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The Teaching Fellows Program: Undergraduate Partners In Teaching

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2003 Annual Conference


Nashville, Tennessee

Publication Date

June 22, 2003

Start Date

June 22, 2003

End Date

June 25, 2003



Conference Session

Intro to Engineering: Not Just 1st Year Engineers

Page Count


Page Numbers

8.1173.1 - 8.1173.8



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Paper Authors

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Janet Schmidt

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

Session 1153

Teaching Fellows Program: Undergraduate Partners in Teaching

Dr. Janet A. Schmidt, Ms. Jane F. Fines, and Dr. Gary A. Pertmer

University of Maryland College Park


One of the most significant and enduring legacies of the NSF-sponsored ECSEL coalition at the University of Maryland at College Park is the Teaching Fellows program. Begun in 1992, the program was originally conceived as an opportunity for advanced undergraduates to assist faculty in the delivery of the Introduction to Engineering Design (ENES 100) class. Because ENES 100 was designed to be a "hands on" experience where first year students were introduced to the design process through the realization of an actual product (e.g., human powered water pump) by working in small teams, Teaching Fellows (called TFs) have a variety of roles atypical of most undergraduate teaching assistants.2 Specifically, TFs act as role models, tutors, and team facilitators in addition to assisting the faculty member with tasks such as grading, supervising study sessions and occasionally teaching a class section on material related to the class project or team dynamics. The purpose of the present paper is to describe the Teaching Fellows program today, ten years after its inception. While many features have remained virtually the same, significant changes in the students targeted for inclusion in the TF program, their training, as well as the curriculum completed by the first year students merit an update at this time.


Technology has made the recruitment of TFs easier than it was ten years ago. Students are informed of the opportunity to become a TF by the college's electronic list serv (FYI: For Your Information). Minimum requirements include satisfactory GPA, prior successful experience with the course, and interest in completing the required one credit seminar (ENES 388T Seminar in College Teaching). Applications are also provided online and ask students to provide a description of their college activities including involvement in student organizations and projects, relevant leadership, tutoring, or teaching experiences, as well as a statement of interest in the TF position. Transcripts and references are also required. Based on these materials, a group of qualified applicants is invited to be interviewed.

Interviews with interested students are conducted by the Associate Dean of Engineering. The students’ academic records are reviewed, their prior experience with the course, including identification of the strengths and weaknesses associated with the particular project being done in ENES 100 that year, and background in teaching or tutoring. Expectations for the position are explained including the time commitment (ten hours per week), attendance in some percentage of the ENES 100 class sessions, office hours and tutoring duties, as well as the required training and seminar. Unlike in years past, juniors and seniors are encouraged to apply to the TF

Proceedings of the 2003 American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference & Exposition Copyright © 2003, American Society for Engineering Education

Schmidt, J. (2003, June), The Teaching Fellows Program: Undergraduate Partners In Teaching Paper presented at 2003 Annual Conference, Nashville, Tennessee. 10.18260/1-2--12468

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: © 2003 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