the University of Alabama in Huntsville (UAH), Atmospheric Science Department
(ATS), I have and will be developing curriculum for the following Graduate level
courses: ATS652 "Advanced Synoptic Meteorology", ATS565 "Tropical
Meteorology and Moist Convective Systems" (listed as "Tropical
"Atmospheric Data Assimilation", and ATS751 (to be developed)
"Advanced Mesoscale Meteorology". Graduate level implies
therefore a sound understanding of the fundamentals, as obtained
from Undergraduate meteorology, physics, mathematics, chemistry
and other related disciplines (e.g., fluid mechanics, hydrology).
It is on these basic concepts that these course's rest, intending
to extend student understanding, in an interdisciplinary manner
where appropriate. Hence, beyond brief reviews, students will be
expected to update themselves on previous course material as necessary.
At the Graduate level, it is in a student's best interest to develop programming
skills in one to several research-grade tools and/or computer languages. It is
my opinion that fluency in a compiled language (Fortran-77/-90, C, C++, etc.)
is a skill that a student greatly benefits from having, one he/she can take away
from UAH and readily apply in the professional (research and non-research) environment.
Learning such a program language (on one's own time if necessary) subsequently
allows a person to more easily understand other languages and analysis methods.
Acceptable analysis packages, in addition to compiled languages, that are used
on my class assignments include Matlab, IDL and Gempak. In graduate school, a
student is in a very unique position in life, to have dedicated time to educate
themselves and extend their abilities. Therefore, not wanting to learn how to
program, etc. is no excuse for a poor classroom performance.
My teaching philosophy is maturing, and although not complete enough
yet to define, it is clear that it will be based on the following
fact: Those courses that were most challenging and inspiring to
me, left the longest impression. That is not to say that these "difficult"
classes were always fun or enjoyable, on the contrary, they were
often the most frustrating times in school. Within these classes,
hand-on research, programming and analysis were heavily emphasized,
and this will likewise be the cornerstone of those course I develop
and teach at UAH.
John R. Mecikalski
Atmospheric Science Department, UAH
March 24, 2008