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Year-Long Faculty Development Program for New Engineering Instructors: Description and Evaluation

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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

Faculty Development Evidence-based Practices!

Tagged Division

Faculty Development Division

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Paper Authors


Chris Migotsky University of Illinois

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Chris Migotsky is the Coordinator of Faculty Teaching Programs within the College of Engineering at the University of Illinois. He also has college-level academic advising duties with undergraduate students from all departments. He focuses on faculty development, curriculum change, and assessment and evaluation related to teaching and learning.

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Year-Long Faculty Development Program for New Engineering Instructors: Description and Evaluation

This evidence-based practice paper reports on a year-long faculty development program for new engineering faculty members: its structure, its rationale, and its impact. Participants in the program are new faculty of any rank, and include tenure-track and teaching-track individuals. The program has existed for more than 20 years, but it went through a major revision and restructuring several years ago when it expanded to a year-long format with weekly meetings, classroom observations of the new faculty, visits to excellent teachers, and collection and review of student feedback. In addition to a full description of the program, evaluative data will be reported from the participant’s end-of-year survey results and an analysis of the faculty members student ratings of instruction compared to non-program participants.

The program for new faculty focuses on four key elements: weekly lunch seminars, live observations of the new instructors in their classrooms, visits to classrooms of excellent engineering instructors, and collection of midterm and end-of-semester student evaluations of teaching. The weekly seminars deal primarily with teaching related content that new instructors need to perform well in the classroom (e.g., learning objectives, Bloom’s Taxonomy, grading rubrics, active learning, questioning strategies, inclusive teaching). Other non-teaching topics complement the schedule to provide a fuller experience and match first-year faculty needs (research support, recruiting graduate students, advising).

While the weekly lunch seminars form the core of the year-long program, faculty still need direct feedback and an opportunity to model successful instructors. By incorporating live classroom observations of the new faculty, they receive feedback from trained observers, including a post-observation debriefing and one-page summary report indicating strengths and areas for improvement. The faculty member also completes a self-reflection worksheet after the observation to facilitate insights and enable a thorough discussion at the post-observation meeting. Around this same time, the new instructors are collecting midterm feedback from their students. By combining student feedback with peer feedback, along with their own reflections, the new faculty have a good starting point to build on their strengths and remediate their weaknesses. Finally, faculty sign up in small groups, with a program coordinator, to visit an excellent engineering instructor, observe the class, and discuss what methods they might borrow and implement in their own classrooms. Themes from these excellent teacher visits are reinforced in the weekly seminars.

Evaluation of the program focuses on participants overall satisfaction, ratings of specific aspects of the program, and open-ended comments regarding best features and suggestions for change. The results of the faculty feedback will be combined with an analysis of their student ratings of instruction compared to peers who did not complete the program. Components of the program that appear crucial for success will be highlighted so other engineering campuses might adopt a similar program efficiently and successfully.

Preferred presentation style: traditional lecture

Migotsky, C. (2020, June), Year-Long Faculty Development Program for New Engineering Instructors: Description and Evaluation Paper presented at 2020 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access, Virtual On line . 10.18260/1-2--35714

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