Student Reflections and Messages on my courses
This is a compilation of the students’ feedback or comments about the courses or about me as an instructor. It was offered to me either as direct messages, course blogs, or anonymous course-instructor survey comments.
Disclaimer: I have to confess up front that I did some cherry picking of the students’ feedback (for anonymous course-instructor surveys) being biased toward the positive comments for this page. Like in any college courses, I have received a mix of positive and negative comments both with ample dosages. Some negative comments include “sometimes I cannot understand what you say”, “workload is too high”, “we should have more exams to lessen the workload for each test”, “there are too much reading / too much details”, or “you need more interaction with students in the classroom.” These are all valid and valuable comments that I have tried hard to incorporate into my future teachings (hence improving my courses).
MNS 308: Humans and a Changing Ocean
I took intro to oceanography because I, like most other people, have an interest in the goings on of the ocean. Pretty simple. I was surprised to find myself more and more interested as the months came and went, and now I find myself having neared the end of a second oceanography course – something you’d be hard pressed to convince me would actually happen a little over a year ago. The reason I believe I’m in MNS 308 is also simple: Dr. Min. He’s one of those professors that, if you’re fortunate enough to get, has the power to revolutionize the way you view the world. In my case, it was his dedication to students and the impartial, objective tone of his lectures that lead me to change the way I think about my relationship with the earth’s oceans. Before these two courses, I believed they were so immense, so unbelievably gargantuan, that even the mere mention of potential anthropomorphic damage to them was ludicrous. I believed that the earth’s systems were so incredibly robust that nothing mankind could ever be capable of doing would be powerful enough to alter them to any significant degree. I was wrong. And thanks to Dr. Min, I now have taken upon myself the responsibility to initiate the dialogue whose premise I once believed was well beyond the realm of reasonable possibility. It’s professors that have nothing to prove that affect me most profoundly, and he is no exception.
As this class draws to a close I can’t help but to reflect on how it has effected my everyday life. I honestly only took this class to fill credit hours, but I’m so happy that I did. I constantly stop myself from doing things I used to do without thinking twice about it. I no longer flick my cigarette butts; I always throw them away, I no longer throw all my trash in the same container; I carefully separate everything, and I no longer pour my paint thinners down the sink; I’ve even tried to prevent my fellow studio art majors from continuing doing so. It’s so strange how much of an influence this class has had on my life. I eat more fish than most and I have recently started asking the different places I buy from if they know where the fish came from and have, unfortunately, stopped eating some of my favorite fish due to their appearance on the endangered species list. This class has been so informative and I truly enjoyed it.
It is quite hard to imagine that a year ago the ocean was just a spot to vacation. Now, incorporating everything I have learned from the Coriolis Effect and its effects on ocean currents to the most terrible invader to the marine environment, plastic, my eyes have experienced something so new. Originally, I took this course because I am not a science major and could not handle the biology or chemistry. However, now knowing what I do, I know that this course would have been on my list regardless of my major because you learn so much about the world’s oceans. This class teaches you how connected everything is and how the Earth has many systems to maintain a constant equilibrium. I am actually excited to see what the future holds for us: were the scientist’s predictions correct, what the human population will do to reduce its carbon emissions, and how different this planet will be. Scientists are predicting that by 2100 this Earth will be different if we do not change how we live. It is our job now as semi-scientists to spread the world and awareness even in the smallest ways. Through our lives, we must teach our families and friends how to reduce their carbon footprint, conserve energy, and help save the world. It is only through our small acts that the world is able to see how big of a problem this is. A small group of dedicated people can change the world, and after this class I feel that I am an honorary member.
– J. T.
Throughout this course we have been introduced to a variety of problems that our oceans are facing. These issues range from climate change, destruction of coral reefs, melting sea ice, sea level rise, loss of biodiversity, and more. It is honestly quite depressing to consider how much damage humanity has inflicted on our oceans since the industrial revolution. This course has been incredibly helpful and an important eye-opening experience for myself and I am sure for other students in the class. As a graduating senior who took this class primarily to fulfill my final science credit, I feel fortunate to have been a part of this course, and already I have begun altering some of my habits and consumer behavior to reduce the harmful impact that I as an individual am contributing to our ocean’s problems. One example of a problem that I was completely unaware of before I took this class was the problems arising from use of fertilizers that drain into our rivers and oceans. I had no clue that fertilizers used on land can actually be one of the primary causes of dead zones in the ocean. Going forward I hope that I can help educate others about problems such as these, and I hope that little by little we can all help to reduce the harmful impact that we have on the world’s oceans.
I would just like to let you know what an inspiration you have been to me and I’m sure to many others. Since I was in kindergarten I told my parents and teachers I wanted to be a marine biologist, but unfortunately I have more of a right-side functioning brain than a left, and suck at math and science. … I would pursue international relations instead, which I am good at and enjoy, and to focus on the science and the environment sect. Even if I don’t get to be involved in science and the environment in my career, I have and always will take the human impact very seriously, and try to do my best to make a difference. You and your class have well equipped me in my opinion to do this, and reminded me why I love science so much! I wish there was a way I could be immersed in it without having to get a degree, and I hope to find it in the future. You are a role-model to me and I hope that more people, including myself, can be learn to be like you. I’m truly jealous of Stephanie and Tracey for doing what they are doing, and having the opportunity to work closely with you. I’m really sad that I can’t take another one of your classes, but I hope that you continue to influence the people around you, and make the world a better place. Thank you for being such an amazing teacher and person!
I wanted to let you know that this was a great class that has been one of my favorite classes I have taken at UT this far. Thank you for teaching it and caring so much about the students. I will definitely recommend the two oceanography courses to friends in need of a science credits. I am an Economics major (far away from a science) but I really enjoyed it and would like to know if there are any other classes you teach here open to non-science majors because I would love to take another if you have any. Again, thank you for a great class.
Thank you Dong-Ha for being a great professor. I have enjoyed being your class two semesters in a row! Not too sure what career path I am going to take but thank you for raising my awareness on the issues we talked about. I like to consider myself a conservative however I now understand the importance of the environment and passing legislation to cure it.
Your class was one of the most enjoyable I’ve had at UT and what you taught really stuck to me. I always recommend your class to everyone!
Dr. Min is one of the nicest professors I have had. He showed a genuine interest towards us and has a sense of humor I appreciate. He was interesting and fun to have guest lecturers through skype. He also showed varied knowledge on topics and was good at answering questions.
Dr. Min and his classes have been wonderful. It is obvious that he is passionate about the topic and his students. He genuinely cares about each student, and I will sincerely miss his class. He has taught me so much with this course and I will carry this knowledge for the rest of my life. He has made me more aware of the ocean and earth conditions, and I am inspired to how to take actions.
Dr. Min is one of the best teachers I have ever had. He truly cares about the well-being of his students. He is reasonable, fair, humble, engaging, and an incredible educator. Our feedback matters to him.
Professor Min was very interested in the topic and eager to inspire students to creatively think about our environment.
I have really enjoyed this class this semester, and my outlook on the world has changed dramatically. I now recycle and have a passion for the environment and ocean!
MNS 307: Introduction to Oceanography
I wanted to take a moment to thank you for teaching my oceanography class. The experience was everything I was hoping for and so much more. I really appreciated you, especially, because you were able to let me focus more on learning the material and less on trying to make the grade. Thank you for your earnest interest in the progress of students, and openness to suggestions. It is not easy to find great professors like you in college. I always thought I was going to be a college professor when I came to UT… It’s not often that I met professors with an earnest interest in students, and I respect you so much for that. I mark you as the kind of professor that I wish there were more of in college … I appreciate all you have done and hope to stay in touch with you.
Wonderful class. I actually learned a lot more than I thought I would!
The instructor was great! He was really nice and I felt comfortable going to him for help. I would recommend this class to everyone.
I loved this course and it helped me select a major. The instructor was well organized and offered a lot of personal experience.
Professor Min’s passion for this course was delightful to see. I enjoyed learning his lectures because of his interest in oceanography.
Had a lot of personal experiences that the instructor incorporated into lectures making them interesting and fun.
I’ve never had a professor so genuinely passionate about his course. It made it more interesting.
Professor Min’s enthusiasm & love for what he teaches is truly impressive. His passion for oceanography is infectious. He is the only professor I’ve had to date who loves what he does so much.
MNS191: Science Ethics (graduate seminar course – 2006)
The idea behind the course was excellent. Something based off this should replace the TA course which we are forced to undergo in Austin. Any negative comments about this course should be considered with the realization that this was an entirely new concept. While other professors teaching these seminar courses centered on doing journal reviews or having students give presentations, Dr. Min came up with a good idea and attempted to implement it despite the work required. As stated above, I feel that with suitable development of the curriculum and assignments, Dr. Min has come up with a course which should receive support from all of the faculty and should be included in the UTMSI “core” course work. Dr. Min, this was the first “group” discussions I have been involved in during my graduate and undergraduate careers. I hope you do decide to develop this further. I think it is needed.
This class provided a good occasion for graduate students to discuss many of the aspects of science not covered in other courses, but equally relevant. The relaxed atmosphere of this seminar encourage all students to share their opinions and contribute. Although many of our weekly meetings were dominated by one or two voices, most of the time we did not get off track. The summaries/reviews required each week were useful assignments, but some initial feedback would have been handy … I really enjoyed this class and found many of the topics sparked the curiosity of faculty/students not attending the class, which is a good indication that it is interesting and important even outside the context of seminar. Dr. Min managed discussions well and provided just enough guidance with presentation materials to know which direction to take. He encouraged more in-depth questions while “hosting” a welcoming forum for opinions (whether in agreement or not). He appears genuinely interested in the class and students.
(Lab Studies of Marine Ecology, Marine Environmental Science, Coastal Environmental Science in Texas Bays)
Thank you for all of your advice and encouragement you have given me the past few years! Of all my teachers, you have made the greatest effort to follow up with your students. I also really enjoyed Marine ecology lab. I’ve taken trips to Port Aransas many times, but I learned the most interesting material from yours.
Hello Dr. Min! Thank you for everything… You have given me such a great appreciation for oceanography and marine conservation. You were by far my friendliest professor; it is unfortunate that more professors are not like you.
Dr. Min is a wonderful professor: very organized & thorough. I learned a lot from this course.
Thoroughly enjoyed this course! Dr. Min carefully and patiently answered questions and provided excellent information for the accompanying marine ecology course.
This class to-date has been the most exciting and engaging class I’ve taken. Loved it. Thank you for a wonderful experience.
Great and interesting class! Dong-Ha was an excellent professor and I wish I was able to take more of his courses. Very open and encouraging professor!
This was an amazing experience to see and better understand marine ecology firsthand along with a lecture course. Thank you. I truly learned so much from this class that can be applied to other environments.
“Wild life refuge was a great idea. We love the ‘Min Man'”, “Dr. Min is the best teacher ever! He put so much effort and genuine care into the class and students”, “He actually cares about his students! Amazing professor. Hope to have him again”
Dong-Ha was great and very friendly! I was not afraid to ask questions or inquire more into the information. This is one of my most organized labs I have taken.
Dong-Ha was very outgoing and enthusiastic about the course. He would provide extra info that was interesting and relevant.