Wil Slough Selected for Deans' Teaching Showcase
College of Sciences and Arts Dean David Hemmer has selected Wil Slough as this week's featured instructor in the Deans’ Teaching Showcase.
Slough, director of first-year programs and laboratory director in the Department of Physics, will be recognized at an end-of-term event with other showcase members and is a candidate for the CTL Instructional Award Series.
Slough has made substantial contributions to teaching calculus-based physics courses and labs at Michigan Tech. Over the past decade, he anchored one of the very large physics courses during spring semesters, with enrollments often exceeding 650 students. In this capacity, he successfully maintained the learning management system, online homework system, classroom response system, examinations and accommodations, and popular office hours. His efforts have served a crucial role in ensuring the quality, consistency and effectiveness of these foundational courses over time.
Illustrative of Slough's dedication to helping students succeed and improving the experiences of first-year students at Michigan Tech, he took the initiative to engage the department in examining worrisome trends in DFW rates in PH2100. This led to campuswide discussions and, finally, the development of a supplementary instruction course for students needing additional support. “Student success in our large introductory science courses is critical to Michigan Tech’s overall success, and our students are fortunate to have faculty as dedicated as Wil Slough,” commented Hemmer.
The physics department also offers over 100 introductory physics lab sections for approximately 2,000 students each year. As the laboratory director, Slough supervises all lab courses, oversees equipment, manages the operational budget and supports 60 employees. Over the years, he has developed and implemented a robust and fully integrated approach to the physics labs, with resulting courses that have received high student satisfaction in evaluations. He has led the continuous improvement efforts for junior-level capstone lab courses based on assessments, further demonstrating his commitment to enhancing the quality of the lab offerings to benefit student learning. His efforts have also helped the department identify and remedy impediments to student retention.
Physics Chair Ravindra Pandey has strong praise for Slough’s impact within the department. “Wil is an exceptional teacher who cares about engaging students in their learning and has made a meaningful contribution to improving the quality of education and student outcomes in the physics department,” said Pandey.
John Jaszczak, chair of the department's undergraduate studies committee, has worked with Slough for many years. "Not only is Wil remarkable in his capacity to effectively manage and teach the large lectures and laboratories, but I am also most impressed with his continuous personal touch with students,” said Jaszczak. “He proactively connects with them via email and in person to ensure they are keeping up with assignments and taking advantage of office hours and other resources. He also regularly checks with his student employees in a friendly and supportive manner to ensure they thrive in the physics department. He is a role model as a supervisor.”