Computer Science is pleased to welcome Lecturer Richert Wang to UC Santa Barbara. Below is our first interview with Richert.
Q: Could you tell us a bit about where you came from?
I grew up in the suburbs of Los Angeles, CA (Pomona). I moved to Orange County when starting college and lived there most of my life, residing temporarily in Paris, France and Mountain View, CA during graduate school.
Q: What are the courses that you are going to teach in Fall and the upcoming quarters?
I will be co-teaching CMPTGCS 1A with Phill Conrad this Fall. In Winter 2018, I will be teaching CMPSC 8. In Spring 2018, I will teach CMPSC 32 and one class in CCS that is still TBD.
Q: What inspires you to teach? What is your teaching philosophy?
Teaching is really fun for me! I have rare job where I end my day happier than when I started it! I love helping students learn about computer science, watch them apply their knowledge, and see them progress in their professional careers. I feel like my work has a large impact on the future generations of computer scientists.
My main goal as a lecturer is to convey the underlying theory and concepts of the topics I teach. Regardless if students want to work in industry or academia, the skills acquired at a university are the set of tools that enable students to accomplish great things. In the real world, nobody is going to say “your job is to do what you did in class assignment X.” Computer scientists are normally faced with challenging problems without standard solutions. The fundamental skills acquired through class instruction enable students to make the best decisions when solving problems. Overtime, this set of tools will expand with experience. In my classes, I try to emphasize conceptual understanding and explain the relevance of why certain skills are important and when someone may consider using them.
Q: Why UCSB? What's your first impression about this campus and the department?
In my opinion, UCSB is one of the most beautiful campuses I’ve seen. I don’t mind bragging to my friends about how close my office is to the shore! I noticed UCSB’s computer science department isn’t as large as some other computer science departments. However, I am extremely impressed with the quality of our faculty at UCSB, and feel like I can learn a lot and improve my teaching by working with them.
I am also impressed with UCSB’s focus on undergraduate education. The collaboration between computer science and CCS’ Computing program is a really attractive and unique opportunity for not only me as an educator, but for the students as well. I feel like UCSB allows me to have a profound impact with the students I will work with. UCSB also provides a lot of flexibility to pursue projects I’m interested in, including computer game science.
Q: What do you do in your spare time (if any)?
Whenever I do have moments of spare time, I spend it on various things. Mainly, I like to spend time with friends, read the news, and play with my little dog. I like to play video games whenever I have a few moments to do so. I also like playing tennis and watching basketball and hockey games. I play the trumpet as well, but am not as active with that as I used to be.
Q: Do you like Santa Barbara so far? How is it different than your life in Irvine?
So far Santa Barbara has been great! I really like downtown Santa Barbara and have already tried several good restaurants here. I’m still learning all the stores and roads in the area, and am learning what times are best to beat rush hour traffic, which isn’t as bad as Los Angeles / Orange County traffic. I do like the climate here a lot better than Irvine, and Irvine’s weather isn’t horrible. There are lots of things I haven’t been able to explore yet, but I’m really looking forward to it!