June 14, 2009
June 14, 2009
June 17, 2009
14.694.1 - 14.694.15
Implementing a Faculty Development Model at the National Military Academy of Afghanistan
Now starting its fifth year of existence, the National Military Academy of Afghanistan (NMAA) in Kabul has recently graduated the first class of cadets with a major in civil engineering. Since the inception of the Civil Engineering Department and major in March 2007 to the first graduation, the faculty has quadrupled in size to support new, bigger classes of junior and senior cadets. This rapid program growth has greatly increased the demand to attract, develop, and retain qualified engineering instructors from the small pool of post-Taliban educated engineers. Drawing the country’s brightest engineers to teaching is growing more difficult as salaries for practicing engineers reconstructing Afghanistan are rising and will quickly outpace salaries for NMAA engineering instructors. Additionally, all engineering faculty members have aspirations to attend graduate school in the United States or other developed nations. Recent years have shown 25% of the existing engineering faculty at NMAA depart annually to graduate school or higher paying jobs in industry. This high faculty turnover and rapid program growth prescribes that the engineering faculty will experience a constant influx of engineers that are new to teaching.
In light of NMAA’s desire to continue to provide a modern, high quality engineering education to its graduates, one of the most critical tasks has become faculty development. While initially engaged and focused on course development, US mentors quickly discovered the need to develop and implement a teaching workshop for new and current instructors with little teaching experience. We modeled the instruction after the ASCE Excellence in Civil Engineering Education (ExCEEd) Teaching Workshop hosted annually at West Point and other locations in the US and adopted the content for the instructors at NMAA. The teaching workshop introduced the new Afghan instructors to effective teaching methods inside and outside the classroom. It included eight seminars, demonstration classes taught by the authors, and practice classes taught by the Afghan instructors. The workshop seminars focused heavily on Joseph Lowman’s two dimensional model of effective teaching.1 This paper will describe the process of developing and implementing a new instructor workshop at NMAA and also highlight the many challenges and provide recommendations to growing a quality engineering faculty in any developing nation.
The Crown Jewel of Afghanistan
On January 25, 2009 the National Military Academy of Afghanistan (NMAA) in Kabul graduated its first class of cadets. Of the 84 graduates in this class, 18 of them studied Civil Engineering in a program designed and implemented by faculty members from the U.S. Military Academy at West Point and U.S. Air Force Academy in Colorado. The initial tasks these faculty members faced included design of curriculum and courses, development of laboratory facilities, and hiring faculty. We deployed to Afghanistan between January and August 2008 as the Civil Engineering program entered its second year (the NMAA school year, which follows the Islamic calendar, begins in March and ends in January). Our tasks included developing the final courses for the civil engineering curriculum, formalizing the laboratory component of the curriculum,
Crispino, E., & Bellocchio, A., & Hamilton, S., & Hill, A., & Ressler, S. (2009, June), Implementing A Faculty Development Strategy At The National Military Academy Of Afghanistan Paper presented at 2009 Annual Conference & Exposition, Austin, Texas. https://peer.asee.org/5582
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