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Prospective Professors in Training: A Transition Program for Ph.D. Candidates in Engineering

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2013 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Atlanta, Georgia

Publication Date

June 23, 2013

Start Date

June 23, 2013

End Date

June 26, 2013



Conference Session

Training and Support for NEEs

Tagged Division

New Engineering Educators

Page Count


Page Numbers

23.1003.1 - 23.1003.13



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Paper Authors


Chirag Variawa University of Toronto

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Chirag Variawa is a Ph.D. Candidate in Industrial Engineering at the University of Toronto. His research is in using artificial intelligence to maximize the accessibility of language used in engineering education instructional materials. His work on the Board of Governors at the University of Toronto further serves to improve accessibility for all members of the university community.

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Sherif N Kinawy University of Toronto

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Sherif Kinawy is a Research Assistant at the University of Toronto in the Construction Management Group, Department of Civil Engineering. His research work focuses on empowering communities to become engaged in the sustainable planning of cities. Sherif is one of the assistants for the Prospective Professors in Training Program which is run by the Faculty of Applied Science and Engineering at the University of Toronto

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D. Grant Allen University of Toronto

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D. Grant Allen, is a Professor and Chair of the Department of Chemical Engineering and Applied Chemistry at the University of Toronto. He obtained his Ph.D. in Chemical Engineering from the University of Waterloo and his M.A.Sc. and B.A.Sc. (8T1) from the University of Toronto. He joined the faculty at UofT in 1987. From 2001 to 2003 he was the Director and, before that (1988-2001), Associate Director, of the Pulp & Paper Centre at the University of Toronto, a Centre recognized as a model for University/Industry Collaboration in research and education. He was the Associate Chair (Graduate Studies) in the Department of Chemical Engineering & Applied Chemistry from 2003 to 2007. He was also the President of the Canadian Society for Chemical Engineering in 2008/2009, during which time we hosted the 8th World Congress of Chemical Engineering. He was appointed Vice-Dean (Undergraduate) for the Faculty in 2007 until 2011 and has been Chair of his Department since July 1, 2011.

Professor Allen’s area of research interest is in environmental bioprocess engineering, with particular application to the treatment of aqueous and gaseous emissions and adding value to wastes by utilizing them for the production of energy, materials and chemicals. He has over 100 refereed publications and has supervised more than 20 doctoral students, over 30 research masters and 12 postdoctoral fellows. He was named teacher of the year in 2007 and the ASEE spread the word campus award with Prof Susan McCahan in 2010.

Professor Allen’s contributions to research, education and his profession have resulted in him being named a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the Chemical Institute of Canada, the Engineering Institute of Canada and the Canadian Academy of Engineering.

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Chris Damaren University of Toronto


Susan McCahan University of Toronto

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Susan McCahan is Vice-Dean, Undergraduate, and is a Professor in the Department of Mechanical & Industrial Engineering in the Faculty of Applied Science and Engineering at the University of Toronto.

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Bryan Karney

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Bryan W. Karney graduated from UBC in Bio-Resource Engineering in 1980 and completed his Ph.D. in Civil Engineering, also for UBC, in 1984. He is currently a professor of Civil Engineering and the Associate Dean of Cross Disciplinary Programs at the University of Toronto. He is also the principal of HydraTek & Associates Inc, a hydraulic transient analysis specialty firm. Dr. Karney is the senior hydraulic transient specialist in the company with almost 30 years of direct experience in providing hydraulic and hydraulic transient consulting services on a wide range of fluid pipe systems, including water, wastewater, oil, gas, and jet fuel. Bryan has spoken and written widely on subjects related to water resource systems, energy issues, hydrology, climate change, engineering education and ethics. He was Associate Editor for the ASCE’s Journal of Hydraulic Engineering from 1993 to 2005. He has written or co-written numerous journal papers and articles, including the book titled “Comprehensive Water Distribution Systems Analysis Handbooks for Engineers and Planners, published by MWH Soft. Bryan has won a number of teaching awards and recognitions including being a finalist in the TVO’s best lecturer competition and received the American Water Works Association’s (AWWA) award for the Best Engineering and Construction Publication Article for 2008. Dr. Karney was awarded the Northrop Frye award for excellence in teaching and research in 2009.

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Prospective Professors in Training Program for Ph.D. Candidates in EngineeringFor the past 6 years, a large North American university has been offering a training program forsenior-level Ph.D. Candidates in Engineering as they prepare for life after graduation.Specifically, the Prospective Professors in Training (PPIT) program offers a year-longcurriculum that includes seminars, activities and a theoretical course aimed to promote teachingand research excellence for individuals seeking to become engineering educators. The studentsof the course interact with current professors and experts from a variety of engineeringdisciplines on topics pertaining to the interview process, acquiring funding, developing aresearch program, building a research team, the tenure process, and so on. In addition, thestudents are expected to enroll in a theoretical course that examines the fundamentals ofengineering teaching. The course introduces elements of learning theories, engineeringpedagogy and accessible instruction, and challenges students to develop a teaching philosophyand an academic dossier – both of which are reviewed by current faculty with much feedbackgiven to the students.This study examines the PPIT program over a six-year period and attempts to understand areasof strengths and potential improvement. It analyzes the content of each of the seminars as wellas provides insight about how the theoretical concepts were received. The analyses compare theperceptions of the course longitudinally and use them to understand the impact of the PPITprogram on the professional development of the students. Specifically, each student was askedto complete a questionnaire before and after the PPIT program and, as a result, we have gathereda dataset that includes information on how the course has evolved over time. Quantitative dataprovided by student feedback is analyzed in addition to open-ended comments received toimprove the course each year. As we develop the course for next year, this study provides aframework that can assist in the development and improvement of similar programs in otherinstitutions going forward.

Variawa, C., & Kinawy, S. N., & Allen, D. G., & Damaren, C., & McCahan, S., & Karney, B. (2013, June), Prospective Professors in Training: A Transition Program for Ph.D. Candidates in Engineering Paper presented at 2013 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Atlanta, Georgia. 10.18260/1-2--22388

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