Engineering Professor Connects to Classes with Energy, Enthusiasm
Dr. Mohammad Saquib
Dr. Mohammad Saquib, professor of electrical engineering in the Erik Jonsson School of Engineering and Computer Science, said he received one of his most important professional lessons from his father, a high school teacher: Energy and enthusiasm are key to effective teaching.
Students and faculty who interact with Saquib, a recipient of a 2014 University of Texas System Regents’ Outstanding Teaching Award, vouch that he has followed his father’s words well.
“Saquib’s interest in how to best instruct his students fills him like the blood running deep inside his veins,” said Dr. Lawrence Overzet, a professor of electrical engineering and 2011 Regents' Outstanding Teaching Award recipient. “It is like a fire stoked in his belly that motivates him to keep improving. It causes him to care about all his students and to go beyond the expected, beyond the required.
“This comes from deep inside and is based upon a love for students and effective education.”
Saquib teaches undergraduate courses from both practical and theoretical perspectives about topics in telecommunications such as wireless communication and signal processing.
“There is a need for engineers at all levels who have the ability to think innovatively, to have fluency in computer and software skills, and to have good communication skills in their ability to explain the specific aspects of their work,” he said. “I incorporate all these aspects in teaching courses. As an educator, my objective is to teach students how to gain excitement from learning and solving problems, not just direct them on a guided tour into abstraction and principles.”
Dr. Mohammad Saquib
TITLE: Professor of electrical engineering
RESEARCH INTERESTS: Wireless data transmission including system modeling and performance, signal processing and radio resource management; design of low-cost signal processing techniques for radar and medical applications
OTHER ACCOLADES: ROTA finalist in 2012; Jonsson School Teaching Excellence Award in 2011; excellence in teaching electrical engineering and telecom for 2002–2003
More About the Awards
Faculty Members Receive Regents' Outstanding Teaching Awards
Saquib employs what he calls a micro-teaching method. Each class starts with a review of the prior lesson. He leads the class through learning a new concept by helping students answer a series of questions. He then gives them a problem and checks that each student can solve it. For any student who is struggling to find a solution, he offers to help them after class. Review sessions are also offered before exams.
Besides earning high marks on student evaluations, his innovative teaching methods have led to multiple sessions of study time on single topics, undergraduate research in labs and centers such as the Texas Analog Center of Excellence, jobs, internships and full-time employment upon graduation, and financial gifts from donors to support undergraduate students pursuing graduate studies.
Since other faculty members often implement his techniques in their classes, his influence has been widespread in enriching the teaching environment of the University.
“He actively and unselfishly shares his ideas as well as solicits ideas for improving instruction, curricula and research activities,” said longtime colleague Dr. P.K. Rajasekaran, a senior lecturer in electrical engineering. “Saquib has influenced me with his approach to effective instruction, thereby improving my effectiveness in class.”
Before the semester starts, Saquib has been found in his office practicing each student’s name so that he can call them specifically in class and create a warm and personal environment. He puts effort into reaching out to them, befriending and connecting with them. It’s not unusual in engineering hallways to hear students catching Saquib up on other aspects of their lives.
“He is a perfect example of a teacher that can be a role model for any student interested in any topic in engineering,” said Justin Koshy, a computer engineering senior. “The ability to make a course interesting is the first step in winning over a crowd of students. He makes sure his students learn something every day. He respects his students and is willing to help them in class and outside of class.”
Saquib, a faculty member in the Jonsson School since 2000, wants his teaching to continue to evolve and to contribute to the University's legacy.
“Since I am continually improving my teaching techniques and have plans to develop advanced undergraduate courses, I believe I will be even more effective in the future,” he said. “Well-trained graduates enhance the reputation of their schools as they enter into their professional careers. Therefore, an academic institution always benefits from excellent teachers. In this respect, my innovative and effective teaching style, along with my broad perspective, will always contribute toward the growing reputation of UT Dallas."
Media Contact: The Office of Media Relations, UT Dallas, (972) 883-2155, [email protected].