Professional Development Workshops

The goal of these workshops is to expose faculty in the Chemical & Biological Engineering department (and more broadly at UNM) to new pedagogical approaches to teaching and to prepare them to engage in the changes being implemented in the department to transform education in the chemical engineering department.


Education Research Opportunities and Peer Observation of Teaching, Prof. Aeron Haynie, Director of the Center for Teaching Excellence at UNM, August 18th, 2017. Prof. Haynie spoke about her center’s Teaching Fellows program. This project is open to faculty and graduate students to implement changes in the classroom and disseminate findings through the literature. She described the Center’s program of peer observation of teaching, where faculty observe each other’s courses multiple times and provide objective data, feedback, and professional observations.

Teaching Large Classes, Prof. Matt Libertore, University of Toledo, January 24th, 2018. Prof. Libertore presented best practices for teaching a course of 60-70 students: making sure there are enough instructors in the class during class time, making students sit in assigned seats, instructors interacting with students during class (walking around and answering questions), conducting office hours in the student lounge, writing exams which make cheating difficult, submitting assignments online, making students write their own exam solution, getting to know each student by name, humanizing the instructor and describing what he/she does besides teaching that course, and making sure to listen to students, collect feedback, and make changes when appropriate.

Reading Analytics When Using An Interactive Textbook, Prof. Matt Libertore, University of Toledo, January 24th, 2018. Prof. Libertore in this talk presented research which demonstrated that students over the past 25 years have rarely read textbooks, even though their greatest learning and long term memory gains come through visual learning. This problem can be addressed by implementing a flipped classroom environment where students read an interactive textbook before class (such as Material and Energy Balances, available through zyBooks), answer questions and solve problems from the interactive textbook interface, and come to class prepared to ask questions, interact, work on problems, and discuss concepts in teams.

Peer Observation of Teaching, Prof. Aeron Haynie, Director of the Center for Teaching Excellence at UNM, January 12th, 2018. Prof. Haynie presented the benefits and process of conducting peer observation of teaching. This program, facilitated and guided by the Center for Teaching Excellence (CTE), involves faculty observing each other’s courses multiple times. Faculty pairs can provide requested data, feedback, professional observations, discussion points, and a sounding board for ideas and concerns. She emphasized the importance of objective collection of observations, including how faculty speak to and interact with students in a classroom environment.

Teaching Students Effective Teamwork Skills, Dr. Marina Miletic, January 12th, 2018. Dr. Miletic conducted a workshop during the department faculty retreat in response to CBE faculty concerns of managing time-consuming and exhausting conflicts between students working in groups. She emphasized strong student teamwork skills are developed through proactive teaching of effective teaming so conflicts are inherently limited or avoided. She explained four steps in fostering effective student teams: make sure students know each other’s strengths, weaknesses, and working styles; students establish team rules; teach students qualities of effective team members; as part of their grade, students evaluate themselves and their teammates.

Problem Based Learning, Prof. Margot Vigeant, Bucknell University, February 7, 2018. Prof. Vigeant led a workshop on how problem based learning (PBL) can be implemented in chemical engineering. PBL is a student-driven learning process, which centers learning course objectives and content around one or more problems. She provided examples of problems. The benefits of a PBL-based classroom extend far past the course, as students learn how to work in teams, communicate their learning to others, and effectively frame and solve engineering problems.

Repairing undergraduates’ Thermodynamics and Heat Transfer Misconceptions, Prof. Margot Vigeant, Bucknell University, February 7th, 2018. Prof. Vigeant showed how students can learn Thermodynamics more effectively, especially through demonstrations, gaming, and conceptual understanding. She explained that many students pass a typical chemical engineering Thermodynamics course, but do not understand many fundamental concepts, such as ice melting. She discussed her Concept Inventory for Heat Transfer, effective chemical engineering classroom demonstrations, and her approach to bringing students into the lab whenever possible to validate (or contradict) their predictions.

Modeling success for underrepresented students in STEM, April 18th, 2018. Prof. Irene Vásquez, UNM's American Studies department and Ricardo Griego, former Dean of Graduate Studies and former Department Chair from the Department of Mathematics, UNM. This talk explored the basic assumptions in approaching success for underrepresented students in STEM. The authors discussed some successful, model programs, strategies for supporting STEM students, and UNM’s role in the process. This talk is based on the work of the authors in directing several programs aimed at increasing the participation of low-income and under-represented groups in higher education and STEM careers.

Connecting Knowledges in STEM Fields: Honoring Student Epistemologies and Decolonizing Western Pedagogies, Prof. Leola Tsinnajinnie, UNM's Native American Studies Department, May 2nd, 2018. This workshop focused on the students who are from the 22 sovereign nations that are part of New Mexico and pedagogical approaches that honor their funds of knowledge. Prof. Tsinnajinnie discussed the importance of a curriculum that connects students to their community and to the values which matter most to them: family, love, respect, compassion, faith, balance, and service. Her talk explored the most effective approaches to supporting Native and underrepresented students as they navigate STEM fields such as providing support for students immediately when they arrive on campus, providing peer and community support, recruiting students early in their academic careers, providing career pipeline mentorship, and nurturing relationships and involvement with Native American groups on campus.

In school I learn from A to H, but the world is A to Z: Promoting community-engaged learning for critical Indigenous consciousness, Prof. Tiffany S. Lee, UNM Professor and Chair of Native American Studies Department, August 17th, 2018. In this talk, Professor Lee shared lessons and observations from her decades of experience teaching Native American youth and young adults in New Mexico and conducting education research. She discussed how community-engaged learning encourages students’ motivation and promotes their success in any grade or year in college. She discussed critical Indigenous consciousness, a state of awareness that activates students to utilize their knowledge for the benefit of their Native communities. Professor Lee presented many approaches to help Engineering faculty better understand the culture and history of Native students and best practices for engage Native students in courses.

On January 16th, 2019, Prof. Joe Ledoux, Associate Professor of Biomedical Engineering, and Dr. Wendy Newstetter, Director of Learning Sciences Research from Georgia Tech, will present a workshop and talk on their Revolutionizing Engineering and Computer Science Departments Engineering Education and Centers NSF initiative. The talks will discuss the inclusive strategies embodied by the curriculum of the Wallace H. Coulter Department of Biomedical Engineering at Georgia Tech and Emory University which helps stakeholder fully realize the positive impact provided by high-functioning diverse and inclusive teams. The speakers will discuss “The inclusion dividend” and how it can be used to change the culture and curriculum of a high research activity engineering department, and help transform the concept of the "ideal engineer.”


Conceptual Understanding and Meaningful, Consequential Learning. Prof. Milo Koretsky, Oregon State University. May 8, 2017. This workshop highlighted how curricular changes drawn from research on how people learn can be used to transform a chemical engineering department. Prof. Koretsky discussed the powerful AIChE Concept Warehouse website, a valuable repository of chemical engineering conceptual questions and interactive student learning modules.

Active Learning. Prof. John Falconer, University of Colorado Boulder. March 21, 2017. As has been demonstrated in the natural sciences through a multitude of studies, active learning is more effective than traditional lecture. While less established, these methods also work in chemical engineering. In this workshop, attendees learned about Screencasts, ConcepTests and interactive simulations, and how they can contribute new resources.

How To Study. Prof. John Falconer, University of Colorado Boulder. March 21, 2017. In this workshop for both faculty and students, John discussed the latest research on the most and least effective ways to study. Methods for developing long term retention, understanding, and memory were emphasized.

Concept Inventories as an Assessment Tool – experiences from a materials science and engineering department. Prof. Nikolai Kalugin, New Mexico Tech. March 2, 2017. This workshop discussed the application of Concept Inventories as a powerful program-level assessment tool. While concept inventories are well known and used in the physical sciences, their use is still nascent in engineering. As a result, some programs create their own measures as exit exams, findings good practical value for the department: (1) as a tool for faculty development in the area of assessment; (2) as a tool for making program decisions; and (3) as a tool for predicting student success.


The Potential of Open Badges and Microcredentials to Improve Learning and Engagement and Badge-a-thon: Creating Your Microcredentials. Prof. Rick West, Brigham Young University. December 13, 2016. This workshop discussed Open badges as a form of micro credential that can enable acknowledgment of learners’ skills, knowledge, and abilities outside of traditional credentials such as degrees and diplomas. Open badges were defined and explained as a potentially disruptive concept for education. The potential for micro credentials to improve student learning and engagement was also discussed. Faculty in attendence engaged in a hands-on experience designing and conceptualizing badges for the instructional environments of the participants.

Teaching Problem Solving, Troubleshooting and Entrepreneurship. Prof. H. Scott Fogler, University of Michigan. October 20, 2016. While many core chemical engineering content courses include problem solving, few teach strategies for problem solving, especially for dealing with open-ended problems. Prof. Fogler outlined methods to incorporate creative problem solving strategies, troubleshooting, change adaptation, and real-world case studies into core engineering courses.

Connecting Engineering Design Challenges to Funds of Knowledge: Insights in Developing Culturally Responsive Engineering Education. Prof. Joel Alejandro Mejia, Angelo State University, San Angelo, TX. May 11, 2016. Dr. Mejia discussed the concept of Funds of Knowledge as the distinctively accumulated historical and cultural bodies of knowledge, skills, and practices within different communities. Through the lens of culturally responsive pedagogy, this talk examined how funds of knowledge can be used to integrate students’ interests into the curriculum at a meaningful level. The objective is to use culturally responsive teaching as a medium for creating engineering design challenges that excite the interests of students from a variety of ethnic, linguistic, economic, and cultural backgrounds.

Digital badges in Chemical Engineering. Prof. Darrell Velegol, The Pennsylvania State University. May 2nd, 2016. Prof. Velegol introduced the idea of digital badges as a replacement for traditional course completion and testing. Digital badges were presented as a powerful tool to assess and document student performance and learning objectives. A project- or learning objective-based curriculum can therefore take the place of traditional closed lecture degree program.

Microcredentialing & Digital Badging. Prof. Rick West, Brigham Young University. March 31st, 2016. Attendees were introduced to the concept of microcredentialing of mastery-based skills in courses. Dr. West presented research including emphasis on how badges should be designed to promote learning. Faculty drafted initial ideas for badges. In day two of the workshop, Dr. West worked closely with Dr. Svihla and her graduate assistant, providing guidance on choosing a digital badging system and characteristics needed for particular systems. Dr. West provided detailed information based on his survey of programs using digital badging.


Additive Innovation: An Educational Ecosystem of Making and Risk Taking. Prof. Jennifer Bekki and Prof. Nadia Kellam, from the ASU RED project leadership team. November 19, 2015. This workshop presented components of the ASU RED project. Faculty attendees identified catalysts and barriers to implementing new approaches in their classrooms as well as potential supports structures that might mitigate the impact of those barriers. Attendees developed test cards documenting educational innovations to be used in their own classrooms and worked with the facilitators to discuss how to evaluate the impact of their proposed innovation. The workshop closed with a discussion of how the activities completed by the attendees illustrate several components of the ASU team’s educational revolution.

Transforming Chemical Engineering with an NSF RED project. Prof. Jim Sweeney, Oregon State University. November 17, 2015.

Towards a scenario- and problem-based chemical engineering curriculum. Prof. Eva Sorensen, University College London. November 13, 2015. Professor Sorensen described her experience at UCL in developing a scenario- and problem-based chemical engineering curriculum with emphasis on experimentation and computation and supported by eLearning. She focused on the challenges (5 week part-time projects) and scenarios (1 week full time projects) they introduced for first and second year students. She shared what is required by the faculty and the department to undergo such curriculum restructuring. Prof. Sorensen also discussed the difference between UK- and U.S.-based college systems, tenure systems, and professional societies.