John's home page

Teaching and Motivating




ped·a·go·gy (pĕd'ə-gō'jē, -gŏj'ē)
  1. The art or profession of teaching.
  2. Preparatory training or instruction.

[French pédagogie, from Old French, from Greek paidagōgiā, from paidagōgos, slave who took children to and from school. See pedagogue.]




Articles and thoughts
  • Why pursue a doctorate? - The graduate degree as constructing a puzzle.

  • Engineers involved in society - Service opportunities for the greater good of society, something more than just sorting cloths at a thrift shop or picking up trash along a highway.

  • Pursuing your dreams - Do winners ever fail? Do failures ever fail? (my primary page on failure and success here)

  • Practical advice to students - ever wonder why your grade isn't as good as it could be?

  • Note about depression - I wrote this due to a recent tragic event, hopefully I might be able to save a life

my teaching evaluations - here

When I was about 28 years old, working in a frustrating job out in the "real world," working to finish my master's degree at the University of Cincinnati, I sat down one evening and wrote down all the things I really wanted to do with my life. I decided to write down my ideal week. Each week I wanted to be able to teach something new, learn something new, present a technical subject to an audience, mentor and motivate an individual, and write books and papers. There were other interests as well, I like math, I like engineering, I like to figure out how society works, how do we manufacture drinking water, how do we keep a hill from sagging into a house, how (and what!) to do with all the solid waste we generate? I enjoy seeing people change things for the better, an improved interface, an improved system.

So what to do then, to be able to achieve all these goals? The answer was fairly clear: become a teacher or college professor. My first opportunity to try this out came almost immediately in the form of a faculty position opening at Miami University of Ohio, just a lecturer, part-time, but a chance to see if I really liked to teach. I did, I loved it, and the Dean even talked with me about applying for a tenure track position opening they had in the department of Manufacturing Engineering.

However, after talking this opportunity over with my wife, I realized that for my greatest chance to pursue my dreams at the highest levels I would need to earn a PhD, preferably in engineering. So, with my wife's support and encouragement, I went back to school, at the University of Michigan, to earn a PhD in Civil and Environmental Engineering.

POTENTIAL class (one of many!)




My pedagogy related papers

Sieve chart for geotechnical engineers


  • - Walter J. Weber, Jr., I am the webmaster for this brief page, more to come Spring of 2006