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Assisting Adjunct Faculty Using Committee Exams

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2012 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


San Antonio, Texas

Publication Date

June 10, 2012

Start Date

June 10, 2012

End Date

June 13, 2012



Conference Session

Learning and Assessment I

Tagged Division

Mechanical Engineering

Page Count


Page Numbers

25.233.1 - 25.233.17



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Paper Authors


Randall D. Manteufel University of Texas, San Antonio

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Randall Manteufel serves as an Associate Professor of mechanical engineering at The University of Texas, San Antonio (UTSA), where he has been on the faculty since 1997. His teaching and research interests are in the thermal sciences. He is currently the Faculty Advisor for ASHRAE at UTSA.

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Amir Karimi University of Texas, San Antonio

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Amir Karimi is a professor of mechanical engineering and the Associate Dean of Undergraduate Studies at the University of Texas, San Antonio (UTSA). He received his Ph.D. degree in mechanical engineering from the University of Kentucky in 1982. His teaching and research interests are in thermal sciences. He has served as the Chair of Mechanical Engineering (1987 to 1992, and Sept. 1998 to Jan. of 2003), College of Engineering Associate Dean of Academic Affairs (Jan. 2003 to April 2006), and the Associate Dean of Undergraduate Studies (April 2006 to present). Karimi is a Fellow of ASME and Senior Member of AIAA, and holds membership in ASEE, ASHRAE, and Sigma Xi. He is the ASEE Campus Representative at UTSA, ASEE-GSW Section Campus Representative, and served as the Chair of ASEE Zone III (2005 to 2007). He chaired the ASEE-GSW section during the 1996-97 academic year.

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Mentoring Adjunct Faculty using Committee Exams  Many engineering programs uses adjunct faculty to teach foundational courses such as thermodynamics.  It is critical that adjunct instructors be mentored to ensure the course is consistent from semester‐to‐semester.  A brief meeting in the beginning of the semester where experienced faculty share the syllabus, textbook, and previous exams with new adjunct instructors is often insufficient.   Grade distributions, coverage of material, as well as student learning is found to vary depending on the instructor.  A goal of the overall mechanical engineering program is to have consistency in foundational courses.  Dialogue throughout the semester is effective when full‐time faculty interact to guide adjunct instructors.  Yet the dialogue needs to be purpose driven, otherwise the dialogue has been found to be anemic.  To address these challenges, a committee was formed to develop and grade exams for a foundational engineering course taught by an adjunct instructor.  The students in the class were polled four times through the semester to gage their attitude.  Students were initially reticent and had negative comments and questions because other faculty are involved in making and grading exams.  However, as the semester progressed, the overall attitude of the class improved as students realized that their performance depends on their effort.  The overall grade distribution for the class was more consistent with previous semesters and didn’t reflect a high grade distribution with high pass rate because an adjunct taught the class.  Overall, the committee mentioned the adjunct instructor through the preparation and grading of exams to help meet course objectives and ensure the course is consistent from semester‐to‐semester.  

Manteufel, R. D., & Karimi, A. (2012, June), Assisting Adjunct Faculty Using Committee Exams Paper presented at 2012 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, San Antonio, Texas. 10.18260/1-2--20993

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