411191 Leveraging Your Best Students: An Undergraduate Leadership, Teaching, and Mentoring Program

Monday, November 9, 2015: 2:36 PM
Alpine West (Hilton Salt Lake City Center)
Daniel D. Burkey, Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering, University of Connecticut, Storrs, CT

As undergraduate populations increase and graduate assitantships level or decline, competition for additional teaching resources for large classes can become challenging. At the University of Connecticut in the past three years the freshman population has grown from ~450 in 2012, to a predicted ~750 in 2015, while graduate enrollment, faculty hiring, and other resources have not grown at a comparable pace. This has put strains on a variety of lower-level classes, especially in classes that serve multiple disciplines and not just their own cohort of students. To help alleviate this strain, the School of Engineering has developed a Leadership, Teaching, and Mentoring Fellowship program for our top achieving Junior and Senior undergraduates. Eligible students are asked to apply to the program, and after being vetted as qualified (3.5 GPA or higher, a B or better in the class they are assigned to mentor, review of their resume and short essay) are assigned to a first or second year course (for juniors) or potentially a third year course (seniors). Students in the program are expected to hold at least three hours of problem sessions or office hours per week, in addition to 10 hours of grading homework, problem sets, or quizzes. They also take a 3-credit class in Leadership, Teaching, and Mentoring that meets once a week and provides them with information valuable in their new role as an Undergraduate Teaching Assistant, such as ethics, conflict resolution, communication, time management, and learning styles. This class has been offered in both F14 and S15 with very positive results, and has deployed about 60 undergraduate teaching assistants across the school of engineering, for a cost that is comparable to two graduate student assistants. The integration of these undergraduate teaching assistants into a flipped version of the Introductory Chemical Engineering course at the University of Connecticut will also be discussed.

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