Showcase Interview

Nelu talks about discovery-based learning.

Petre (Nelu) Ghenciu

Faculty Profile
Email Address

Teaching Strategy Video(s)
The Discovery Method: Student Demonstrations and Learning
The Discovery Method: Taking Pride in Student Developed Theories

Nelu Ghenciu has been in the Mathematics, Statistics and Computer Science department since 2004. He teaches a mix of classes—some for majors, some for non-majors, and both lower and upper division students. These classes include Finite Math, Calculus, Linear Algebra, and Real Analysis. He has also taught Math 11 in the Math TLC lab, a program he helped establish. Linear Algebra is his favorite class. He said, “For many, it is the first time they work on proofs, and it helps to make people precise and logical.”

Nelu is a big proponent of discovery-based learning, or inquiry-based learning. He describes it this way: “I have the students explain the problems to someone else, first to each other in their small groups, and then to the class, presenting their explanation to everyone. It is much easier to do this in smaller classes.”

He believes Math is like a foreign language, with new terms and processes. He tries to break up the class hour, and make many parts interactive in order to keep students engaged. “Even if I teach the same class two hours in a row, I never teach the same way—I try to adapt to the group,” he noted. He is also always available in his office or on-line.

Nelu believes that these strategies positively affect his students’ learning. He pointed out that he always receives excellent evaluations of his teaching. He doesn’t, however, sit back and relax—he is always refining and revising the teaching process.