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Lessons Learned: Collaborative Faculty Development in Civil Engineering—Moving from an Individual Practice of Teaching to a Community of Scholars of Teaching and Learning

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2018 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Salt Lake City, Utah

Publication Date

June 23, 2018

Start Date

June 23, 2018

End Date

July 27, 2018

Conference Session

Faculty Development Lessons Learned Poster Session

Tagged Topic

Faculty Development Constituency Committee

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Elizabeth G. Jones University of Nebraska, Lincoln Orcid 16x16

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Teaching practices falling under the general area of active learning have been shown likely to improve student learning outcomes in undergraduate STEM courses (Freeman, Eddy et al. 2014). At our university, an NSF funded project, has sought to raise awareness of and support proficiency in active learning in STEM. Several civil engineering faculty have participated in the activities of this program and individually they have implemented teaching practices such as peer instruction in their classes. To better support efforts of individual civil engineering faculty (both those participating in the NSF funded project activities and those not) in the use of active learning teaching practices, a group of civil engineering faculty have formed a collaborative group that seeks not only to instill excellence in their individual teaching but also to move their teaching from the private and informal practice of teaching to the more systematic and public scholarship of teaching and learning (SoTL) (Kern, Mettetal et al. 2015). This group is committed to grounding their work in the scholarly literature and using “evidence-informed approaches” (Vajoczki, Savage et al. 2011) to produce peer-reviewed publications/ presentations. The goal of the group is to establish a robust culture of SoTL in the department. The specific objectives are to 1) identify active learning teaching practices of interest to the group through collective reading and discussion of books like “Small Teaching” (Lang 2016), 2) become familiar with the larger scholarly literature for the practices identified, 3) develop class material incorporating the identified practices with fidelity, 4) work with discipline-based educational researchers to develop systematic research to test hypotheses about the teaching practices, and 5) present the results of the research in peer-reviewed publications/ presentations. Currently one teaching practice, peer instruction, has been identified and four of the faculty in the group are in the process of conducting systematic research to validate the efficacy of peer instruction in civil engineering education. Other teaching practices for similar SoTL work are under discussion by the group. The impact of the group on the department’s teaching practices is being measured by use of the teaching practices inventory (TPI) (Wieman and Gilbert 2014). It is expected that the TPI scores will shift towards higher use of teaching practices shown likely to improve student learning outcomes over time as the collaborative faculty development group establishes a robust culture of SoTL in the department.

Freeman, S., S. L. Eddy, M. McDonough, M. K. Smith, N. Okoroafor, H. Jordt and M. P. Wenderoth (2014). "Active learning increases student performance in science, engineering, and mathematics." Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A 111(23): 8410-8415. Kern, B., G. Mettetal, M. Dixson and R. K. Morgan (2015). "The role of SoTL in the academy: Upon the 25th anniversary of Boyer’s Scholarship Reconsidered." Journal of the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning 15(3). Lang, J. M. (2016). Small Teaching. San Francisco, CA, Joessy-Bass. Vajoczki, S., P. Savage, L. Martin, P. Borin and E. Kustra (2011). "Good Teachers, Scholarly Teachers and Teachers Engaged in Scholarship of Teaching and Learning: A Case Study from McMaster University, Hamilton, Canada." The Canadian Journal for the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning 2(1). Wieman, C. and S. Gilbert (2014). "The teaching practices inventory: a new tool for characterizing college and university teaching in mathematics and science." CBE Life Sci Educ 13(3): 552-569.

Jones, E. G. (2018, June), Lessons Learned: Collaborative Faculty Development in Civil Engineering—Moving from an Individual Practice of Teaching to a Community of Scholars of Teaching and Learning Paper presented at 2018 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition , Salt Lake City, Utah. 10.18260/1-2--30768

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