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Improving Future Faculty With Graduate Engineering Education

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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

Educating Students for Professional Success

Tagged Division

Graduate Studies

Page Count


Page Numbers

15.696.1 - 15.696.9



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Paper Authors

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Andrea Burrows The University of Cincinnati

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Anant Kukreti The University of Cincinnati

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Mike Borowczak The University of Cincinnati Orcid 16x16

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Amr Safwat The University of Cincinnati

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

Improving Future Faculty with Graduate Engineering Education

Abstract One of the major missing links in today’s graduate engineering curriculum is the lack of effective preparation of students who plan on entering into academia upon graduation. While classes exist to prepare future engineering faculty, these classes are often taught by current faculty members with limited breadth of experience in dealing with difficult students or difficult situations. Formal teaching methods are often not supplied – and practical experience is limited, often resulting in poor and ineffective communication between faculty and students.

This paper will address a potential solution towards preparing graduate students in becoming future engineering faculty. The paper will focus on several engineering graduate students who participated in a grant linking their education, research, and career development. The development of the graduate students in the program is rooted in a 20 hour a week commitment to develop and implement self-created, engineering and research related lessons in local high schools throughout the academic year. The paper will analyze the impact of the program’s required summer class, yearlong practicum classes, mentoring activities, and self-reflection on the individual graduate students’ ability to effectively communicate their research and lessons to the high school students.

The paper will use data collected throughout the previous year, from the summer instructional planning class, weekly graduate student reflections, weekly practicum classes, self-reflection notes from bi-weekly meetings with the high school teachers, meetings with the faculty mentors, and most importantly from data collected after several key major lessons taught by each graduate student at their locally assigned high schools.

Currently in its ninth year, program findings indicate that the experiences in this program have a positive effect on the communication abilities of the graduate students. In particular, the students’ ability to take their current research and effectively communicate it to high school students with limited technical knowledge and experiences will be showcased. The focus of this paper will be on the previous engineering graduate students, each assigned to a different school with diverse culture and economic backgrounds and each working with four different teachers in that school.

Project STEP Overview Our project is currently in its ninth year of funding. Bringing well communicated engineering concepts, based on a city theme and graduate student research, into high school classrooms is the main focus of the project. The graduate students, called STEP Fellows, are the main focus of the grant. The STEP Fellows, 15 from 2006 to 2009, are trained to bring their complex graduate research to an understandable and interesting K-12 level. This process instills better communication skills in the STEP Fellows and breaks any reservations of working with the K-12 environment once employed as a university faculty member. On average the University of Cincinnati’s (UC) Project STEP partners with five high schools a year. At each high school we

Burrows, A., & Kukreti, A., & Borowczak, M., & Safwat, A. (2010, June), Improving Future Faculty With Graduate Engineering Education Paper presented at 2010 Annual Conference & Exposition, Louisville, Kentucky. 10.18260/1-2--16917

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