In the seventeen years that Professor Ritter has been at UNCP, he has established a stellar reputation in the realms of teaching, and service to our students.
Dr. Ritter's teaching philosophy aims at stimulating what he argues is an "inherent interest" in all humans in the fundamental sciences, among which physics is paramount. In doing so, he strives to render the abstract conceptual nature of his discipline easily understandable for undergraduates. His successes, therefore, are heightened by the fact that many UNCP students are among the first in their families to attend college. His courses employ many hands on examples to illustrate concepts, especially in introductory physics courses. In his words, he brings the subject "alive" for students by emphasizing the applications of physics to beyond the lab and classroom to nonacademic activities.
Student response to Dr. Ritter's teaching is rated highly by his students. Much of their praise for his teaching is divided between his personal attributes and pedagogical methods. It was not uncommon to read a student characterize him as "willing to help students" "approachable" and a "fantastic teacher." Beyond the classroom, one student commented stated that Dr. Ritter offered Thanksgiving dinner to those students unable to travel home.
His commitment to teaching does not stop after graduation. In one recommendation letter, a student spoke of Dr. Ritter as a "great role model and friend" and a mentoring that spanned ten years through pharmacy school, a wedding, and significant life events. His mentoring and research with students exceeds standards of the most dedicated colleagues on our campus. In reading his letters of support, it was difficult to imagine that they addressed only one person.
Dr. Ritter's unique talent for teaching is complimented by a deep commitment to engaging students in research. In the classroom, laboratory, and high profile work with undergraduates Professor Ritter has set high and enviable standards for his colleagues. Since 2002, he has been directing a NASA sponsored microgravity research program at UNCP in which students devise and perform experiments in a zero gravity environment. Dr. Ritter has had seven teams of his students accepted by NASA to fly their experiments in NASA's Microgravity Research aircraft in Houston, Texas. In short, there is little doubt that he provides UNCP students with invaluable educational opportunities and experiences that are arguably unmatched by most universities.
Dr. Ritter received his BS, MA, and, PhD degrees in physics from the State University of New York at Buffalo. Professor Ritter has been in the Department of Chemistry and Physics since 1996. He is a veteran of the Iraq War and commander in the United States Navel Reserve.