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Shifting Perspectives on Acceptable Classroom Behavior

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2020 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access


Virtual On line

Publication Date

June 22, 2020

Start Date

June 22, 2020

End Date

June 26, 2021

Conference Session

Mechanical Engineering Technical Session: Curriculum and Education

Tagged Division

Mechanical Engineering

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Paper Authors


Randall D. Manteufel University of Texas at San Antonio

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Dr. Randall Manteufel is an Associate Professor of Mechanical Engineering at The University of Texas at San Antonio (UTSA). He has won several teaching awards, including the 2012 University of Texas System Regent’s Outstanding Teaching Award and the 2013 UTSA President’s Distinguished Achievement Award for Teaching Excellence, the 2010, 2014, 2018 and 2019 College of Engineering Student Council Professor of the Year Award, 2008 Excellence in Teaching Award for College of Engineering, and 2004-2005 Mechanical Engineering Instructor of the year award, 1999 ASEE-GSW Outstanding New Faculty Award. Dr. Manteufel is a Fellow of ASME with teaching and research interests in the thermal sciences. In 2015-2016, he chaired the American Society for Engineering Education Gulf Southwest section and in 2018-2019 he chaired the Academy of Distinguished Teaching Scholars at UTSA. He is a registered Professional Engineer in Texas.

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Amir Karimi P.E. University of Texas at San Antonio

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Amir Karimi, University of Texas, San Antonio
Amir Karimi is a Professor of Mechanical Engineering at The University of Texas at San Antonio (UTSA). He received his Ph.D. degree in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Kentucky in 1982. His teaching and research interests are in thermal sciences. He has served as the Chair of Mechanical Engineering (1987 to 1992 and September 1998 to January of 2003), College of Engineering Associate Dean of Academic Affairs (Jan. 2003-April 2006), and the Associate Dean of Undergraduate Studies (April 2006-September 2013). Dr. Karimi is a Fellow of ASEE, a Fellow of ASME, senior member of AIAA, and holds membership in ASHRAE, and Sigma Xi. He has served as the ASEE Campus Representative at UTSA, ASEE-GSW Section Campus Representative, and served as the Chair of ASEE Zone III (2005-07). He chaired the ASEE-GSW section during the 1996-97 academic year.

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Faculty will benefit from understanding the shifting perspectives on acceptable behavior for instructors and students in the classroom. There has been a significant shift where student behavior in the classroom which would have been considered unacceptable is now acceptable (or at least should be tolerated), and likewise instructor behavior which was once acceptable (or at least tolerated) is now unacceptable. The accepted norms are not solely based on the perspective of the instructor. When an instructor doesn’t adjust to the changing norms, they can find themselves unsupported by the University in a conflict with a student. This paper focuses on helping instructors understand areas of shifting norms in the areas of: student tardy to class, student sleeping in class, student using laptop/tablet/iPad in class, and student using a phone in class. Some instructors may need to allow certain student behaviors even if they “bug” the instructor and even if the instructor believes it is disrespectful. In a survey conducted for this paper, students describe how some instructors have yelled at a student, criticized a student, complained about students, or told an offensive joke. At times, students may perceive these actions as belittling, humiliating, ridiculing or shaming a student, even if that is not the instructor’s intention. Instructors are encouraged to reevaluate and avoid behaviors that may be misinterpreted by students.

Manteufel, R. D., & Karimi, A. (2020, June), Shifting Perspectives on Acceptable Classroom Behavior Paper presented at 2020 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access, Virtual On line . 10.18260/1-2--35190

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