(New) Faculty Forums Rebooted - Engineering excellent beginnings

Edmonton–The Department of Chemical and Materials Engineering reboots the (New) Faculty Forums for the development of teaching excellence in engineering academics. 

The (New) Faculty Forums bring new and long-term engineering faculty members together so that information about best practices can be transferred among this targeted group. The Forums cover a wide range of topics including: developing a vibrant research program, and examining the basis of excellent teaching, leadership, and time management.

While the Forums cover the full spectrum of the professorial experience, Dr. Suzanne Kresta, Professor in the Department of Chemical and Materials Engineering, explained that they are particularly critical for the teaching function because faculty do not generally have any background on the intentional design of education experiences. They will get a chance to learn best practice, help each other, and help young people grow. “Its so much fun for everyone,” Dr. Kresta said, “it’s like fertilizer for faculty. They grow so fast as a result of these discussions, and the support of experienced colleagues.”

Dr. Anastasia Elias, CME Assistant Professor, said, "I am thrilled that this program is being offered again. I participated four years ago when I first joined the department and really appreciated the opportunity to network and learn from others." Now an organizer, Dr. Elias said, “for new professors joining the faculty, there can be unexpected challenges associated with leading a research team, or teaching a course for the first time. Some of the topics that we are offering this year will have a broad appeal, so we are hoping to engage professors at all levels and this includes those coming directly from a graduate program or industry who may benefit from an orientation to the academic environment". 

The (New) Faculty Forums 2013 will be spearheaded by five faculty members from the Department of Chemical and Materials Engineering: Dr. Suzanne Kresta, Dr. Anastasia Elias, Dr. John Nychka, Dr. Dominic Sauvageau and Dr. Larry Unsworth. These five faculty members were quickly joined by representatives from the other engineering departments including: Dr. Robert Driver (CivE), Dr. Ania Ulrich (CivE), Dr. Faye Hicks (CivE), Dr. Samer Adeeb (CivE), Dr. Jeremy Sit (ECE), and Dr. Peter Schiavone (MecE). The idea has expanded to include not only new faculty members, but also tenured faculty who are looking for new ideas and renewal. With the CME Department welcoming five new Professors this fall, and the Faculty of Engineering hiring over 30 new professors over the last three years, the reinvented (New) Faculty Forums come at an opportune time.

The (New) Faculty Forums were created in 1996 by the Career Development Committee, which was formed by the Dean of Engineering David Lynch. The Forums taught the basics of pedagogical knowledge to 120 new faculty members in engineering over a 10-year period. The founding Chair of the (New) Faculty Forums was Dr. Suzanne Kresta,  with strong support from: Dr. Doug Dale (Professor Emeritus, Mechanical Engineering), Dr. Jim McMullen (late Professor and Director, Electrical Engineering), and Dr. Simaan AbouRizk (Professor, Civil and Environmental Engineering). 

In regards to bringing back the Forums, Dr. Kresta said, “the topics are similar, but what we’re doing in the sessions has been totally transformed, it is more intentional and strategic than in the past. There is also an all-new Forum on safety and risk management, that I’m particularly excited about.”

The dates and topics for the (New) Faculty Forums 2013 are as follows:

Time: Tuesdays from 11:30am-1:00pm

Location: ETLC 6-060

*January 15 - Vision for the Faculty; Academic Regulations; Scholarship and Collaborations
Dr. David Lynch (Dean); Dr. Ken Porteous (Associate Dean); Dr. Steve Dew (Associate Dean/Prof. ECE)

January 22 – Recruiting and Growing Great Graduate Students
Dr. Peter Schiavone (MecE), Dr. Janet Elliot (CME), Dr. Michael Brett (ECE), Dr. Masoud Ardakani (ECE), Dr. Ania Ulrich (CivE)

February 5 – Active Learning and Student Engagement
Dr. Larry Unsworth (CME), more TBC

February 26 – Grants and Developing Collaborations
Frank Nolan (Engage), MITACS, Terra Garneau (Research Facilitator), Dr. Steve Dew (Associate Dean/Prof. ECE) 

March 12 - Design of Effective Examples: Bloom’s Cognitive Levels and Learning Objectives
Dr. John Nychka (CME) and Dr. Suzanne Kresta (CME)

March 15 - Learning Environment and Language in Engineering Education
Dr. Susan McCahan, University of Toronto, Canada (DBR Speaker)

*March 26 – Understanding the Faculty Evaluation Committee
Dr. Horacio Marquez (ECE) and Dr. Roger Cheng (CivE) 

April 9 – Safety Leadership Workshop
Gord Winkel (CME), John Cocchio (CME), Andree Koenig (CME) 

*New Faculty (hired in the last three years) Forum, by invitation only

Dr. Kresta concluded, “change is possible, it is rewarding, and it improves student learning by creating an inspired teaching culture.”

Keep up to date on the New Faculty Forums by visiting the events webpage.