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Participation in an Undergraduate Teaching Assistantship: Experiences, Influences, and Outcomes

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2012 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


San Antonio, Texas

Publication Date

June 10, 2012

Start Date

June 10, 2012

End Date

June 13, 2012



Conference Session

FPD I: Research on First-year Programs Part I

Tagged Division

First-Year Programs

Page Count


Page Numbers

25.1026.1 - 25.1026.15



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Paper Authors


Kerry Meyers University of Notre Dame

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Kerry L. Meyers is a professional faculty member in the College of Engineering at Notre Dame and an instructor and Co-coordinator in the First-year Engineering program, and she is also involved with students at a variety of levels, including a graduate student teaching apprentice program, an undergraduate peer mentoring program, and STEM outreach. She has a B.S. in mechanical engineering from Purdue University, M.S. in mechanical engineering from Oakland University, and completed her Ph.D. in engineering education at Purdue University. Meyers has several years of industrial experience in automotive design, but has since shifted her focus to engineering education.

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Victoria E. Goodrich University of Notre Dame


Natalie Gedde University of Notre Dame

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Natalie Gedde is the Engineering Learning Center Manager at the University of Notre Dame. She earned a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering from the University of Illinois and a master’s degree in electrical engineering from the Georgia Institute of Technology.

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Participation in an Undergraduate Teaching Assistantship: Experiences, Influences, and OutcomesFor the past decade, the First-Year Engineering Program at a medium sized, Midwestern privateinstitution has utilized undergraduate students as graders / teaching assistants for theirIntroduction to Engineering Systems course sequence. Anecdotally this has always been a well-functioning program in which students and faculty have a positive, mutually beneficialrelationship that likely led to the selectivity of the program in its current form. The number ofapplicants has varied from year to year, but there have always been significantly more applicantsthan positions available and there is a high return rate (students continuing in the role overmultiple semesters or years). For this reason, it was determined that a more formal assessment ofthe program was needed to better understand: (1) the factors contributing to the success of theprogram, (2) the profile of the student who applies for and is successful in this role, (3) thepersistence rate of student participants relative to the average student in the College ofEngineering. This study takes a dual approach of: (1) historical categorization of thedemographics and performance of the student assistants from 2005-2011 and (2) qualitativeassessment of the student assistants during the 2011-2012 school year. Twelve -14 studentsserve in this role each semester, offering upwards of 175 historical data points. Additionally,there are 14 student assistants during the fall of 2011 who were surveyed asking them to respondto a series of questions relating to their experience, future plans, and self-assessment of theirperformance as undergraduate teaching assistants. The results of both portions of the study areconsidered relative to the “average engineering student” in our program (both in terms ofacademic performance – GPA and demographics—engineering discipline and gender) andreported in this study along with statistically relevant differences to frame a discussion of theexperiences, influences, and outcomes of this program.

Meyers, K., & Goodrich, V. E., & Gedde, N. (2012, June), Participation in an Undergraduate Teaching Assistantship: Experiences, Influences, and Outcomes Paper presented at 2012 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, San Antonio, Texas. 10.18260/1-2--21783

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