Salt Lake City, Utah
June 23, 2018
June 23, 2018
July 27, 2018
A team of engineering faculty, in collaboration with professionals around campus, designed a new teaching and leadership program and successfully offered it as a pilot course for two semesters, beginning in the spring of 2017. Motivated to prepare graduate students for careers in both academia and industry, this program aims to enhance the teaching skills of graduate teaching assistants (GTAs) while simultaneously augmenting their professional skills. Our goal is to train the next generation of leaders who will possess technical and academic expertise as well as critical skills such as communication, organization, and relationship-building. The majority of GTAs do not have prior teaching experience when they start their appointments. Although workshops offered by a campus-level teaching center are a quick and efficient way to introduce new GTAs to their role, follow-up programs are needed to further develop their teaching effectiveness and to properly train them in the specific teaching requirements of their disciplines. Teaching can play a prominent role in the professional development of GTAs. Nearly half of graduate students will take up careers outside of academia, but a typical PhD program provides little direct training for leadership in a non-academic setting. However, by learning to teach well, GTAs develop many leadership and communication skills that will transfer well to their future careers. Activities such as organizing and presenting material, working effectively with instructors and fellow GTAs, and communicating effectively with students present an opportunity to develop communication and leadership skills that will be highly valued whether the GTA goes into academia or industry. For the first iteration, we focused on the design of the program, based on literature and in collaboration with various university education professionals. In the second iteration, we initiated strategic partnerships with various engineering departments, resulting in a dramatic increase in enrollment. We have also deepened the integrative components between teaching skills and leadership skills in the course based on our reflection and feedback from the first iteration. Our program evaluation uses two surveys: the STEM GTA-Teaching Self-Efficacy Scale and a modified version of Alpay and Walsh's skill-perception inventory. The STEM GTA-Teaching Self-Efficacy Scale evaluates teaching assistants' belief in their ability to teach in the STEM area. Alpay and Walsh's skills-perception inventory assesses the participants' perceptions of transferable leadership skills, such as time management, self-awareness, communication, and teamwork. We modified the inventory to see if GTAs perceived that teaching would provide them with opportunities to enhance transferable leadership skills. In this presentation, we will describe our collaborative design process, strategic partnerships with various engineering departments, and enhancements of the integrative approach. Additionally, we will discuss students’ perception in enhancing their teaching and leadership skills and viewing teaching opportunities to foster transferable leadership skills though our program.
Choi, H. H., & Chen, Y. W., & Beckman, A. M., & Anderson, L., & Johnson, B. E., & Goodman, M. D., & Migotsky, C., & Johnson-Glauch, N. (2018, June), Integrative Engineering Leadership Initiative for Teaching Excellence (iELITE) Paper presented at 2018 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition , Salt Lake City, Utah. https://peer.asee.org/30696
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