Episode 219: The Secret to Succeeding as a Teacher (Roel Snieder)

“The challenge is to really bring your heart into the classroom, show up as a person, show up with care.”

Dr. Roel Snieder discusses how to excel as a teacher (and professional) using the Teaching with Heart practices.

In this unique and encouraging episode, we explore the Teaching with Heart project. Roel makes the case for creating a more nurturing and loving educational environment. This episode examines if and how the heart can play a role in mathematics, physics, and geophysics.

Roel challenges the notion that teaching to outcomes is the sole purpose of education, advocating for a balance between achieving academic goals and fostering student growth. They highlight the key to creating a lasting impact for students and challenge the notion that coddling and caring for them is the same.

Listeners will be intrigued by the discussion on how meditative techniques, introspection, and awareness of one’s beliefs can significantly influence the teaching dynamic. Roel also addresses the potential pitfalls of ego in teaching, the importance of seeing students as individuals with unique challenges and aspirations, and the delicate balance of maintaining professional boundaries while cultivating meaningful relationships.

This episode is not just for educators. It’s a reminder that the learning journey — which never ends — is enriched when both teachers and students show up as whole, interconnected individuals.


  • The philosophy behind the Teaching with Heart project and its impact on higher education
  • The importance of integrating care and love into teaching without compromising on academic rigor
  • Challenges and opportunities in the advisor-student relationship and how to navigate them
  • Practical tips for educators to foster a caring classroom environment, even within time constraints
  • The transformative power of truly listening to and understanding students’ needs and aspirations
  • Reflections on personal growth and the broader implications of Teaching with Heart in the academic world
Seismic Soundoff · 219: The Secret to Succeeding as a Teacher (Roel Snieder)

Episode Links

Guest Bio

Roel Snieder holds the W.M. Keck Distinguished Chair of Professional Development Education at the Colorado School of Mines. He received in 1984 a Master’s degree in Geophysical Fluid Dynamics from Princeton University and, in 1987, a Ph.D. in seismology from Utrecht University. From 1993-2000, he was a professor of seismology at Utrecht University and served as Dean of the Faculty of Earth Sciences. Roel served on the editorial boards of Geophysical Journal International, Inverse Problems, Reviews of Geophysics, the Journal of the Acoustical Society of America, and the European Journal of Physics. In 2000, he was elected as Fellow of the American Geophysical Union. He is the author of the textbooks A Guided Tour of Mathematical Methods for the Physical SciencesThe Art of Being a Scientist, and The Joy of Science, which is published by Cambridge University Press. In 2011, he was elected as an Honorary Member of the Society of Exploration Geophysicists, and in 2014, he received a research award from the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation. In 2016, Roel received the Beno Gutenberg Medal from the European Geophysical Union and the Outstanding Educator Award from the Society of Exploration Geophysicists. He received in 2020 the Ange Melagro Prize for his outstanding class, Science and Spirituality. In 2023, Roel received the Outstanding Faculty Award from the Colorado School of Mines Board of Trustees. From 2000-2014, he was a firefighter in Genesee Fire Rescue, where he served for two years as Fire Chief.  

Show Credits

Seismic Soundoff showcases conversations addressing the challenges of energy, water, and climate.

SEG creates these episodes to celebrate and inspire the geophysicists of today and tomorrow.

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This episode was hosted, edited, and produced by Andrew Geary at TreasureMint. The SEG podcast team comprises Jennifer Cobb, Kathy Gamble, and Ally McGinnis. 

Transcription and episode summary support provided by Headliner.

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