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Helping Teachers To Teach Ideas From West Point

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2004 Annual Conference


Salt Lake City, Utah

Publication Date

June 20, 2004

Start Date

June 20, 2004

End Date

June 23, 2004



Conference Session

Improving Teaching & Learning

Page Count


Page Numbers

9.666.1 - 9.666.10

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Paper Authors

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Anita Gandolfo

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Ken Alford

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

Session 2230

Helping Teachers to Teach – Ideas from West Point

Kenneth L. Alford, Anita Gandolfo United States Military Academy


Every summer the United States Military Academy at West Point, New York loses nearly one- fourth of its faculty. While this turnover is intentional (returning our junior military officers to the Army), with such a high and constant turnover rate, we have had to figure out how to effectively teach teachers to teach in order to maintain the high quality education we provide for our cadets. Many of West Point’s efforts can be successfully adopted at other universities and colleges who face the challenge of providing pedagogical instruction for graduate teaching assistants, new PhDs and adjunct instructors.

College instructors fall into three distinct groups based on their relationship with the university: (1) new hires who have not yet arrived on campus, (2) new arrivals, and (3) continuing faculty. Each group has different needs that the institution can help meet.

This paper discusses some of the programs, activities, and events that have been used successfully at the United States Military Academy to meet the needs of these faculty groups. It is written with the intent to provide other educational institutions the opportunity to pick and choose among them and then adapt applicable ideas to the local circumstances on their own campuses.

Prior to Arriving

As at other institutions, newly hired Military Academy faculty show up on our doorstep with a wide variety of backgrounds and experience. Unlike most other institutions, each year West Point brings in a large number of military officers and recruits civilian faculty members as well. Civilian faculty members range in academic rank from new instructors to distinguished visiting full professors, and the teaching experience they bring with them varies as widely. Some civilian faculty members are changing universities, and some are newly minted PhDs. The majority of new faculty members who arrive each year are active duty military officers. Most of them have little to no prior teaching experience.

The views expressed in this article are those of the authors and do not reflect the official policy or position of the United States Military Academy, the Department of the Army, the Department of Defense, or the United States Government.

Proceedings of the 2004 American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference & Exposition Copyright © 2004, American Society for Engineering Education

Gandolfo, A., & Alford, K. (2004, June), Helping Teachers To Teach Ideas From West Point Paper presented at 2004 Annual Conference, Salt Lake City, Utah.

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