Course Expectations  
  Course Expecations
  ATS 652
  ATS 656
  ATS 675
  ATS 740

At 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 Meteorology"), ATS675 "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
Assistant Professor
Atmospheric Science Department, UAH
March 24, 2008

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