually accepted Before work on the dissertation can begin, a proposal must be presented to the committee to solicit their feedback, and to ensure that they will still be a good fit for the work as it progresses.

Dissertation Proposal

Before starting on a dissertation, students must write a proposal (4-5 single-spaced pages) that delineates:

  • a clear statement of goals and assumptions (problem statement)
  • the motivation for the work
  • theoretical underpinnings of the work
  • relevant literature survey,
  • an outlined statement of work on how you will prove your thesis (data collection, methodology, and benchmarking),
  • approximate schedule of completion, and
  • statement of the broader impacts or outcomes of your work

Once I approve the short proposal, it should be expanded to a 15-20 page dissertation proposal. In addition, an outline of skills required for your dissertation work should be drafted, and mapped against your current skills. You are expected to provide a plan for addressing these gaps.

Dissertation Sample Schedule

This provisional PhD. dissertation schedule will vary from student to student, based on the research being undertaken, as well as personal circumstances and objectives.

  1. First Year Focus: core requirements of the doctoral program
  2. Second Year: Work closely with me on a project or independent study so that we can get comfortable with each other’s style before making a commitment. Finish the major comprehensive exam, and do a detailed literature survey in your area of interest.
  3. Third Year: Prepare a short dissertation proposal, expand it into the long dissertation proposal, and work on obtaining the complementing skills required, expanding the literature review, software development (if necessary), and data collection. Produce the equivalent of one journal article or two conference papers.
  4. Fourth Year: Complete the data analysis, and validate as well as benchmark the results. You are expected to be working on a journal paper based on these results in addition to your dissertation work. In the first semester of your fourth year, I expect you to submit this paper to a journal so that it gets published before you enter the job market.
  5. Fifth Year: Write and defend your dissertation, refine the results as necessary, and write a journal paper with the refined results. You should plan to defend your dissertation in the beginning of the second semester. You should also prepare your resume and start your job search.