Asee peer logo

Preparing Graduate Engineering Students For Academia: Assessment Of A Teaching Fellowship

Download Paper |


2009 Annual Conference & Exposition


Austin, Texas

Publication Date

June 14, 2009

Start Date

June 14, 2009

End Date

June 17, 2009



Conference Session

Improving the Teaching Skills of Graduate Students

Tagged Division

Graduate Studies

Page Count


Page Numbers

14.975.1 - 14.975.16



Permanent URL

Download Count


Request a correction

Paper Authors

author page

Erin Crede Virginia Tech


Maura Borrego Virginia Tech

visit author page

MAURA BORREGO is an Assistant Professor of Engineering Education at Virginia Tech. Dr.
Borrego holds an M.S. and Ph.D. in Materials Science and Engineering from Stanford University.
Her current research interests center around interdisciplinary graduate education in engineering. She has an NSF CAREER and Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers (PECASE) award for this work.

visit author page

Download Paper |

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

Preparing Graduate Engineering Students for Academia: Assessment of a Teaching Fellowship Abstract:

We report on a graduate teaching fellowship program with the objective of mentoring doctoral students through teaching experience. Incoming doctoral students compete for these prestigious assistantships, which award students with a tablet PC, augmented stipend, and increasing teaching responsibility over three years. The first year of the program is spent teaching a freshman engineering course. The second year graduate fellows serve as instructors for an upper level course in their home departments. As a follow on to a previous assessment of the first year, this paper focuses on an assessment of the second year of the program, in which graduate fellows are closer to their departments’ technical expertise but isolated from each other. Qualitative interview data was collected from both the graduate fellows and their faculty mentors and analyzed to evaluate the fellows’ teaching and mentoring experiences as instructors within their respective departments. It was found that the fellows experienced a large increase in workload compared to the freshman teaching assignment, but they enjoyed the increased level of responsibility. Fellows also felt that this increased workload enhanced their time management skills and ability to balance a teaching and research agenda, skills that they would need to be successful as future professors. Various practices were used by faculty mentors including: weekly meetings, class observations, class observation feedback journals, and formal and informal course planning sessions. Mentors observed positive gains in the fellows’ speaking, presentation, and time management skills. Additionally mentors noted that while the goal of the fellowship was met, the written guidelines should be clearer to facilitate the fellows’ transition between the levels of responsibility within the program. Fellows commented they experienced very little interaction with the other fellows or mentors from outside their department, compared to the first year program. Recommendations include adding social or continued development activities, reviewing the fellowship guidelines, and establishing an interdepartmental feedback and review system.

I. Introduction

While those holding faculty positions within a college or university are expected to be active in research, teaching, service and outreach, little is done at the graduate level to prepare students for the demands of balancing these roles. Many students who complete a doctoral degree have strong backgrounds in research and generating scholarly publications, but have limited practical experience balancing the responsibilities of a junior faculty member. This paper describes the assessment of a Graduate Teaching Fellowship (GTF) program that was developed to address this deficiency. The primary objective of the GTF program is to better prepare interested doctoral students for an academic career in a university setting, with central programmatic focus on the instructional aspects of being a faculty member. The exact timeline for each fellow varies slightly, but the prescribed program progression has the fellow teaching the first year with the college’s freshman program, then moving to his or her home department for two years of a mentored teaching experience. The fellow will see an increase in teaching responsibility that spans the 3 years of the program, culminating in sole responsibility for an

Crede, E., & Borrego, M. (2009, June), Preparing Graduate Engineering Students For Academia: Assessment Of A Teaching Fellowship Paper presented at 2009 Annual Conference & Exposition, Austin, Texas. 10.18260/1-2--4999

ASEE holds the copyright on this document. It may be read by the public free of charge. Authors may archive their work on personal websites or in institutional repositories with the following citation: © 2009 American Society for Engineering Education. Other scholars may excerpt or quote from these materials with the same citation. When excerpting or quoting from Conference Proceedings, authors should, in addition to noting the ASEE copyright, list all the original authors and their institutions and name the host city of the conference. - Last updated April 1, 2015