Joined USJ: 2015
After earning his doctorate at the University of San Francisco, Rajeev Virmani, Ed.D., searched for a higher education position that truly resonated with him. Though the University of Saint Joseph required a cross-country move, its focus on Mercy values and dedication to its core beliefs made him feel at home. Further impressed by the University’s faculty, the former middle and high school math teacher – who began his career teaching mathematics at an all-girls’ Catholic high school – made the transition to the women’s college. “It feels like things have come full circle,” Virmani said.
With a passion for the field of mathematics and the dedicated individuals who teach the subject, Virmani is committed to supporting elementary and secondary preservice teachers as they learn core teaching practices. “My research interests include examining the pedagogies for preparing pre-service teachers, facilitation practices in high quality professional development, and preparing teachers to use technology in classrooms,” Virmani explained. For his students, this means restructuring the way they learn in his classes. Virmani uses methods of practice-based teacher education to help his students engage in the complexities of teaching mathematics. This places individual students in front of the class as teachers, rehearsing instructional activities for their students – played by their fellow pre-service teachers – and Virmani, who adopts the roles of coach and student. By creating this environment, Virmani helps students focus on and develop the relational aspects of teaching and the core teaching practices upon which their careers are built.
Virmani’s dedication to preparing teachers extends beyond his USJ classes. Recognizing the unique needs of schools throughout Connecticut, he strives to shrink the vast achievement gaps present between towns. By forming relationships within the community, Virmani supports in-service teachers through innovative approaches. “The way to go about it is learning the needs of the community, the needs of the teachers, and the needs of the students in order to see how we can best support them,” Virmani said. Looking ahead, Virmani hopes to hold university classes in Connecticut schools so students can experience the unique contexts they will encounter in their careers. Through the integration of a variety of innovative teaching methods, Virmani prepares students to meet the needs of their future communities, ultimately improving education environments for students throughout Connecticut.
Ed.D., University of San Francisco
M.Ed., University of California, Davis