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Building an Engaged, Collaborative, and Inspired Teaching Culture

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2011 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Vancouver, BC

Publication Date

June 26, 2011

Start Date

June 26, 2011

End Date

June 29, 2011



Conference Session

Innovative Adult and Technology Enhanced Programs

Tagged Division

Continuing Professional Development

Page Count


Page Numbers

22.301.1 - 22.301.8



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Paper Authors


Suzanne M. Kresta University of Alberta

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Suzanne Kresta started at the University of Alberta in 1992, and led the development of the New Faculty Forums starting in 1996. These sessions introduced a large fraction of the faculty to basic educational ideas. In 2004 she became a Peer Consultant working across the university to consult with other professors about teaching. This paper focuses on the Teaching Enhancement Committee, which implemented a number of empowering changes to the teaching culture in the Department of Chemical and Materials Engineering and the Faculty of Engineering at the University of Alberta. Dr Kresta's own teaching is focused on transformative learning courses: process analysis and design, and her research group is organized around mixing in industrial processes.

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Uttandaraman Sundararaj University of Calgary

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Uttandaraman (U.T.) Sundararaj is Professor and the Head of the Department of Chemical and Petroleum Engineering at the University of Calgary. Previously he was Professor at the University of Alberta for 12 years. He received his Ph.D. from the University of Minnesota (1994) and his B.Sc. from the University of Alberta, both in Chemical Engineering. He worked four years in R&D with the General Electric Company (GE Plastics) and was a Visiting Researcher at DuPont Experimental Station.

In 2010, he won the highest post-secondary teaching honor in Canada, the 3M National Teaching Fellowship from the Society for Teaching and Learning in Higher Education and 3M Company. He has received several other teaching awards, including the University of Alberta’s Rutherford Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching, the Excellence in Education Award from the Association of Professional Engineers of Alberta, and the Medal of Distinction for Engineering Education from the Canadian Council of Professional Engineers. Dr. Sundararaj’s main research interests are in polymer blend and nanocomposite structure generation in twin-screw extruders, and modeling of polymer processes. In 2003, he received the prestigious Polymer Processing Society’s Morand Lambla Award for research in polymer processing and in 2006, he received the Humboldt Research Fellowship (Germany). He has won three best paper awards and has given more than 20 plenary and keynote presentations at major conferences.

His interests outside work include basketball, gardening and chess.

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John A. Nychka University of Alberta

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John was an assistant professor at the University of Kentucky for two years before returning to Canada and his alma mater, the University of Alberta, in 2007. He is an assistant professor in the Department of Chemical and Materials Engineering teaching and coordinating the second year introductory materials engineering service course to many disciplines of engineering. John is active in the departmental Teaching Enhancement Committee which is mandated with improving the quality of teaching within the department. He has organized and co-organized teaching workshops to bring international speakers to the University of Alberta on topics of Assessment,and he is very active in student outreach at all levels. John's passion is in the visualization of materials concepts through demonstrations and experiential learning through hands on exercises.

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Three Engineers Tilting at Windmills Shifting the Teaching Culture from Loads and Whining to Collaboration, Creativity, and Inspiration In the early 1990’s, the University of Alberta was already using teaching awards, peerconsultation, and student course evaluations to motivate better teaching. While the culture waspositive, it was not informed or intentional. Over the last twenty years, the faculty has growndramatically, many new instructors have been hired, class sizes have increased, and the standardof teaching has changed dramatically. In this talk, we present some of the tools that have made adifference: • New Faculty Forums, where each new instructor was given the basic tools of solid pedagogy in an active learning environment • Workshops on Active Learning, Assessment, and Writing Well • Formation of a Teaching Enhancement Committee • Classroom Assessment Techniques, Midterm Course Evaluations, and Teaching Triads • Development of a Teaching Statement • Recent Changes to the Annual Report Form that include a substantial section on Scholarly Engagement with Teaching The three co-authors have been involved with all of these initiatives, and foresee excitingfurther developments in the future: workshops on self-assessment and learning objectives,development of visual learning and demonstration of pedagogical skills and artistry, and a wholeparadigm shift in the way we develop course materials and textbooks. We invite you to share ourvision - dramatic improvement of teaching without the investment of punishing amounts of time!

Kresta, S. M., & Sundararaj, U., & Nychka, J. A. (2011, June), Building an Engaged, Collaborative, and Inspired Teaching Culture Paper presented at 2011 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Vancouver, BC. 10.18260/1-2--17582

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