Many new engineering faculty members have attained extensive technical knowledge of civil engineering through attainment of a Ph.D. degree and the years of formal education preceding it. They are hired by universities and asked to enter the classroom without any formal training on how to teach. The result is often a trial and error approach where students suffer the consequences. Studies have listed poor teaching as a cause for many students to leave math, science and engineering programs.
In response to the clear need for faculty training, the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) developed and funded the ExCEEd (Excellence in Civil Engineering Education) Teaching Workshop which is celebrating its twentieth year of existence. For the past two decades, 38 ExCEEd Teaching Workshops (ETW) have been held at the United States Military Academy, the University of Arkansas, Northern Arizona University, University of Texas at Tyler, University of Colorado, and Florida Gulf Coast University. The program has 912 graduates from over 252 different U.S. and international colleges and universities. The ExCEEd effort has transformed from one that relied on the grass roots support of its participants to one that is supported and embraced by department heads and deans. This paper summarizes the content of the ETW, assesses its effectiveness, highlights changes in the program as a result of the assessment, and outlines the future direction of the program.
The ETW is a highly intensive, hands-on, five-day workshop consisting of seminars, demonstration classes, and small group labs. The seminars provide information and orientation to the subject of teaching and include practical exercises and small-group activities. ExCEEd faculty members teach three demonstration classes where the 24 workshop participants role-play as students. Most of the workshop consists of small group labs consisting of two faculty members and four workshop participants who will each teach and receive a comprehensive teaching assessment of three classes.
In the end-of-workshop assessment, participants provide their numerical ratings and written comments on the value and content of the major activities. In addition, the ASCE Committee on Faculty Development is conducting a survey of all participants over the past 20 years to gain a broader perspective of the contribution made by the ETW to their teaching and path to tenure. Participants cite substantial improvements in their class organization, presentation skill, and rapport with students as a result of ETW. The paper will present the highlights of this assessment data.
COORDINATING NOTE: This abstract is submitted at the specific invitation and request of Tom Lenox, the coordinator of the ASCE Liaison Committee’s session(s) for the CE Division of ASEE in 2018. It should be considered for inclusion in the sessions on “Educational & Professional Issues of Strategic Importance to the Civil Engineering Profession – and ASCE.” that the ASCE Liaison Committee is organizing.
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