DRAFT: This module has unpublished changes.

Quotes and Tips from  Interviews
with Stony Brook's Educators


No one can argue that Stony Brook University has the best faculty and students around!  As I interview faculty on their best practices in the classroom, here are some of my favorite quotes.
See our blog - http://teachinginnovations.wordpress.com/




  • Mid-semester assessments gives you feedback on what’s working and what's not while there's still time to make some changes.  Don't be afraid to make changes.  – Dr. Monica Bugallo


  • When I teach, I try to change my tone of voice as if I am having a conversation with them. It’s a bit like acting and the students respond.  -  Dr. Joan Kuchner

  • Be flexible.  If your class is not going well and you know it’s not going well involve your students and make adjustments.   It's  worse to not do anything and stick to your syllabus than to change it as you go.  – Dr. Ayesha Ramachandran


  • Find out from the beginning why the students are taking the course. It may bring up feelings of discontent, but it gives you an idea of what you will be dealing with during the semester and allows you to make adjustments and gear the course to fit the students' needs. -   Dr. Ayesha Ramachandran

  • Engage in dialogue about teaching with both students and other faculty.  Teachers teach and learn better together.   – Dr. Stephanie Wade 


  • Reward good work consistently through small gestures.  As I read a paper I put a small checkmark next to things I find interesting. You don’t have to say what you like about it, but when the student gets the paper back they see the check marks and they can feel good about what they did.   I think it gives students a much more positive outlook on their efforts. –   Dr. Gene Hammond

  • Have students give feedback to one another. I think that it’s important for students to get feedback from their peers, not just from teachers. Sometimes it means more to them to hear it from their peers. - Dr. Lori Scarlatos  

 Large Lecture  

  • If you know basically what you want to say, don’t bring lecture notes. Lecture notes are a way for you to keep pace with what’s going on.   -    Dr. Tom Hemmick

  • WATCH. Watch the students…a lecture is interactive even if you are the only one talking,.  You have to look at people, and look into their eye.  You will be able to see if they understand or not.   It’s really simple, if they don’t, fix it.  If they do, move on.  – Dr. Tom Hemmick


  • A class is successful when something they learn in the class room is useful to their  lives. -  Dr. Monica Bugallo

Learning Environment – Creating Community and Trust

  • I try to share something of myself…just sharing something…personal behind it I think helps the students. One, you’re a person, two this is real life and it makes a difference”.  – Joan Kuchner

  • Try and mention someplace that it is an emotionally safe place to learn..people need to feel that it is OK to make mistakes and it is OK to ask questions”.  – Joan Kuchner

  • Create a community in your class. Commuter students often lack community. Having a class anthology creates a classroom community.  -Dr. Gary Mar

  • On the first day of class have everyone write down what they are good at, let the students be the teachers as well.  – Gary Mar
  • Create a community in your class. Commuter students often lack community. Having a class anthology helps to create a classroom community. -Ayesha Ramachandran 


  • When you are with people, give them your full attention. Listen to your students along with your fellow faculty members.Gene Hammond

  • Listen to your students. If there is something that is being discussed or there is something about the topic that they want to know, help them.   Make sure they are getting all they can from the course. - Margot Palermo 


  • Coax higher attendance by offering rewards or special privileges on consistently low attendance days.Dr. David Hanson

Projects and Presentations  


  • Oral presentations give students the opportunity to put away the torn up jeans and experience what it feels like to be a professional  -Margot Palermo

  • Have students work in different groups throughout the semester.  It forces students to talk to people they normally wouldn’t talk to.  It also allows students who are shy or students who do not know anyone to have the same experience as those who have numerous friends in the class, without feeling left out.  I want everyone to be on equal footing. - Dr. Lori Scarlatos  

Experiential Learning

  • Many students have a desire to help out in the community.  By incorporating community service into the classroom activities,  students have a way to give back and apply the skills and lessons they are learning in a real way. – Margot Palermo

Teaching to the Generations

  • This generation of students have been “taught to the test” and it has created a generation of students whom are just looking for the right answer.  Don’t criticize what they learned in high school, because they learned to do something really well.  Acknowledge what they have learned and encourage them to do something different.  - Dr. Stephanie Wade

  • Start where they are and work with it. -Stephanie Wade

Learning Styles, Preferences, Differences

  • Students who struggle in a subject might just need to learn a different way to manage the material.  -Stephanie Wade  


  • It is a good thing to time how long a minute feels.   At times we jump in too soon just because it feels empty.   Give more time for students to answer than you normally allow.   That’s one thing useful about a cup of coffee; it gives you something to do while they are coming up with an answer”. Joan Kuchner

  • I always have multiple agendas in a class, any class. Multiple learning goals. Only part of that is direct course content, because I want them to learn how to be active learners, and part of that is helping them acquire new knowledge and identifying questions they want to ask and they want to answer too, because they are important to the student”.Joan Kuchner
  • People need to concentrate on their strengths; teach your strengths.  Be flexible and teach to your students’ strengths.Gary Mar
  • When planning the class, start with the learning objectives and work backwards. What are the outcomes? How are you going to measure whether you’ve achieved your outcomes? Then plan out how you’re going to teach the course.- Dr. Lori Scarlatos

Teaching with Courage

  • The willingness of the teacher to model problem solving, maybe not to always have the right answers, but take on new material is very important because it is modeling intellectual risk taking and being both the teacher and the learner. Dr. Joan Kuchner
DRAFT: This module has unpublished changes.