Holding a PHYS 411 (General Relativity and Cosmology) class outdoors in Freedom Square (Spring 2018)

I have taught algebra- and calculus-based Introductory Physics (PHYS 211,212 and 241), Astronomy (ASTR 161), Electricity and Magnetism (PHYS 242), Mathematical Physics (PHYS 307), and a seminar course called Physics and Metaphysics (TSEM 102). In 2018, I revived a long-dormant course at Towson University: Introduction to General Relativity and Cosmology (PHYS 411, pictured above). Among the visitors to drop in on this class was Towson university President Kim Schatzel.

Taking students to the Wilmington & Western Railroad. Photo courtesy Kanji Takeno (April 2019)

In 2019, I began teaching Thermodynamics and Statistical Mechanics (PHYS 352/552). Department operations manager Trevor Lowing helped me take students on a day-long field trip to Delaware’s Wilmington & Western Railroad (pictured above). For 2021 and 2022, we switched from steam-powered trains to ships. With the help of funding from Towson’s BTU program, we visited the engine room of one of the last two World War II Liberty Ships still in operation, Baltimore’s S.S. John W. Brown (news stories in 2021 and 2022). In 2023, I expanded this field trip to include also the world’s first nuclear-powered merchant ship, the N.S. Savannah.

Teaching remotely during the pandemic with the help teacher-in-residence Jim Selway, who created many of the demonstrations shown (December 2020).

From 2020-2021, I devised a way to teach these courses remotely but “almost live”. The key was to use two Zoom accounts on two different computers. One (“instructor”) was connected to a microphone and camera aimed at a giant, well-lit whiteboard. This account hosted the Zoom session that the students would sign into. It would be spotlighted (to make it as large as possible for students) and recorded (so that students could review the lectures later if they wished). The other computer (“guest”) was connected to a large external display mounted next to the camera. I used this computer to sign into my own Zoom class as “guest,” and I set it to gallery mode so that I could see all the students spread out in front of me as I spoke to the camera — almost as if we were together in a classroom. I also set up a small table with a second camera with a flexible neck, that I could use for closeup work to do lab activities together with the students in real time. The students received miniaturized packets of lab equipment to follow along at home. My basement filled up with physics demonstrations from Smith Hall (pictured above).

In the fall of 2021, all these courses moved back to campus and into Towson’s new Science Complex. My PHYS 242 class appeared in a promotional video by Henry Basta commemorating the ribbon-cutting for this building:


I have worked with many amazing students in individual research courses such as Directed Readings (PHYS 491), Independent Studies (PHYS 490,690), Special Topics (PHYS 470), Capstone Research (PHYS/ASTR 495,695), Honors Thesis (HONR 499), etc. These courses have been taught on an “off-load” (voluntary) basis.

My teaching is unscientifically rated as 4.6 out of 5 on ratemyprofessors.com. I received the Excellence in Teaching Award from the Fisher College of Science and Mathematics in 2021 and the Presidential Faculty Award for Excellence in Teaching in 2023.

With President Perreault at Auburn House (April 2023)