Teaching Portfolio

Fumio S. Ohuchi
Department of Materials Science and Engineering The University of Washington

Teaching Philosophy

My teaching philosophy is centered around the following five aspects: (i) Translating my enthusiasm for research and selected fields of interest to the students, (ii) A thorough preparation of lecture materials to impart my ideas in a coherent and logical manner, (iii) Providing activities and assessment tasks which ensure thorough understanding of the subject matter, and (iv) Creating a positive and nurturing learning environment; a class to look forward to attending. As an educator, my goals are to let our students be able to: (i) Critically observe and think logically, (ii) Constructively formulate individual ideas, and finally (iii) Naturally apply basic principles to practice. I emphasize learning and understanding the subject matter to be a building block in assisting learner to be the best they can be in their later professions, thus positively impacting their life. It is therefore my privilege to conduct lectures at the university.

Teaching Approach

I have been trying to achieve the goals stated above through “interactive/cooperative learning” in both class and laboratory settings. I have structured my teaching materials in such a way that students can master basic principles, exercise a variety of problems, and apply their learning to things new contexts. I encourage students to explain phenomenon in their own words, not through definitions found in textbooks or literature. This provides students the opportunity to build their own knowledge based on their individual class and life experience. I also recognize the importance of sharing my own unique professional and life experiences with them, so they can see firsthand a link between their present education and future career. My decade long industrial experience has been particularly useful in my approach to education, and has significantly influenced the character of my teaching.

Undergraduate Instruction

UG learning is facilitated by spending more active involvement in classroom lectures, as well as through hands-on experience in laboratory. Much of my time in the past was devoted to developing (1) interactive power-point presentation tools that are used in the classroom lectures, and (2) laboratory modules that are used in a year- long Integrated Junior Laboratory Series (MSE-311, 312 and 313).

In classroom teaching, I exclusively use an interactive power-point presentation to lead the lecture. I have carefully constructed all of my files in such a way that students can observe the progression of theory, concepts, and interpretation in a step-by-step manner. Prior to lectures, I email my power point file(s) to the students, and have them work out the file(s) or bring a laptop computer to go through the file together during my lecture. I also supplement that material with review questions and answer keys generated from each lecture that are sent immediately after my lecture. I emphasize the importance of reviewing lecture materials along with these quiz questions and animated power-point files every day throughout the course. This approach has proven greatly successful in conducting 300 level courses, such as MSE 331 and 352. In laboratory teaching, I fully take advantage of a year-long Integrated Junior Laboratory series (MSE 311(fall)-312(winter)-313(spring)) to develop students’ experimental and writing skills. During the fall term, lab sessions are designed for incoming Junior students to experience hands-on exercises in a “do-it-yourself” fashion. In the subsequent quarters, lab-exercises are arranged in a way of developing more individual skills in both experiments and writing. Students are able to learn principles and operation of different kind of instrumentations. This in turn widens students’ interest and knowledge in practical setting. Lately, I have been using several major instrumentations acquired from my research grant. Experience on engaging these state-of-the-art instrumentations indeed motivates students on learning the cutting edge technology. In laboratory, however, students inevitably make their own mistakes, but are encouraged to learn from them. Together with TAs, I work closely with students on their strategies, approaches, analysis and interpretations to discern areas of strength and/or deficiency. I believe that students passing through this series of lab courses become more mature and ready for senior research.

Graduate Instruction

The underlying philosophy in my graduate teaching is “immersion”. While challenging, it is vital that students grasp broader concepts at a high level while becoming well-versed in the literature, development and progress of their field, and of their thesis problem. I demand that my students go above and beyond what has been laid out in their coursework and truly embrace their chosen fields with additional readings. I also require that one-quarter of their graduate courses be linked to their own research, or have a direct connection to it. For this, I ask students to write a critical term paper and make a presentation specifically related to their own thesis problem; the outcome of this course can subsequently be used as a chapter in their thesis.


MSE 170 - Fundamentals of Materials Science
Fundamental principles of structure and properties of materials utilized in practice of engineering. Properties of materials are related to atomic, molecular, crystalline structure. Metals, ceramics, multiphase systems, and polymeric materials. Relationships between structure and electrical, mechanical, thermal, chemical properties. For advanced freshmen and sophomores.

MSE 311 - Integrated Junior Lab (I, II, III)
I: Laboratory experimental techniques including writing, literature search, research planning and computer applications. Optical microscopy experiments, sample preparations, X-ray equipment, and X-ray diffraction analysis of materials.
II: Materials processing related laboratory experiments, including powder synthesis, redox reactions of particulate materials, grain growth, recyrstallization, phase transformation, green tape processing, particle interaction and rheolgy, slip and tape casting and dry processing, sol-gel processing, polymer processing, sintering behavior, metal welding, and heat treatment.
III: Kinetics and phase transformation related laboratory experiments, including solidification. Mechanical properties related laboratory experiments, including stress-strain behavior of materials and elastic modulus of materials, effect of work hardening on stress strain behavior, and effect of surface condition of the strength of glass.

MSE 331 - Crystallography & Structure
Theory and practice of x-ray diffraction with applications to materials sitemaps. Principles of crystal symmetry, lattice systems, and stereographic projections. Bragg's law of diffraction, Laue conditions, diffraction by X-rays, single crystal and powder diffraction techniques and their applications to lattice, phase, strain, and texture analyses.

MSE 351 - Electron Theory of Engineering Materials
Introduction to elementary solid-state concepts in materials, free electrons, and band theories. Principles to conduction in metals, insulators, semiconductors, and applications of semiconductors and devices.

MSE 473 - Noncrystalline State
Chemistry and physics of inorganic glass and amorphous semiconductors; structure, properties, and processing of vitreous materials.

MSE 565 - Electronic Theory of Materials
Solid-state concepts of materials. Atomic bonding, statistical mechanics, Brillouin zone theory. Applications to conduction, optical, and magnetic properties of metals, semiconductors, and insulators.