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First Experiences On The "Other Side" Of The Desk: Practical Techniques For New Professors Of Engineering

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2003 Annual Conference


Nashville, Tennessee

Publication Date

June 22, 2003

Start Date

June 22, 2003

End Date

June 25, 2003



Conference Session

Tenure and Promotion Tricks of the Trade

Page Count


Page Numbers

8.573.1 - 8.573.13

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Paper Authors

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Diane Muratore

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Jeannette Russ

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

Session 2475

First Experiences on the “Other Side” of the Desk: Practical Techniques for New Professors of Engineering

Jeannette H. Russ and Diane M. Muratore Union University/Western New England College


A new professor typically has many advantages, including a thoroughly up-to-date understanding of the subject matter, a genuine enthusiasm for sharing knowledge with students, and a fresh perspective on the admittedly difficult task of engineering education. Unfortunately, these advantages can be somewhat mitigated by the multiple challenges that face the new professor on a daily, practical level. When the well educated and highly motivated new professor first encounters the everyday challenges of teaching technical topics to students, the resulting mismatch between the anticipated situation and the actual one can be both surprising and distressing. In fact, the widespread feelings of discouragement and the high levels of stress associated with the first year of teaching are well documented.1

Perhaps the disappointments experienced by many first-year professors stem from the potentially large disconnect between their excellent preparation in some areas and their relative lack of preparation in others. Specifically, many new professors are extremely well prepared in terms of technical understanding and personal motivation, but they may be somewhat poorly prepared in the more mundane areas of planning, classroom presentation, and classroom management.

There is good news for the professor who needs help in these routine tasks: Techniques for improvement in the daily tasks associated with teaching can be easily learned. The goal of this paper is to present steps that can be taken by the new professor to initiate significant improvement in the everyday elements of teaching. To achieve this goal, the paper presents specific techniques and ideas for improving classroom performance in the areas of course planning, lecture preparation and delivery, student assessment, personal study, and long-range planning.

Course Planning

A liberal amount of time spent planning a course before it begins will pay big dividends throughout the semester. Areas that deserve particular attention include the course outline, the nature and timing of assignments, the grading policy, communication of the plan to students, and textbook selection.

The course outline should be as detailed as possible. Avoid the temptation to have a very broad outline – for example, an outline that states chapter 1 will be covered in week 1, chapter 2 will be

Proceedings of the 2003 American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference & Exposition Copyright © 2003, American Society for Engineering Education

Muratore, D., & Russ, J. (2003, June), First Experiences On The "Other Side" Of The Desk: Practical Techniques For New Professors Of Engineering Paper presented at 2003 Annual Conference, Nashville, Tennessee.

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