Charlotte, North Carolina
June 20, 1999
June 20, 1999
June 23, 1999
4.276.1 - 4.276.11
“Getting from Here to There” A Self-Diagnostic for Stimulating Faculty Development Captain James Solti, Major James Greer, Major Paul Waters United States Air Force Academy
With ABET 2000 making its way through our engineering education community, universities all around the country are diligently and painstakingly developing and assessing specific course goals for their curriculum. Unfortunately, far less attention is being given to developing and implementing processes that ensure course goals are successfully achieved in the classroom. This paper attempts to motivate faculty to examine their efforts for achieving the prescribed goals outlined for their course. The paper itself is written as a diagnostic model in which readers can discover for themselves, through active exercises within a small discussion group, the necessity for developing, writing, and implementing a sound teaching philosophy rooted in active learning. Faculty members are encouraged to develop a schematic model (flowchart) illustrating how their philosophy manifests itself in the classroom. The model is being developed primarily for new faculty members in the Engineering Mechanics Department at the United States Air Force Academy in hopes that it will accelerate their professional development and classroom improvement efforts.
The process of professional (pedagogical) development for many instructors is limited to a one- time review of the "characteristics of a good instructor, " e.g., an instructor must be enthusiastic, approachable, competent, organized, etc. Most instructors work diligently to develop or acquire these traits. But does practicing "good instructor traits" guarantee that the desired end-of-course objectives will be met? It is possible, but this approach typically falls short, since it fails to consider the specifics surrounding the presentation of the particular course materials, as well as the behavior and attitude of the students. Mapping the progression of how one successfully achieves the desired classroom outcomes based on a starting point of recognizing and practicing good instructor traits is fundamental to success and is the primary objective of the "getting from here (good traits) to there (course goals)” diagnostic model. Additionally, the model recognizes that this progression is unique to each individual and therefore is manifested only through one's own personal philosophy.
Active learning is a central theme to this progression for two reasons: (1) Each student enters the classroom with his or her own set of desired outcomes for the course. Often these outcomes are inconsistent with, or a subset of, the instructor's goals. Active learning empowers each student to control how learning takes place and, in addition, holds them accountable for success (or failure) in obtaining the end objectives. This assumes, of course, that the student’s and instructor's outcomes are shared. (2) It provides an efficient vehicle for "getting from here to there," and to
Waters, P., & Greer, J., & Solti, J. P. (1999, June), Getting From Here To There A Self Dignostic For Stimulating Faculty Development Paper presented at 1999 Annual Conference, Charlotte, North Carolina. https://peer.asee.org/7694
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