As an instructor at NYU Abu Dhabi, Karol Tolpa, MSc in Economics, 2022 is determined to give his economics students a more personalized support system than he had as an undergraduate at a large school in the UK. Smaller class sizes at NYUAD provide the perfect opportunity for one-on-one academic care.
“I developed a new method of office hours, which I call office hours by appointment,” Tolpa explains. “Busy students can pick any time between 9am and 9pm to schedule an appointment and tell me what topic they want to go over” rather than struggling to find time during fixed office hours.
Education: MSc Economics at NYU Abu Dhabi
Home Country: Poland
Current: Economics Instructor at NYUAD
Tolpa says his approach of putting student schedules first is proving to be more time efficient, there’s less guesswork for both sides, and it’s “more personalized toward each student.” Being available to help students when they need him is “the most important part of being an instructor,” he says.
A year into his first big career experience and Tolpa has definitely hit his stride. His inbox is always full and hours are long, but the work and connections he forms with students are rewarding. His Master of Economics degree from NYUAD has given him the solid academic foundation he needs to help students grasp complex subjects.
I’m just trying to remember my struggle and adapt my teaching methods. Engaging with students is the most rewarding.
“Some of what I teach today relies heavily on the topics I took in the master’s program and even though it’s been a year, I understand it more now,” he explains. “It takes time for knowledge to sift into you.”
Tolpa also understands more about empathy and patience, two subtle yet important soft skills from graduate school that are making all the difference as an instructor. He enjoys helping others overcome hurdles in their academic journey because not so long ago he was facing the same pressures.
“I’m just trying to remember my struggle and adapt my teaching methods. Engaging with students is the most rewarding.”