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Effectiveness Of The Woodruff School Doctoral Teaching Intern Program

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1996 Annual Conference


Washington, District of Columbia

Publication Date

June 23, 1996

Start Date

June 23, 1996

End Date

June 26, 1996



Page Count


Page Numbers

1.176.1 - 1.176.9



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Paper Authors

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Sheila C. Palmer

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Pamela M. Norris

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

Session 3630

Effectiveness of the Woodruff School Doctoral Teaching Intern Program

Pamela M. Norris, Sheila C. Palmer University of Virginia/U.S. Naval Academy


This article discusses a unique teaching internship program that has been in place in the Woodruff School of Mechanical Engineering at Georgia Institute of Technology since 1990. The objective of the program is to provide doctoral students who are considering an academic career an opportunity to gain teaching experience under the tutelage of a faculty member. Interns participate in all aspects of conducting an actual course and receive extensive feedback from the faculty mentor.

Most of the data for this article was obtained from a survey of all former student and faculty participants and from evaluations of students in the courses taught jointly by the doctoral student and faculty mentor. Additional information about the effectiveness of the program was obtained from a survey of department chairs at universities where former interns are currently teaching.

This article summarizes the major findings from the surveys and discusses the apparent need and benefit of such a doctoral teaching intern program. Benefits and drawbacks of participation are discussed from the intern, faculty mentor, and student points of view. Conclusions are drawn about the overall effectiveness of the program and recommendations are made for implementing a successful teaching internship program.


"It has been said that college teaching is the only profession for which there is no professional training, and it is commonly argued that this is because our graduate schools train scholars and scientists rather than teachers. We are more concerned with the discovery of knowledge than with its dissemination." (B.F. Skinner, date unknown)

Indeed, while a college professor's primary role is as a teacher, rarely are professors taught to teach. A Ph.D. is usually considered sufficient "experience" to be hired as a teacher, and this requires the assumption that knowledge of a subject guarantees the ability to teach the subject. It is ironic that when

1996 ASEE Annual Conference Proceedings

Palmer, S. C., & Norris, P. M. (1996, June), Effectiveness Of The Woodruff School Doctoral Teaching Intern Program Paper presented at 1996 Annual Conference, Washington, District of Columbia. 10.18260/1-2--6007

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