Implementing an Engineering Teaching Development Program for Graduate Student Instructors
KeywordsMaterials Science and Engineering
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AbstractThe Engineering Teaching Development Project (ETDP), a pilot program started by the student chapter of ASEE at the University of Michigan, is a multi-component program designed to improve the long-term teaching skills of graduate student instructors (GSIs) in the College of Engineering. The first component of the ETDP is college-wide pedagogical workshop series. These workshops are conducted by nationally recognized engineering educators invited by the ASEE student chapter. The topics of these workshops include cooperative learning, diversity in the classroom, and classroom assessment techniques. These workshops offer a means of continual improvement for all of the educators in the university, both faculty and GSIs. The second component is the "Departmental Training Programs Workshop," which was held in July before the start of the Fall semester. During this workshop, trained members of University of Michigan’s Center for Research on Learning and Teaching (CRLT) helped faculty and graduate coordinators from 8 of the 11 departments in the College develop a step-by-step GSI training program, which could then be implemented in their respective departments. There were also experienced GSIs from each department present at the session. This perspective was helpful for faculty and staff to identify specific need of the GSIs in their department. The final component is the Teaching Fellows Pilot Program. This is a program called for experienced GSIs to submit proposals for innovative approaches to team teaching a course with a faculty member. These proposals should have included a description of the teaching innovation, a description of the assessment techniques used, and identification of the role the mentoring faculty member would play. A selection committee awarded the fellowship to an experienced GSI from the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering to implement computer-based laboratory exercises in an existing introductory hydraulics course. The primary objective for this three-tiered ETDP project is to provide training and mentoring programs for engineering GSIs that lead to a commitment to educational improvements in the classroom. As a secondary goal, the project seeks to promote an environment in the College of Engineering where continuous improvement of teaching techniques among educators is seen as a standard for those entering academia.