Make an Impact
The faculty of the Off-Site Locations has a passion for educating. Their choice for a career in higher education is one of dedication and determination.
Members of our faculty shared their answers to this query:
- Describe your level of excitement for teaching.
- What motivates you?
- Why continue your work?
- What feedback do you receive from active participants … our adult learners?
Adjunct faculty member Vernon C. Gordon, Ph.D. shares his thoughts when asked about his excitement and devotion to teaching. Dr. Gordon is a retired commanding officer from the U.S. Navy and teaches aerospace engineering at the Patuxent, Md. site. Hear what he has to say...
"I started teaching on the faculty of the U.S. Naval Academy in 1986. Watching the growth of the young midshipmen made me realize how much I enjoyed teaching. Since then I have spent 15 years on the staff of the U.S. Naval Test Pilot School teaching skilled aviators, weapons systems officers and engineers how to flight test airplanes and weapons systems.
This experience carries over directly into the Florida Tech classroom because as we talk aerospace engineering, our students see and touch the product directly in their daily jobs, something not so common on most campuses. My many years of experience in naval aviation has given me a wealth of real world background for my courses.
My goal is to try to help Florida Tech to develop the best engineers possible so that they can provide quality equipment to our war fighters. I was an active Naval Flight Officer for 24 years and know how important it is to trust your equipment to do the job and protect you. Feedback from our Patuxent River students is positive because of the real world aspects I try to bring into the classroom and the importance of their jobs to the security of our nation. This is a great accomplishment for everyone involved."
Donald Platt, program director, space systems shares his thoughts when asked about his passion for teaching students, while at the same time directing the space systems master's degree program at Florida Tech’s Rockledge location. Hear what he has to say...
"On my level of excitement for teaching… I think teaching is an incredible way to have an impact on so many people and in ways that you never realized. You touch so many lives and perhaps help people to accomplish great things and stimulate them to push themselves to further their life goals. As an instructor I’m challenged as well, as each year there are different students with new and different perspectives; and new and challenging questions.
As a result of my work experience, I feel I have a combination of real-world space and engineering experience combined with an academic background. I have worked on projects from the beginning to end and have seen and dealt with all the challenges of complicated engineering systems.
In answer to the question: what do I bring to the classroom that differentiates me from other instructors? I have a diverse background in many engineering and scientific disciplines so I can usually apply a new perspective to perhaps an old problem. The space systems program is all about interface between multiple disciplines and I feel my background exemplifies that.
I feel that as a teacher you have this unique opportunity to influence many lives and many careers. This is what motivates me in the classroom. Who knows what your student of today may accomplish in the future. I’m also motivated by learning about new fields and disciplines all the time, always trying to keep a fresh perspective.
Our students consistently offer feedback on the space systems program and they tell us the program is unique and highly valuable in terms of integrating multiple disciplines. These individuals have diverse undergraduate backgrounds in engineering and/or science. They also tell us the program really fits their working lifestyles. Florida Tech understands that our students are also employees and perhaps a spouse or parent. Our programs are flexible to accommodate their busy and changing schedules."