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Building Better Rapport With Students: Advice For New Engineering Educators

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2002 Annual Conference


Montreal, Canada

Publication Date

June 16, 2002

Start Date

June 16, 2002

End Date

June 19, 2002



Conference Session

Issues of Concern to New Faculty

Page Count


Page Numbers

7.271.1 - 7.271.6



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Paper Authors

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Andrew Rose

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Main Menu Session 3275

Building Better Rapport With Students: Advice for New Engineering Educators

Andrew T. Rose University of Pittsburgh at Johnstown

Abstract Good rapport between faculty and students and its influence on effective teaching is well known.1-2 Workshops3-4 and courses5 on effective teaching include development of faculty- student relationships as an essential part of successful teaching. As leaders and facilitators in the classroom, faculty must take the initiative to encourage the development of good rapport with their students. This is not only desired for improved teaching, but developing rapport with others may be a lesson in and of itself for the students. Experience developing professional relationships with superiors as well as colleagues is as important to the future career plans of students as it is for the student and teacher in the present classroom environment. Developing good rapport with students can result in more effective teaching, improved student evaluations, and a more rewarding experience for faculty and students in the and out of the classroom. Suggestions from the literature, as well as the author’s own experiences for developing and improving student-faculty rapport are provided. With practice, developing good rapport with students can become second nature.

Introduction New educators face many challenges in the early years of a tenure-track faculty position. One key to achieving tenure is demonstrated proficiency in teaching. At many institutions, proficiency in teaching is evaluated in part through student teaching evaluations. In evaluating faculty, students often consider the level of rapport they have developed with their instructor. At undergraduate teaching institutions where teaching is the primary function and excellence in teaching is considered vital for tenure, developing good rapport with students is essential for success.

At institutions where large numbers of graduate students have teaching responsibilities, programs designed to develop teaching skills may address the importance of good rapport and techniques for achieving it.5 Others learn about improving teacher -student rapport through books, 1 magazine articles2 or teaching workshops. 3-4 Unfortunately, some new faculty members are not properly trained in this aspect of teaching and do not fully appreciate the skills necessary to develop good rapport with students. This can be frustrating for new faculty who feel they expend great effort in their teaching only to receive less than desired ratings on student teaching evaluations. Educators tend to blame the students, claiming “they do not appreciate us.” The problem however, may be related to our priorities as new educators and our attitude toward our students. To overcome this difficulty, educators need to adopt an attitude of good customer service in their role as educators. This begins by spending some effort learning the skills needed to develop and maintain good rapport with students. In addition to improved teaching evaluations, good rapport with students may help make the first few years of teaching more personally rewarding. Many senior faculty note the most rewarding aspect of their profession has been the students and the relationships resulting from their experiences in the classroom. Proceedings of the 2002 American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference & Exposition Copyright Ó 2002, American Society for Engineering Education

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Rose, A. (2002, June), Building Better Rapport With Students: Advice For New Engineering Educators Paper presented at 2002 Annual Conference, Montreal, Canada. 10.18260/1-2--10392

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