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Fostering Dissemination Skills In Stem Doctoral Students: Tips For The Ph.D. Student And The General Impact On Stem Undergraduates

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2010 Annual Conference & Exposition


Louisville, Kentucky

Publication Date

June 20, 2010

Start Date

June 20, 2010

End Date

June 23, 2010



Conference Session

Student Paper Presentation

Tagged Division

Students Constituent Committee

Page Count


Page Numbers

15.596.1 - 15.596.13



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Paper Authors

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Melanie Watson Louisiana Tech University

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Krystal Corbett Louisiana Tech University

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Kyle Prather Louisiana Tech University

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Jenna Carpenter Louisiana Tech University


Stanley Cronk Louisiana Tech University

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Faculty member of College of Engineering and Science at Louisiana Tech University.

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

Fostering Dissemination Skills in STEM Doctoral Students: Tips for the Ph.D. Student and the General Impact on STEM Undergraduates


Science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) graduate programs typically provide insufficient instruction for doctoral students electing to pursue a career in higher education instruction. Often, doctoral students who teach classes are required to offer lectures or even full courses without any formal training1, 2. Therefore, a doctoral student’s transition to a faculty position may raise concerns from a university administration concerned with maintaining the quality of its course delivery. This paper documents the account of three doctoral students and two engineering faculty members while co-teaching/teaching a project-centered first-year introductory engineering course. The implementation of a preparatory teaching program for doctoral students in the first-year engineering curriculum provides a unique opportunity for faculty to mentor “on the spot.” The doctoral students are given one quarter of mentorship by co- teaching an introductory engineering class with an experienced faculty member. If their faculty mentor then judges that they are ready to instruct a course on their own, they are then given that opportunity. The main focus of this paper examines the doctoral students’ experiences as they conclude their mentorships and develop responsibility for their own classes. Tips are provided to give insight from the doctoral students’ perspective. These tips are for students attracted to a faculty career or for those institutions that may find a need to use their own doctoral students as instructors. A few of these tips include: setting the standards for classroom professionalism, gaining self-confidence while lecturing and promoting respect in the classroom. Also, the paper’s assessment data evaluates the instructional efficacy of the doctoral students during their transition period from student to faculty based on several factors one of which includes the overall teaching effectiveness of the two female doctoral students versus the male doctoral student in first-year engineering classrooms.


Program Introduction In the undergraduate level science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) courses at _________ ____University, graduate students are placed as instructors. This practice offers a valuable resource to _________ ____ as well as for graduate students. From the university’s point of view, having graduate students teach courses in the undergraduate programs allows for lighter teaching loads of full time faculty members as well as flexibility in teaching schedules. Moreover, the practice is beneficial for the graduate student because it offers them the opportunity to be the instructor over a class during their graduate studies. This hones various skill sets that future employers would desire whether the graduate students pursue careers in academia or industry. For the most part, however, the graduate students are not provided with the necessary resources from the university to prepare them properly to oversee a course1. Thus, the university and the graduate students will not achieve the full benefits of having graduate student instructors. The common practice is graduate students are assigned a course by the university with little to no training and will be expected to have the skills of an experienced professor1. In contrast, the skills expected of the graduate students will not appear instantly; they will develop

Watson, M., & Corbett, K., & Prather, K., & Carpenter, J., & Cronk, S. (2010, June), Fostering Dissemination Skills In Stem Doctoral Students: Tips For The Ph.D. Student And The General Impact On Stem Undergraduates Paper presented at 2010 Annual Conference & Exposition, Louisville, Kentucky. 10.18260/1-2--16861

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