I received my BS in physics from the University of Washington in 1969. I received my MS in Physics from The Ohio State University (through the OSU Graduate Center at WPAFB) in 1978.
I worked at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base as a civilian technical analyst and supervisor for over 29 years. I retired from Federal Civil Service on August 31, 1998 and began teaching at the University of Dayton on September 1, 1998. (A friend said I failed retirement.)
I am married to the former Charlene Paul, of Wilmington, Ohio. We have one daughter, Larissa, who earned her Master's Degree in Near-Eastern Languages and Cultures at The Ohio State University. Larissa is married to Aaron Howell, formerly of Huber Heights, Ohio. I have one grand-daughter, Elizabeth Ann Howell, born December 8, 2003, and four grandsons, Gavin Andrew Howell, born November 16, 2005, Benjamin Joseph Howell, born February 14, 2008, Alexander Gabriel Howell, born September 9, 2011, and Caleb Isaac Howell, born October 8, 2014. They live in Cincinnati where Aaron is an engineer for CECO, a firm that designs and erects concrete forms for large buildings. Aaron is a published author and currently is in charge of estimating for contract bidding for the Cincinnati office of CECO.
I do not see what I do as a job. I see it as an opportunity to make a contribution to a lot of talented young people in transition from home and K-through-12 education to independence and a lifetime of achievement.
It is my goal to communicate the material in my courses in a way that enables every student to understand it. If there is something you do not understand, ask. I will take whatever time you request to enable you to understand. But you must ask. More importantly, you must care enough to ask.
I am committed to responding to any and all questions in a way that treats you with respect. I deliberately avoid directly answering questions. If you ask a question, I will engage you in a guided discovery process by which we will jointly seek an answer to your question. Students occasionally voice frustration over this Socratic approach. It is much more work for me than just answering the question, but you are the winners--no pain, no gain. My goal in using the Socratic approach is to make you a more effective problem solver. This is the key skill you will need to carry you through a lifetime of accomplishment. One model of life: Applied problem solving.
In my courses, I teach on a number of levels. On the surface, the courses are about physics experiments. At another level, they are about how to understand and correctly follow instructions that may be unclear. At still another level, I draw on my nearly 30 years in a non-academic work environment to communicate things that I believe can make you more successful in your professional career. At yet another level, I try to make you a better technical writer--a skill that will mean greater job security and more money in the professional world.
College will demand more from you than has been demanded from almost any student educated in the United States in K-12. My intent is to give you a wake-up call. Success in life comes from stretching yourself, not from staying in your comfort zone. Life will stretch you far, far more than college will. You can believe me and work with the UD faculty and staff to stretch yourself in a safe, supportive environment or learn later in the job environment at much greater risk and higher cost.
Some students have felt I am too negative in my perception of what you will run into in the professional world. I offer two data points for you to consider in your assessment of my perception.
1. In Fall 2006, I had a young lady in my 210L class who caught my eye because she was older than the average freshman. After the third class, she came up to me and said: "I spent 5 years in the professional world before I came back to UD. Everything you are telling your students about the professional world is exactly correct." I said: "Will you say that to the class next week?" She said "yes" and did so.
2. In the mid 1980s Newsweek did an article on Scott Adams, creator of Dilbert. The article pointed out that many of the situations that show up in Dilbert cartoons are sent in by people in the workplace who have experienced them. In the article, three situations were presented. The first two were supervisors doing/saying things to an employee you would swear no human being would ever do/say to another. These were actual situations sent in by readers. The third was a contractor saying something like "You really don't need to hire us for this job."
If you take what I tell you about what you may well face in the professional world to heart and I am wrong, the worst that can happen is you are going to be more competitive in the impersonal professional world. If you ignore what I tell you and I am right, you will learn it the hard way in the professional world at a significant cost to your professional success.
BOTTOM LINE: You are paid/rewarded in the professional world for contributing more to your organization's profits than you cost in salary and benefits (typically on the order of double your salary) and for delighting customers. These customers may be internal to your organization (starting with your supervisor) or external. Delighting a customer means they like your work well enough to ask for more of it and to praise you to your organization or your supervisor. Those who do both consistently will stay employed and get larger pay raises and more promotions than their peers who do not or who do it less consistently or less well.
The only constant in our lives is change. You will retrain many times in your professional career because you will change jobs far more often than my or your parents' generation in response to the increasing rate of change of technology. The thing you CAN (if you choose) learn at UD that will serve you best throughout your life is: HOW TO LEARN.
It is very important to me that you learn the material presented in my labs. However, I (or any other teacher) have (has) very little to do with whether you learn or not. A teacher can present the material in a manner that is more interesting or less interesting, more clear or less clear. But ultimately 95% (at least) of what you learn is a direct result of your actions. Less than 5% is due to anything any teacher does. Remember this when you are in a professional job: your learning is almost entirely a result of your personal motivation and commitment. Any time you blame any teacher for the fact you are not learning as well as you wish, you are deluding yourself. That belief makes you a victim. Take charge! You are the only individual who can control what you learn. Recognizing and accepting this reality is a critical step in becoming a productive and successful adult.