Interview with Professor Touikan

Dr. Nicholas Touikan is a Calculus professor at Stevens. He has taught Calculus at Stevens for three years, and is constantly revising his curriculum to promote deep learning, which he describes as, “understanding … material well enough so that you know what you’re doing, and how to apply it later.”

His advice centers around each student pacing their own college career in order to measure their own time management skills. “It’s completely ridiculous, the amount of stuff that’s being thrown at students right when they get into Stevens,” he says. Professor Touikan suggests that incoming students explore the overwhelming amount of unfamiliar homework and learning programs that might seem foreign. After mastering these programs and learning the about the resources available, new Ducks will be better prepared to tackle the rest of the semester academically, and through extra-curricular activities.

To students who follows the aforementioned advice, yet still find themselves falling behind, Dr. Touikan says, “Pace yourself. It’s okay to drop classes if you’re getting overwhelmed.” He assures new students, “It’s okay to go into the 120 Calculus class if you didn’t take calculus in high school. Some of the best academic choices I’ve made have been dropping classes or lightening my course load.”

The advice Dr. Touikan is based off of his own experiences. Although he entered university aiming to achieve two degrees, in physics and mathematics, he soon realized that he had to change his goals in order to better enjoy his college experience. Eventually, he found his way to Pure Math, which he enjoyed greatly, and Group Theory, which he researches today. When talking about his path to graduate school, he said, “I got there by being smart about not taking too many classes… and getting experience by reaching out to my professor.”

Professor Touikan believes very strongly in conversation between students and professors. He feels that Stevens students should be less shy with their instructors. On a final note, he challenged Stevens Students, saying, “[Stevens students] don’t confront me enough. I’d like to have more of that. Don’t be afraid to be provocative.”