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A Graduate Student Pedagogy Seminar in Chemical Engineering

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2018 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Salt Lake City, Utah

Publication Date

June 23, 2018

Start Date

June 23, 2018

End Date

July 27, 2018

Conference Session

Novel Classrooms

Tagged Division

Chemical Engineering

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Paper Authors


Christina Smith Brown University

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Christina Smith is the Assistant Director for Undergraduate Instructional Development at the Sheridan Center for Teaching and Learning at Brown University. She received her PhD from Oregon State University and her BS from the University of Utah, both in chemical engineering. Her research focused on how the epistemology of graduate students around teaching and learning interact with and influence the environments in which they are asked to teach. She builds on this work in her new position by teaching a course for STEM undergraduate teaching assistants on the theory and practice of problem solving and other programs related to teaching in STEM.

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Ann Sitomer Portland State University

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Ann earned a PhD in mathematics education from Portland State University in 2014. Her dissertation examined the informal ways of reasoning about ratio, rate and proportion that adult returning students bring to an arithmetic review class and how these ways of thinking interacted with the curriculum. Her research interests have transitioned to how graduate students and postsecondary educators learn about teaching and student learning. After an appointment as a Postdoctoral Scholar at Oregon State University, where she worked with her co-author Dr. Christina Smith, she now is a Visiting Professor of Mathematics Education at Portland State University.

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Milo Koretsky Oregon State University

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Milo Koretsky is a Professor of Chemical Engineering at Oregon State University. He received his B.S. and M.S. degrees from UC San Diego and his Ph.D. from UC Berkeley, all in Chemical Engineering. He currently has research activity in areas related engineering education and is interested in integrating technology into effective educational practices and in promoting the use of higher-level cognitive skills in engineering problem solving. His research interests particularly focus on what prevents students from being able to integrate and extend the knowledge developed in specific courses in the core curriculum to the more complex, authentic problems and projects they face as professionals. Dr. Koretsky is one of the founding members of the Center for Lifelong STEM Education Research at OSU.

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Graduate students are often asked to facilitate undergraduate student learning but lack the necessary preparation and understanding of complex classroom practices to do so effectively. There are engineering programs that do offer professional and pedagogical development for engineering graduate teaching assistants (GTAs) but there is limited information on how to design and implement such programs. We assessed the current pedagogical preparation provided for chemical, biological, and environmental engineering graduate students at a large research university who are asked to teach students in small group settings. This paper describes the creation, implementation and reception of a series of pedagogical development topics within a first year graduate student professional development seminar. Topics for the pedagogical portion of the seminar included metacognition, learning theory, stereotype threat, and systems thinking. Analysis included facilitator reflections and a survey that included a needs assessment. We offer suggestions for those who hope to create or implement a similar seminar in their programs.

Smith, C., & Sitomer, A., & Koretsky, M. (2018, June), A Graduate Student Pedagogy Seminar in Chemical Engineering Paper presented at 2018 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition , Salt Lake City, Utah. 10.18260/1-2--29686

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