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Gaining The Respect Of Your Students: Fundamental Tips For New Engineering Teachers

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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

Tricks of the Trade in Teaching II

Tagged Division

New Engineering Educators

Page Count


Page Numbers

15.609.1 - 15.609.12



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Paper Authors


John Reisel University of Wisconsin - Milwaukee

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John R. Reisel is an Associate Professor of Mechanical Engineering at the University of
Wisconsin-Milwaukee (UWM.) He serves as Associate Director of the Center for Alternative Fuels, and co-Director of the Energy Conversion
Efficiency Lab. His research efforts focus on combustion and energy utilization. Dr. Reisel was a 2005 recipient of the UWM Distinguished Undergraduate Teaching Award, the 2000
UWM-College of Engineering and Applied Science Outstanding Teaching Award, and a 1998
recipient of the SAE Ralph R. Teetor Educational Award. Dr. Reisel is a member of ASEE,
ASME, the Combustion Institute, and SAE. Dr. Reisel received his B.M.E. degree from
Villanova University in 1989, his M.S. degree in Mechanical Engineering from Purdue University
in 1991, and his Ph.D. in Mechanical Engineering from Purdue University in 1994.

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



Most new engineering teachers enter their jobs with a strong background in research, and with high expectations placed on their research productivity. Yet, a significant portion of their job involves teaching students, often undergraduate students, in the classroom. Because of the emphasis placed on research success, new teachers often do not want to spend extra time on their teaching activities. As a result, they may struggle to become effective teachers.

Based on observations of the teaching skills and related behaviors of new engineering teachers, it is clear that most teachers usually have adequate technical knowledge of the subject, but do not have the fundamental skills needed to adequately connect with their students. This serious problem is often the result of the teacher not doing a number of simple things to gain the respect of the students. If the students do not respect the teacher, they are less likely to be motivated to do well in the course and will not pay as much attention to what the teacher is trying to convey.

Fortunately, there are many things that a teacher can do to win the respect of his or her students, and these things do not take much, if any, additional preparation time. These successful techniques which lead to respect have been formulated based on comparisons of good and struggling teachers. In this paper, these techniques are presented and explained. If implemented, these techniques should improve a new teachers’ performance as the students will be more receptive to learning from the teacher and motivated to do well in the course. Again, these techniques do not require much additional time for the teacher to perform, and should produce a more positive teaching experience for the new teacher, and better learning environment and education for the students.


Many new as well as experienced teachers of engineering, science, and technology in colleges and universities often struggle with the teaching component of their jobs. This can be very frustrating as these individuals see themselves as highly-intelligent, well-accomplished people who understand the material that they are attempting to teach to students—often undergraduate students. When the teaching struggles result in (a) poor teaching evaluations by the students or (b) a significant reduction of time spent developing his or her research program, the teaching problems can reduce the chances of the faculty member gaining tenure. So, the portion of their job that may have caused the least concern to the person before he or she was hired can result in the most stress.

There has been much research done on educational methods and many suggestions are made on how to better teach students. These are definitely important contributions, and can improve the educational environment for the student. But based on observations of new and experienced teachers in engineering, I argue that there are many fundamental things that most faculty need to do in order to become effective teachers in engineering, technology, or science. These are things

Reisel, J. (2010, June), Gaining The Respect Of Your Students: Fundamental Tips For New Engineering Teachers Paper presented at 2010 Annual Conference & Exposition, Louisville, Kentucky. 10.18260/1-2--15789

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