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Application Of The Exceed Teaching Model To Improve Graduate Teaching In Environmental Engineering Courses

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2009 Annual Conference & Exposition


Austin, Texas

Publication Date

June 14, 2009

Start Date

June 14, 2009

End Date

June 17, 2009



Conference Session

Environmental Engineering Curricula

Tagged Division

Environmental Engineering

Page Count


Page Numbers

14.223.1 - 14.223.18

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Paper Authors

author page

Audra Morse Texas Tech

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NOTE: The first page of text has been automatically extracted and included below in lieu of an abstract


Many universities employ graduate teaching assistants to help reduce faculty teaching loads. However, the graduate teaching assistants may receive little to no training on teaching effectiveness. Some universities may have programs to mentor graduate students in effective teaching strategies; however, the programs may not be able to help all graduate students due to limited capacity and funding. A faculty advisor may be assigned to oversee the graduate teaching assistant’s class, but interactions between the faculty and the teaching assistant may be limited and the student may receive little or no feedback on teaching effectiveness. In times when state legislatures want more accountability in the classroom, providing training for graduate students to improve their teaching effectiveness is imperative.

A special topics course was offered to masters and PhD students teaching lecture classes and lab classes at Texas Tech University. The purpose of the course was to introduce and teach teaching assistants the ExCEEd teaching model and assess teaching performances. Topics of the ExCEEd model were presented at weekly class meetings. TAs were observed at the beginning and end of the semester to assess each TAs’ understanding and successful application of the ExCEEd model. Additional feedback on TA teaching effectiveness was assessed through mid- semester evaluations and end-of-the-semester evaluations. Lastly, the TAs assessed their own understanding of the ExCEEd model and its benefits at the beginning and ending of the course. Overall, the TA effectiveness in the classroom improved through the application of the ExCEEd model in environmental and civil engineering courses.


To reduce faculty teaching loads, more and more universities are employing teaching assistants (TAs) or adjunct professors to teach classes. TAs may receive little to no training on teaching effectiveness leaving the TAs to imitate and emulate instructors they have had during their educational experiences. Unfortunately, this may not be the most effective approach to teaching and may impact teaching effectiveness in the classroom.

Some universities have programs to mentor graduate TAs but the programs may not be available to all TAs due to capacity and funding. A graduate TA may be assigned a faculty mentor. However, informal mentoring is not always successful as other aspects of a faculty member’s job may take priority, resulting in little to no mentoring to the TA. Therefore, a more formal mentoring structure is needed.

In the last couple of years at Texas Tech University, TAs have been employed to cover undergraduate lecture courses in addition to the laboratory classes typically taught by TAs, due to the departure of faculty and the hiring of new faculty with reduced teaching loads. To help the

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