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Innovative Teaching

Economics Professor Daijiro Okada has students work in small groups in a digital classroom inside the new Rutgers Academic Building where innovative teaching is the norm. Screens for projecting notes and images; multiple white boards for students to show their work to each other; and 10 tables spread around the room with plenty of walking space make the perfect setting for Okada’s teaching style: mobile, interactive, and thought-provoking. “Being in a group creates a feeling of accountability,” he says. “I go from table to table to hear from students what they have learned, to pose new questions, and to help them master the material together.”

Professor Okada is just one example of the commitment and creativity that School of Arts and Sciences faculty bring to their role as teachers. Since its inception in 2007, the School has made excellence in teaching a fundamental part of its mission. Check out the stories below to see how innovation teaching is encouraging learning in the classroom across the academic spectrum from English to earth and planetary sciences and from genetics to mathematics.


  • Rutgers Professor Teaches About Mars Through Motion

    In “Planet Mars,” Juliane Gross, a professor in the Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences, has her students simulate the way NASA guides the six-wheeled Mars Exploration Rover vehicle across the treacherous terrain of the red planet.

  • Rutgers Professor Brings Insights on Islam to the Big Ten

    Students in Sylvia Chan-Malik’s “Islam in/and America” course are enrolled at Rutgers, the University of Maryland, University of Michigan, and University of Nebraska–Lincoln and participate in the discussion through video-conferencing that brings perspectives from around the country together.

  • Reaching Math Averse Students Across the Liberal Arts

    Michael Weingart is a mathematics professor with a knack for connecting with students who don’t like math.  He has redesigned the Department of Mathematics 100-level courses to make them engaging to students from the humanities, fine arts, social work, and other non-STEM disciplines.

  • A Powerful Memoir Inspires Students to Tell Their Stories

    In a seminar, students majoring or minoring in Spanish study the memoir by Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor, then write their own. Professor Dámaris M. Otero-Torres saw the book as a powerful means to explore race, gender, and politics, and to inspire students to reflect on their own lives.

  • A Humanities Course at Rutgers Gets Students Thinking about the Unthinkable

    “The Coming Apocalypse”—and while that title might conjure up images of bioterrorist attacks or a nuclear strike, in this edgy Signature Course English professor Richard E. Miller focuses on how humankind responds to traumatic events and troubled times as it is on the actual threats.

  • Student Scientists at Rutgers Learn the Art of Communication

    Undergraduate genetics students are learning what it takes to communicate complex science to the public. Find out why the aspiring doctors, researchers, and genetic counselors in Gary Heiman's class say they're getting a "competitive advantage" over students from other research universities. 

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