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Inaugural School of Engineering Teaching Innovation Fellows selected

February 2, 2024

The first School of Engineering Teaching Innovation Fellows for spring 2024 have been selected, with projects ranging from cybersecurity to photovoltaics.

These awards were established to encourage creativity and innovation in teaching, said Melanie Moses, special assistant to the dean for educational initiatives and professor of computer science.

A call for proposals was issued in the fall, with a committee selecting winners in December. Donna Riley, Jim and Ellen King Dean of Engineering and Computing, provided sufficient funds to fund all faculty who proposed a promising innovative augmentation of their teaching and a plan to evaluate it, Moses said. Each Teaching Innovation Fellow obtained funding for a graduate or undergraduate student to assist them in implementing and evaluating the impact of their innovation.

Moses said the Teaching Innovation Fellowships are designed to support faculty to augment their teaching with new ways to engage students in active learning, or support student learning in creative ways.

“The success of the Teaching Innovation Fellowships rests on the creativity and dedication of our School of Engineering faculty,” she said. “It’s inspiring to see the approaches faculty are taking to support and enhance student learning.”

Faculty had the option to solicit teaching evaluations and participate in specialized training through the Center for Teaching and Learning at UNM for an extra $500 compensation. Most of the participants in the program were also provided with $3,000 for a course assistant. All UNM Engineering faculty are encouraged to look out for Teaching Innovation calls for proposals in the future.

In addition to financial support, the Fellows have support from the Engineering Student Success Center, the Center for Teaching and Learning, Associate Dean for Faculty Affairs Eva Chi, and Vanessa Svihla, special assistant to the dean for learning sciences. Svihla will be evaluating how students progress from the start to the end of the course to determine which learning approaches are most effective.

The recipients and projects are:

  • Afsah Anwar, CS 544/444: Introduction to Cybersecurity. Create a virtual machine infrastructure to enable activities for the course; and initiate a student hacking group.

  • Tito Busani, ECE 484/584: Photovoltaics. Develop projects in collaboration with high school teachers to develop solar farms in rural New Mexico communities.

  • Jamie Gomez, CBE 494L: Advanced Chemical Engineering Design; Senior Engineering Capstone Design Convergence. Activities to bridge gap from theory to innovative practices needed in industry.

  • Liz Godwin, ECE203: Circuit Analysis I. Incorporate active learning and experiential hands-on projects into a section of the course, including a pilot Honors section of the course in 2024.

  • Joseph Haugh, CS 357: Declarative Programming. Add a strongly-guided teaching component to the constructivist pedagogy traditionally used in the class; use flipped classroom small group problem solving to replace one of the three weekly lectures.

  • Anjali Mulchandani, CE 160L: Civil Engineering Design. Add socio-technical design challenges on acid mine drainage and concrete canoe; evaluate students’ CCEE identity and self-efficacy.

  • Soraya Abad-Mota, CS341L: Introduction to Computer Architecture and Organization. Produce supplemental videos to guide students through most difficult components of class and help them jumpstart the three major projects and add value to the lab sessions.

  • Ahmed Hasan, ME150: Introduction to Modern Mechanical Engineering. Add activity-based learning focused on mechanical engineering-related fields; assess impact on this and prior changes to course.

  • Matthew Fricke, CS491: High Performance Computing. Fund an undergraduate peer mentor to work with peers on team problem solving for hands on high-performance computing programming challenges.

  • Shuya Wei, CBE 302: Chemical Engineering Thermodynamics. Redesign the course to focus on a clean energy design challenge.

  • Sakineh Chabi, ME 473/573: Energy Storage and Conversion Systems; enhance the lecture by adding an experimental module to demonstrate hydrogen generation and fuel cell transportation.

  • Wenbin Wan, ME 462/562: Machine Learning for Aerospace. Incorporate mini-videos for programming problems and active learning discussions and pair programming.

  • Trilce Estrada, CS105: Introduction to Computer Programming. Gamify the course with a storyline, different missions and a leaderboard; iterative feedback from students to build the stories.

  • Jared Saia, CS 362: Data Structures and Algorithms II. Incorporate worked examples and "faded worked examples" for guided group problem solving for students to work on in small teams.