A Faculty Teaching Competence Enhancement Model: A Mentoring Approach

A Faculty Teaching Competence Enhancement Model: A Mentoring Approach

S. Loyer, N. Maureira (2014).  A Faculty Teaching Competence Enhancement Model: A Mentoring Approach. 10.

Faculty enhancement is a big challenge, if not the greatest, when implementing a CDIO curriculum or any student centered/active learning approach. In the case of Chilean Engineering schools, most have relied on traditional “training” techniques, like courses, seminars or workshops, given mostly by educational experts. The workshops are among the most effective “training mechanism”, because it also allows the guidance of the expert through the process. But how far can this guidance go, considering that their expertise is not in the specific field that the trainee must teach? A few of these experts have acquired enough of the engineering expertise to help them guide them all the way, but this is the rare case. So the question arouses: How do we prepare our Engineering teachers for this new era? Should all faculty go through the same process or should distinctions be made depending on the teacher’s profile? And how do we make the most of the existing know how of the early adopters?

The answers came out of the teaching community that functions in an informal way within the Civil Engineering Department at UCSC. The first lesson learned during the design of the CDIO curriculum [1], was that this is an engineering process itself and the same philosophy is applicable to Faculty enhancement. Therefore, this paper addresses the faculty enhancement process implemented in the department of civil engineering at UCSC, with a professor with no previous CDIO experience and who had a traditional teaching approach. For this purpose, he was teamed up with another Faculty (an Engineer as well), who had 14 years of active learning experience. The method used was very similar to that of an apprenticeship and the term “transfer” was coined to describe this process, being this a familiar term used in engineering innovation. The transfer process has several stages, being the first breaking the old teaching paradigms. This is a crucial stage of creating awareness of the students’ learning process: How does the human brain learn and what kind of active learning activities lead to meaningful learning? This understanding automatically puts a cloud over traditional passive teaching methods, and making it evident for the teacher apprentice that the teaching methods must be student centered because students must build their knowledge and understanding through their own learning process. Therefore as a result of this stage teachers realize that their job is no longer to just prepare good lectures, but to plan out the students’ learning process and come up with active learning experiences to induce this process.

The transfer process was done for the statics course, which had already been redesigned under a CDIO approach [2] (CDIO standards 1, 6, 8).

The results of this experience have been positive for both faculties and it set a new standard for faculty enhancement in the department. In the opinion of the apprentice, this was an efficient way to transfer know how, because it occurred in one semester and it combined his training and “teaching job” in the same room.

Proceedings of the 10th International CDIO Conference, Barcelona, Spain, June 15-19 2014

Authors (New): 
Solange Loyer
Nelson Maureira
Universidad Católica de la Santísima Concepción, Chile
Faculty enhancement
Active learning
learning cycles
learning process
CDIO Standard 1
CDIO Standard 2
CDIO Standard 5
CDIO Standard 8
CDIO Standard 9
CDIO Standard 10
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