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Richard J. Povinelli

Teaching Philosophy

Four core ideas form my teaching philosophy:
excellence, compassion, interaction, and application.


One of the core values of Marquette University is magis, meaning to always strive for more; to strive for excellence. It embodies the ideas of high expectations, integrity, and continuous improvement.

For me, magis means always learning, improving, and searching for new ways to help students learn. It means always considering the ethical and moral dimension of any action.

For my students it means an expectation of success. They will be expected to work hard. They will be expected to hold themselves to the highest ethical standards.

It also means that I will strive to give my students the tools that they need to succeed including the support necessary to meet these high standards.


Another core Marquette value is cura personalis or care for the whole person; the embodiment of compassion. This concept balances the striving for excellence by remembering that a student is first and foremost a human being.

For me, compassion means taking the time to really know my students, to be willing to explain concepts as many times and in as many different ways as it takes, and understanding that my students have many conflicting demands on their time.


I have always enjoyed teaching classes where the students actively participate. A conversation is more fun than a monologue.

I strive to make my teaching motivating, exciting, and interactive. I view learning as an interactive and participatory process. Students learn best when self-motivated, and I try to tap into that self-motivation.


The fourth core idea comes from my industrial experience as an engineer and manager.

Learning should be practical,
real world focused,
and life-long.

I know what is expected of an engineer working in industry. I want my students to succeed beyond my classroom and Marquette University as they apply what they have learned in my courses in their future studies and careers.

College Classroom
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