Required Faculty Training How To Teach Civil Engineering
2004 Annual Conference Proceedings
Most new civil engineering faculty are hired with the presumption that they know how to teach. However, the usual extent of their formal faculty training is occasionally filling in for their faculty advisor while in graduate school. At West Point, we could claim that since our new faculty trained soldiers every day prior to going to graduate school, there is no need to waste valuable time and resources on formal faculty training. But, is that enough? At West Point, that answer is a resounding
... ! Everyone can improve their performance with proper training, but especially anyone doing something for the first time -like new teachers! Every department at West Point has some form of instructor summer training for their new faculty. The training programs range from two to six weeks with all programs having some type of practice teaching sessions. Even with the formal training programs, United States Military Academy (USMA) new faculty are expected to continue to learn a lot about the basics of leading classroom instruction throughout their first and second semesters of teaching. However, the faculty training gives our new instructors a theoretical foundation, and tangible examples as well as inclass experience prior to their first day in front of students. The experience also provides our new instructors a much higher maturity and experience level before the first semester begins and prevents on-the-job training from interfering with the students' education. The Department of Civil and Mechanical Engineering (CME) ensures that their new faculty are prepared to teach by administering an in-depth six-week training program. New faculty are so well prepared that students rarely can tell that they are brand new faculty teaching their first semester. This paper will describe the CME faculty training program that effectively prepares teachers to actively engage students in the learning process to increase their success. We will present the integrated schedule, program assessment, and an in-depth look at the key components -presentation of teaching pedagogy, veteran classes, new faculty practice classes, class assessments for both veteran and new faculty, and administrative classes that help smooth new faculty transition into the department. We will also highlight a one-week course for those schools that are not able to devote time to train their own faculty. We will assess the CME faculty training program's effectiveness both through the comments of those new instructors who have participated in the program as well as comparison of their student ratings to other instructors at the USMA. Through this assessment, we will show whether the faculty training program is an effective use of department resources, as well as where it has been most effective in impacting the West Point educational experience.