My Pedagogy

First and foremost, as an educator my primary role is to support students' well-being. This includes but is not limited to physical, mental, and emotional health. I am here to help develop students into outstanding individuals. From the academic side, this includes the instruction of key concepts related to the computer science curriculum. From the advisement side, this includes providing support for students to achieve success.

Teaching Methods: I will challenge students to do the absolute best work they are able to do, even if they may not have the confidence in their own abilities. I am a proponent of providing captivating lectures through consistent interaction with students and building up lectures as miniature case studies. This methodology molds well to the computer science curriculum since problem solving is a core component of the foundations of computer science.

Practical Skills: In addition to the required course materials covered, I will also cover other practical industry skills. Knowing the theory of computer science is important, but knowing how to leverage that knowledge in industry, academia, or a business setting is also just as crucial. Through the incorporation of real-life application to my lectures, it is my goal that students feel more empowered and ready for any post-graduate position they may pursue.

Self-Determinism: I believe that everyone is capable of achieving greatness. Some concepts will be harder to grasp than others, but I will do my best to engage your mind. I also believe in self-mastery. Self-mastery does not mean that you will be an expert at everything you do. Instead, self-mastery focuses on understanding yourself, specifically your thought process, learning process, and how you react to external events. You should know your strengths and your weaknesses --- embrace your strengths and improve upon your weaknesses. Everyone learns in different ways. Even if you may not enjoy the material covered in my lectures, I will do my best to help expand and explore your self-awareness.

Work-Life Balance: I know the majority of students are commuting and work part time jobs. When I was a student (here, at Millersville), I also fit into this category. I understand that you wear many hats in your day-to-day life, but I also expect that you will be able to establish a good school-work-life balance. This can be a bit tricky in the beginnings of your college career, but I believe in you! If you want any examples of what to do (and not to do) I can speak from my own experiences --- in no way was I an ideal student.

A note to non-majors required to enroll in computer science courses: It may not appear obvious why a computer science course (like CSCI161) is required. My expected outcome for you is for you to become a better problem solver. Computer Science can fundamentally be described as a set of methods used to solve complex problems. The domains of these problems can usually be defined as "something that can be done faster with a computer than by hand". Due to the increased presence of technology in our day-to-day lives, we find our dependence upon computing systems to be more involved. Other disciplines are beginning to integrate some components of computer science into their workflows, both in academia and industry. To prepare you for the future, it is in your best interest to at least understand basic foundations of computer science.

Student Well-Being

If my office door is open, you are welcome to come in and talk to me. If you face personal struggles that affect your academic performance in my class(es), you are welcome to inform me --- our discussion will be confidential. If you just want to stop by to say hello or have a casual conversation about coffee, programming languages, puzzles, or programming challenges, that's fine too!

Safe Zone: My office is a designated Safe Zone for any lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer/questioning, intersex, or allies/androgynous/asexual (LGBTQIA) individuals (students or employees). This basically means that my office is a refuge for anyone who feels intimidated, discriminated against, or made to feel uncomfortable because of their sexual orientation, gender identity, or gender expression, whether real or perceived. [1]

Blaise Liffick's Office is also a Safe Zone

Communication with Students


I will respond to emails within 24 hours unless an exception is noted through email, D2L, or in class. Please note that this means if you email me the night before an exam or assignment submission, I am not guaranteed to respond. Start labs when they are assigned.


I will frequently post announcements and new/additional material on D2L and the course website. Read over it by the date indicated on the announcement. Under inclement weather, due dates may be pushed back or changed at my discretion, so please pay attention to all announcements.

D2L (Desire2Learn)

I will primarily use D2L as the information portal for my classes, though I will most likely cross-list assignments, lectures, and notes on my webpage. The gradebook will also be leveraged on D2L.


I highly encourage the use of Piazza to ask any questions that you may have about the course assignments or content. This allows both fellow students and me the opportunity to share common knowledge with all other students. Please refrain from asking specific questions regarding a specific solution to an assignment. Instead, create another example if you can. Naturally, clarification questions are encouraged. Check Piazza for an answer before contacting me. Office Hours: I hold office hours for your benefit. Please do not hesitate to show up to office hours! If you find that my office hours do not fit your schedule, let me know so we can arrange for a time that does work.


Attendance of the lecture is mandatory. I encourage everyone to make an active attempt toward participating. There are times where many examples throughout the lecture are better suited to be done with pen and paper. Please refrain from using your computer for any other reason than note-taking for the class. I also do not expect to see any mobile phones in use during class. I will ask you to leave my class if I observe misuse of technology.


Attendance of any laboratory component is also mandatory. Assignments will be given and will most likely take more time to complete than the lab period. You are permitted to leave the lab period if and only if you have completed the assignment.


Labs will have a grading turnaround time of one (1) week from the due date. Lab grades can only be contested for up to one week from when the grade is posted on Desire2Learn. Three grace days will be provided throughout the semester without penalty. Otherwise, no late submissions will be permitted.

Exams will be graded by the next class (e.g. Tuesday-Thursday class with a test on Thursday will have the tests returned the immediately following Tuesday. Monday-Wednesday-Friday class with a test on Friday will have the tests returned the immediately following Monday). You do not get to keep your exams. Failure to return an exam will result in an updated grade of zero (0). I will hand them out in class and go over any answers, but I will collect them at the end of the class period.

Concise List of Student Expectations

Academic Honesty

Copying or extensive collaboration on assignments is not permitted and may result in failure of the course and expulsion from the University. You may discuss approaches to solving a problem, as long as the discussion remains above the level of detail expected for the course. You may also seek aid in resolving compiler messages. However, if you copy a code fragment verbatim, you are likely committing academic dishonesty. If you copy a code fragment and rename variables, you are likely committing academic dishonesty. Obtaining a solution on the Internet or elsewhere and submitting it as your own work is plagiarism and will result in severe disciplinary measures. Be sure you can explain every line of every program you submit. Writing code is no different than writing a paper --- if it was not your original idea, then you should not submit it as your own work.

Title IX Reporting – Millersville University

Millersville University and its faculty are committed to assuring a safe and productive educational environment for all students. In order to meet this commitment, comply with Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, 20 U.S.C. §1681, et seq., and act in accordance with guidance from the Office for Civil Rights, the University requires faculty members to report to the University’s Title IX Coordinator incidents of sexual violence shared by students. The only exceptions to the faculty member’s reporting obligation are when incidents of sexual violence are communicated by a student during a classroom discussion, in a writing assignment for a class, or as part of a University-approved research project. Faculty members are obligated to report to the person designated in the University Protection of Minors policy incidents of sexual violence or any other abuse of a student who was, or is, a child (a person under 18 years of age) when the abuse allegedly occurred.
Information regarding the reporting of sexual violence, and the resources that are available to victims of sexual violence, is available at

Counseling Resources

Students sometimes face mental health or drug/alcohol challenges in their academic careers that interfere with their academic performance and goals. Millersville University is a caring community and resources are available to assist students who are dealing with problems. The Counseling Center (717-871-7821) is an important resource for both mental health and substance abuse issues. Additional resources include: Health Services (871-5250), Center for Health Education & Promotion (871- 4141), Campus Ministries, and Learning Services (717-871-5554).

[1] Adopted from Blaise Liffick

Note: much of this text has been adopted from Stephanie Schwartz