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Engineering Faculty Attend Seminar Designed to Impart Good Teaching Fundamentals

An audience of faculty members from the Frank Batten College of Engineering and Technology (BCET) sat recently for a lecture about something they know inside and out - bridges and bridge construction.

But this was no ordinary lecture.

The talk was by Ron Welch, professor and chair of civil engineering at the University of Texas at Tyler, and it included music, toy cars and foam rubber pool toys. But it had an important subtext.

Welch, program developer and instructor in the Excellence in Civil Engineering Education (EXCEED) program, told the young faculty if the people teaching engineering aren't engaging and knowledgeable, future generations of engineers COPY MISSING.

To illustrate his point, Welch showed the faculty members slides of bridges that collapsed because of faulty engineering.

"They trust us not to have these failures," Welch said. "All of these failures are because somebody didn't do their job. We have to start first by making sure we know our trade."

Welch was one of the guest lecturers at the EXCEED program sponsored by the Batten College Aug. 20-21.

Linda Vahala, BCET associate dean, said the faculty workshop was started last year as a resource for new and current faculty.

"The workshop covers many topics - including learning styles - which are very important for faculty and students," Vahala said.

"Since engineering topics are complex, using effective and proven engineering teaching methods is important. We invite faculty from other colleges to attend, so they can benefit as well."

Some of the topics covered in the workshop included principles of effective teaching; communication, writing and speech; planning a class; and preparation of tests and assessment.

EXCEED was created 11 years ago by the American Society of Civil Engineers. It is now supported and embraced by department heads and deans across the United States.

This article was posted on: August 28, 2009

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