Teaching Evaluations

what my students have to say

During my years at Auburn University, UNC Charlotte, and South Alabama, I’ve had the opportunity to work with hundreds of students as the instructor of dozens of mathematics courses. I think that I’ve done well overall, and this is reflected by the evaluations they’ve left me. I’ve included excerpts from each semester I’ve taught since Fall 2012 below.

Full Evaluations

Full evaluations for all of my courses taught since 2016 are available as a part of my CV repository at this link:


Spring 2016

In my second (and final) semester at UNC Charlotte, I was able to take another stab at teaching Calculus IV. I also taught a section of Advanced Calculus of Several Variables (undergrad multivariable analysis). Needless to say, it was a very enjoyable semester, with several very talented students.

Here are some selected qualitative comments. Full quantitative and qualitative data on this semester (and all future semesters) is available at the link at the top of the page under Full Evaluations.

Calculus IV

In particular, I appreciated the methods used to grade quizzes. The method allowed for short quizzes while also preventing a single poor score from ruining the overall grade.

I visited my instructor’s office on multiple occasions, and he was always willing to answer and questions I had as well as take the time to address my concerns about the textbook.

Dr. Clontz was very open to student input and he had a warm personality so that you felt you could always go talk to him. His office hours were frequently filled by students in my class asking for help on the homework.

In four semesters at UNCC, I have never experienced a professor who provided adequate time for quizzes until this class. I have always been rushed, hindering my grade. However, in this course I felt I was given the time required to complete the work assigned.

I thoroughly enjoyed this course and would recommend my instructor as one of the best at UNCC. My only complaint lies in the textbook selected. It was confusing and often displayed incorrect answers.

Advanced Calculus of Several Variables

Dr. Clontz was always quick to update us on grades, presentations, and the like. His grading is fair and transparent, and he would even send reminder emails about upcoming due dates.

Dr. Clontz has a wonderful “open door” policy in regards to office hours. He never makes the student feel incompetent and will make sure either after class or during office hours to clarify any points that are still unclear. Very attentive to the needs of his students.

Overall, this has been an interesting experience. I’m glad Dr. Clontz made us type our notes in LaTeX. This semester has given me a lot of practical experience in developing a workflow and writing up proofs. Our current textbook is good companion for this type of guided-notes system.

I really liked how he used pictures to describe what we were trying to prove. It helped me understand things better.

Dr. Clontz is a teacher that reflects a new brand of teaching that relies on current technology that’s available for teaching. Unlike the previous generation of instructors, Dr. Clontz makes students learn and at the same time present this knowledge with the other students in class to re-enforce the material that they learned. Furthermore, students are required to write-up their own notes using LaTeX, to ensure that the student understands what they are writing down, instead of blindly copying from the blackboard as in the majority of classes. Along with learning multi-variable real analysis, we also learned how to use LaTeX in this class. Dr. Clontz is a naturally-gifted teacher.

Fall 2015

This was my first semester as a professor at UNC Charlotte. I used a traditional lecture style approach in two sections of a Calculus for Engineering Technology introductory course for future technicians, and a Calculus IV course covering applications of vector calculus for math majors.

Calc. for Eng. Tech

  • Overall, I learned a lot in this course. 4.00/5.00 and 4.00/5.00
  • Overall, this instructor was effective. 4.38/5.00 and 4.10/5.00
  • My instructor was prepared for class. 4.54/5.00 and 4.60/5.00
  • My instructor’s teaching strategies helped me to understand course content. 4.31/5.00 and 4.00/5.00
  • My instructor effectively challenged my thinking about the subject matter. 4.31/5.00 and 4.30/5.00
  • My instructor provided timely feedback on class performance and course assignments. 4.77/5.00 and 4.20/5.00
  • My instructor provided useful feedback on class performance and course assignments. 4.77/5.00 and 4.00/5.00
  • My instructor used grading methods that were fair. 4.77/5.00 and 3.90/5.00
  • My instructor treated all of the students in the class with respect. 4.92/5.00 and 4.80/5.00
  • My instructor was readily available for consultation (e.g. during office hours, by email, or otherwise). 4.92/5.00 and 4.60/5.00
  • Overall, I would rate this course: 4.31/5.00 and 3.90/5.00
  • Overall, I would rate this instructor as: 4.46/5.00 and 4.40/5.00

Selected qualitative comments from both sections:

He does great and studies his material before class

He wanted to make sure everyone passed.

One of the best professors I have ever had. I have learned so much from this class and enjoyed it a lot. I wish I have teachers like Mr. Clontz in every class.

Proving notes to the students could be a little clearer and organized but other than that he was a good teacher.

you did great

Calculus IV

  • Overall, I learned a lot in this course. 4.00/5.00
  • Overall, this instructor was effective. 3.86/5.00
  • My instructor was prepared for class. 4.21/5.00
  • My instructor’s teaching strategies helped me to understand course content. 3.86/5.00
  • My instructor effectively challenged my thinking about the subject matter. 4.00/5.00
  • My instructor provided timely feedback on class performance and course assignments. 4.50/5.00
  • My instructor provided useful feedback on class performance and course assignments. 4.50/5.00
  • My instructor used grading methods that were fair. 4.43/5.00
  • My instructor treated all of the students in the class with respect. 4.86/5.00
  • My instructor was readily available for consultation (e.g. during office hours, by email, or otherwise). 4.79/5.00
  • Overall, I would rate this course: 4.14/5.00
  • Overall, I would rate this instructor as: 4.14/5.00

Selected qualitative comments:

The instruction was quite good on the whole. I thought the professor did an excellent job of only concerning himself with the most important concepts. There was added value in coming to lecture when compared to just learning the concepts through self study, something I’ve found increasingly rare in my time here at Charlotte. The only thing that I found difficult was that the professor made quite a few ‘math errors’ so to speak. Dropping negatives, incorrect bounds, etc. These small details are just that - small - but can make it a little more difficult as a learner being exposed to them for the first time. Still, Dr. Clontz was excellent compared to most.

I appreciated that he took time at the beginning of each lecture to answer homework questions. That was very beneficial, and he seemed very receptive when questions were asked in class. Sometimes he would ask questions in the homework that he didn’t know how to answer, though, which struck me as a little strange. (Ed. note: didn’t know how to answer immediately, of course, but for a class of math majors I thought it better to show the process of how to figure out a problem without having a memorized solution.)

Very straightforward and candid about how grading works.

Spring 2015

During this semester (my last at Auburn University), I stepped out of my comfort zone by changing from a lecture-style course to an active learning classroom. Rather than lecturing, most days the class worked in small groups (5 to 6 students) on worksheets I had previously prepared. I was able to use this time to work on students’ specific questions within their groups, rather than attempting to lecture to a class of students at different competency levels.

Overall the skills my students showed on their final exam were no worse than previous semesters; however, there are still many places I will improve on next semester. Student response to the experience was varied. Some of the complaints may be tied to requirment that students had to use http://overleaf.com to typeset solutions to worksheets rather than the active learning environment itself.

Survey results from two classes: 11/27 and 12/27 responded from each.

  • The Instructor encouraged me to think critically. 5.1/6.0 and 5.3/6.0
  • The grading techniques were fair. 5.0/6.0 and 4.3/6.0
  • The Instructor created a conducive atmosphere for learning. 4.9/6.0 and 4.7/6.0
  • The Instructor explained course material clearly. 4.3/6.0 and 3.9/6.0
  • The Instructor enhanced my interest in the subject. 4.3/6.0 and 4.2/6.0
  • The Instructor was available and approachable outside of class. 5.5/6.0 and 5.5/6.0
  • The Instructor provided timely feedback on graded material. 5.5/6.0 and 5.3/6.0
  • The Instructor’s overall teaching effectiveness was… 4.4/6.0 and 4.3/6.0
  • Overall, my learning in the class was… 4.5/6.0 and 4.4/6.0

Written comments follow. It’s interesting that many aspects of the course were viewed positively by some and negatively by others.

I enjoyed the structure of the class.

The style that the class was taught in (group learning), I found to be harder than if taught traditionally. I eventually degraded to having to learn from the book to do the problems. Then, after me learning from the book, I had to teach other people that couldn’t learn it either.

Very poor teaching style. Instructor would give us a packet online for us to work on in groups and would never lecture on the material. However he was very helpful if you went to see him during his office hours but I was not always able to make them. I think this is a very poor teaching method to send students off on their own when learning new material that is completely foreign to the whole class. I felt as if I was taking an online class and learned everything from the internet. This is one of the worst teaching methods I have ever experienced.

Much better than the CAL 3 class I took last year

Mr. Clontz did the reversed classroom. This worked well in some ways and poorly in others. Essentially, I did not learn nearly as well as I did from a normal classroom. My method for learning was watching Khan Academy videos and reading online just to be able to decently answer the questions on his “packets.” From this point, I just used the packets to finish learning the materials. He would answer questions in class but I feel like this was just scratching the surface of the material. Mr. Clontz was a great guy and I thoroughly enjoyed him as a person, however I just didn’t fully enjoy his teaching style. Also, he grading scale was “interesting.” It was very beneficial for students doing poorly in the class but it was not very beneficial for the students doing great in his class. From his scale, a student could score perfectly on everything before the final and still have to make an 80% on the final to make an A in the class. Of course, a student who made a 100 on everything before would not have too much of a problem with the material. However, if I were a student who had made 100s on everything before I would probably be wanting to have more “wiggle room” on the final to make an A. This would allow me to spend my time studying for my other finals whereas now I would still have to study for this one a substantial amount.

Nothing wrong with having a more student led class, but overleaf can be very annoying and time consuming. Apart from overleaf, the class was fine.

Group work did not go well because several individuals never did their part/contributed. The final should not be worth more than 35% of your grade. The lectures were hard to follow and were not significantly helpful for the questions in the packet. The different learning style is a great idea, but its execution was not good. Mr. Clontz did the best he could to make it reasonable and fair, but it did not always work well. You can tell he really loves mathematics.

I wish that you used the standard lecture model class, and the final should not be the entire grade. Very stressful.

This was an interesting style of class. I think that if it is implemented more frequently, it could really help future students understand and retain the material.

I like the way this class was graded up to an extent. I don’t think that it’s entirely fair that someone can still get a good grade for teamwork on the homework packets when they barely showed up to class to help work on the packet.

I truly did enjoy that students had to truly teach themselves the material and apply it in order to solve problems in this class. However, I felt that the majority of the time I spent in class was trying to understand what the question was asking and the material needed to solve the problem, as there was little to no lecture on subject. I did not like the use of computer coding in the class. It was very time consuming and difficult to work with, as one error in the code would cause others in the group to not be able to enter in work. I also did not like the use of groups to work on these online packets. While I agree that working in teams is an extremely useful tool to have, when there is not a strict attendance policy, it does not work. The majority of the time, half of my group did not come to class, leaving the other half to do the majority of the work for the online packet and causing a high level of stress. In addition, I did not think it was fair that to receive an A for the class someone who consistently came to class needed an 84% on the final while someone who rarely come needed an 85%. That is absolutely ridiculous. Mr. Clontz, however, is a wonderful teacher and man that cares a great deal about the material being taught and about the learning of his students. He always was available for help if needed and answered questions quickly and efficiently. I would’ve liked to see example problems resembling problems in the packet done more often, as I believe that would’ve helped out the class much more.

The instructor’s teaching effectiveness was, I would say non existent. He tried to implement this new technique of learn it all on our own, it did not work very well. I feel as though he was more worried about constructing his thesis than teaching us in class, which he decided to allow us to teach ourselves through this “packet” system which he created. It was not a bad idea, but I think it wasted more of our time and his. If he would have taught the class like a normal instructor or the way he did it previously, I would have learned so much better and could walk away from the class with a greater knowledge in cal 3. I like him as a person and have heard great things about his teaching, but this semester in cal 3 his teaching methods were far below what i expected.

Great grading system. Great guy. Great class.

Fall 2014

Compiled results from 23 of 52 students in a Calculus II course:

  • The Instructor encouraged me to think critically. 5.8/6.0
  • The grading techniques were fair. 5.9/6.0
  • The Instructor created a conducive atmosphere for learning. 5.8/6.0
  • The Instructor explained course material clearly. 5.8/6.0
  • The Instructor enhanced my interest in the subject. 5.3/6.0
  • The Instructor was available and approachable outside of class. 5.7/6.0
  • The Instructor provided timely feedback on graded material. 5.3/6.0
  • The Instructor’s overall teaching effectiveness was… 5.7/6.0
  • Overall, my learning in the class was… 5.5/6.0

Written comments:

Mr. Clontz has done an incredible job not only teaching his students the course material but also providing us with problems that challenge us to apply what we learn in class and take such abilities/concepts to the next level. This semester, I found that I was challenged in new ways that required critical thinking and employment of skills learned in class, and Mr. Clontz was available whenever the class hit a roadblock. He needs to update canvas in a manner that ensures the canvas grade is a clear reflection of our actual grade though!

Fantastic teacher that had a very cool and unique teaching style that made everything very clear. He did however lack the information on what we can expect for our upcoming final which is somewhat needed and a terrible error by the department.

Calc 2 is definitely a hard course but Mr. Clontz taught it in a way that made it easier to understand. Very glad he was my professor for the semester.

Loved my class with Mr. Clontz! He understood that the material was difficult and spent more time going through most chapters. He also graded very fairly and gave many opportunities to improve you grade. Would take him again!

Clontz is incredible. Should be a model for the math department. Best math teacher I have had at auburn so far. Keep doing you man

Great enthusiastic teacher

Best Calculus 2 teacher as far as I’m concerned. He taught the material in a way where it was easy to obtain and I was comfortable going home and practicing on my own. He engaged the class and allowed us to teach certain practice problems to one another, for better understanding. His lessons were brief and to the point, rather than long and drawn out. He gives the student numerous opportunities to succeed and obtain at least a B.

I am not a math person but Mr. Clontz did an excellent job of both explaining the material and demonstrating different ways of solving problems. I would highly recommend someone to take his class if they could.

Mr. Clontz is awesome. Many STEM professors have a reputation for being hard to talk with and approach, but he is not so. He’s nice to everyone and always willing to pause if we have questions about a problem. I can tell he really wants us to do well in Calculus and in life. One potential area for improvement may be going more slowly when he’s writing on the chalkboard. I have a hard time keeping up when he’s teaching new material.

I really liked the way he structured his course. The packets that you follow along with, the assigned problems that we present in class, and the weekly quizzes on Mondays was an effective way of teaching for me. Many people might not like the forced involvement but it really helps with engaging you with the work. You want to be able to explain the problem to the class, which helps further your own understanding.

Spring 2014

No evaluations are availble for this semester as I took a sabbatical from teaching to work as a software developer for Auburn’s Office of Univeristy Writing.

Fall 2013

Steven was the best calculus teacher I have had at Auburn. He explained the material very well, breaking it down piece by piece to help everyone understand. He was always willing to help and made class interesting.

Greatest learning experience I’ve ever had.

Fantastic teacher. Easily best math teacher I’ve had in college. I like how it’s a straightforward class with no tricks. The way the material is given and tested on is great. Only thing is maybe show how what we learn is applicable for us especially for engineers, but it’s not that big of a deal.

Best math teacher I’ve had at Auburn. Seems like he’s having fun teaching and really enjoys his job here at Auburn. He isn’t as mundane as the rest of the math department’s professors and teachers. Overall, a funny nice guy with a great attitude and a love for what he’s doing. Could definitely use some people like him in the physics department!

His policy on quizzes was a great way to encourage people to do the homework.

You did a great job this semester Steven. Your presentation of the material was clear and you made your expectations in terms of grading both clear and simple. The end of the course maaaybe felt a little rushed. […] Teach linear algebra next year. I’d appreciate having a teacher like you next semester.

Great teacher. Very approachable and definitely cares about his students. He explains the subject very clearly and effectively.

Great teacher. One of the best I’ve had at auburn! A++++

Liked the Quiz system and how it combined homework.

This class is the first class ive taken in auburn’s math department where the teacher cared about teaching the class. He was so helpful and he honestly wanted us to do well, he gave us material to study and help us and put extra problems on canvas to work that would help with the tests, the resources he provided us with were so helpful. He explained everything well conceptually and didn’t make the math harder than necessary. overall, Mr. Clontz is the bomb dot com, and he wore a tie to class EVERY DAY, which is very impressive. he was very accommodating for excused absences and class was fun. I also learned cal 3

Steven was not only the best Calculus teacher I have had at Auburn, but also one of my best teachers period. His grading techniques were fair, and he did everything possible to make sure that we understood the material being taught. I would absolutely take him again for any future math classes and it was a privilege to have him as a teacher. Steven, don’t change any aspect of how you teach, it was done perfectly. Excellent job.

Summer 2013

By far the best teacher I have ever had!

Overall the class was fairly straight forward. Clontz did not like us using calculators, so he made his own problems that didn’t require calculators. Normally these ended up being much easier than what was in the book though.

He is by far my favorite teacher ever!!

I really like the way you engaged us in the material, despite how quiet the class usually was. I thought you did a great job this summer.

Spring 2013

Great teacher. One of those teachers that you just can’t help but like. Very good with explanations, examples, meeting outside of class. Truly there for the students.

Keep up the great work! War Eagle!

Best math teacher I have ever had.

Mr. Clontz has easily been one of the best instructors I have had in Auburn in every aspect. He makes Calculus about as enjoyable as one could make it. His teaching techniques really helped me to learn the material that much easier. He provides plenty of examples and he leaves no room for doubt for how he makes his test. He creates a study guide that even lists how he gives partial credit so that way there is no room for error. Outside of class he was very easy to approach which was nice for me since I have never been one to visit teachers outside of class but he encourages you to and was very flexible. Mr. Clontz is definitely someone I would recommend to future students.

Really good communication with class. Excellent resources provided online.

Fall 2012

Mr. Clontz did an excellent job teaching this course. His techniques were consistent as far as what we were to expect from him. He was frank with us about grading and made the class schedule very clear to the class. His relaxed methods concerning attendance made it an environment open to learning without the distraction of formalities. He left it up to the student to learn the material. I will say this, while I loved having a study guide for the upcoming test, I must admit I don’t think I did one outside problem. That being said, I did pretty well on the tests and feel as though his teaching style enabled me to understand the material without having to do any outside problems. He wasn’t teaching work ethic, he was teaching Calculus. And while i believe that work ethic is important, his relaxed style and class enabled me to get a core credit without killing myself and i really appreciated that. Things to improve on: Try integrating 3-d visualization software into particular problems. I could get a pretty good idea of the 3-d objects he was drawing on the board (he did do a pretty good job drawing that stuff) but if he used something like Maple, i feel like it could really benefit those not as visually inclined. Dr. Peterson knows her stuff about that so i would ask her where to start. maybe more structure? i didn’t need the structure, but some of these kids who have been spoon fed their entire lives need a boot-in-the-ass to do well. i personally don’t think he HAS to put in more structure, but if there is a gross failing rate or anything, that might help. structure meaning bonus attendance (like x number of points if you show up to 70% or more classes) or some real hw or something. or just let the kids fail out and give me an easier future. That’s pretty much it. Steven Clontz did an overall pretty good job, was open, fair, and wanted the students to succeed. its their fault if they didn’t. Personal note to Mr. Clontz: Thank you so much for instructing this class and may God bless your future endeavors. (if you believe in God, its kinda a hit or miss with these math and science folk.) WDE

It’s hard to fit 15 weeks of math into 10 weeks, but this was not a problem for this class. I would have liked to see more problems worked, though.

Mr. clontz is a great teacher. he explains the material very well. his only issue to me is his grading strategy. he is very strict on minor mistakes and counts off dealy. in all other aspects he is a great teacher though

Great teacher. Better than my professor in Cal II. A little slow on grading tests but understandable. Grades are very fair. Can fight for a grade and if he agrees he will award you a few points. Very quirky, but very funny teacher. Overall: Enjoyed thoroughly

Steven was an awesome teacher! The class notes were really helpful with learning in class, because they provided a bit of an outline of what was going to be covered that day. No complaints.

The study guides were a little too gentle. Sometimes they were carbon copies of the tests. I think making the course a little more challenging would be better, but overall I liked the teaching.