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Developing Metrics To Evaluate Instructional Scholarship In Engineering

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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

Mentoring and Development of New Faculty

Tagged Division

New Engineering Educators

Page Count


Page Numbers

14.456.1 - 14.456.6



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Paper Authors

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Richard Taber National Academy of Engineering

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Elizabeth Cady National Academy of Engineering

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Norman Fortenberry National Academy of Engineering

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

Developing Metrics to Evaluate Instructional Scholarship in Engineering Abstract

If valid and reliable means to assess instructional scholarship are identified, and they are accepted by the engineering community, then greater attention would be devoted to scholarly teaching by engineering faculty and departments. With this goal in mind, an ad hoc committee completed a study on the development and implementation of metrics for scholarly teaching or "instructional scholarship" within the discipline of engineering. The committee sought to identify new options (with respect to choices of existing metrics, processes for evaluation of metrics, and agents to perform the evaluation of metrics) for evaluating scholarly teaching and to assess broadly the options identified in terms such as their validity, reliability, and ease-of-use by engineering faculty. The intent is to contribute to greater acceptance of instructional scholarship within engineering disciplines. The committee examined specific choices for metrics of the scholarship of teaching, schemes for the evaluation of selected metrics, and agent(s) who will evaluate the selected metrics. This paper summarizes the committee report.


Scholarship of teaching [1] is often compared with the scholarships of discovery and synthesis. Shulman [2] further categorized the scholarship of teaching as discovery scholarship within the educational domain [3] and scholarly teaching as teaching that (a) focuses on learning outcomes and teaching practices, (b) originates with knowledge of pedagogy and course content, and (c) includes self-reflection, discussions with peers, and participation in peer evaluation [4].

When engineering faculty members attend to the different ways in which students learn, the students become more engaged and also learn more course content and connections between engineering concepts. Unfortunately, scholarly teaching is not as easily assessed as traditional engineering research, which has well-defined metrics, so faculty members have little motivation to spend time on scholarly teaching [4, 5]. On the other hand, metrics to evaluate this behavior do exist [4, 6], so the committee worked to develop processes for administrators and faculty members to evaluate the metrics. The goal was to make the evaluation of scholarly teaching as easy for a promotion and tenure committee to complete as the evaluation of discovery and synthesis scholarship (e.g., number of publications, the prestige of the journal in which they appear). Although these research metrics suffer from several problems, they are identified and used, whereas metrics of teaching are not well-known.

Several factors motivated the effort to encourage scholarly teaching by engineering faculty. First, as with education in other fields, economic factors have led to governmental oversight for public educational institutions in order to show taxpayers that funds provided to higher education improve student learning [7]. Second, the ABET, Inc. accreditation standards changed to focus on student learning outcomes rather than the means and processes used to achieve them [8]. These new criteria directly challenged engineering faculty to maintain a high standard and continuous cycle of curriculum development, student assessment, and improvement that furthers institutional educational goals as well as supplementing faculty members’ technical expertise [9]. Third, work

Taber, R., & Cady, E., & Fortenberry, N. (2009, June), Developing Metrics To Evaluate Instructional Scholarship In Engineering Paper presented at 2009 Annual Conference & Exposition, Austin, Texas. 10.18260/1-2--4649

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