Teaching

I have taught the following classes at UCLA:

A&OS 101. Fundamentals of Atmospheric Dynamics and Thermodynamics (5 credit upper-level undergraduate course)

Introduction to atmospheric environment, with emphasis on thermodynamics, dynamics, and structure of atmosphere. Laws of thermodynamics; work, heat, and cyclic processes. Adiabatic processes, moisture, and atmospheric stability. Hydrostatic balance. Fundamental equations of motion, with applications to atmospheric flow. Circulation and vorticity.

A&OS C144 & C222. The Atmospheric Boundary Layer (4 credit joint undergraduate/graduate course)

The atmospheric boundary layer is the lowest portion of the atmosphere, representing the interface between the Earth’s surface and the atmosphere. This region is strongly affected by turbulence and plays an important role in the exchange of heat, momentum, trace gases, and aerosols between the Earth’s surface and the free troposphere. This class investigates the properties of the atmospheric boundary layer, and the processes that determine them.

A&OS 200A. Introduction to Atmospheric and Oceanic Fluids (4 credit graduate course)

Thermodynamics of the atmosphere. Thermodynamic diagrams and stability. Saturation and moist processes. Hydrostatics. Equations of fluid motion in rotating coordinate systems. Scales of motion and dominant balances: geostrophic, gradient, and thermal wind. Circulation and vorticity. Boundary layers and turbulence.

 

Active learning

As much as possible, I teach using active learning, which is the method of having students apply the material in the classroom through, for instance, in-class exercises or clickers. I do this because a substantial body of research shows that active learning is beneficial in several ways:

– Students learn better. A recent meta-analysis of 225 STEM education studies found that active learning increases scores on standardized examinations by about 0.5 a standard deviation (equal to about half a letter grade), and reduces the number of students failing the class by about a third. Furthermore, a seminal 1998 paper (link here) shows more than a doubling of (standardized) student learning in physics classrooms using active learning.

– Improved retention of STEM majors, especially women and disadvantaged students. Studies have found that active learning produces a reduction of students switching out of the major (e.g, Watkins and Mazur, 2013), and substantial reductions in the achievement gap between male and female students (e.g., Lorenzo et al., 2006) and between advantaged and disadvantaged students (Haak et al., Science, 2011).