Jeana Collins, associate teaching professor in the Department of Chemical Engineering (ChE), has been selected for spring 2023’s Deans’ Teaching Showcase.
Collins will be recognized at an end-of-term event with other showcase members and is a candidate for the CTL Instructional Award Series.
Collins was selected for consistently applying what she has learned in a variety of professional development opportunities to continuously improve her courses. These include attending four National Effective Teaching Institute workshops, an Alan Alda Communication workshop and the Inclusive STEM Teaching Project. They provided Collins with the opportunity to learn a wide variety of teaching techniques and use them to tailor each course according to the subject and students. She especially appreciated the opportunity to interact with faculty from across the country to share experiences and brainstorm ideas for course improvements.
Examples of courses that have been positively impacted by professional development are the required second-year foundational courses. These are important for students to master, so making sure the content is engaging and providing students with multiple learning experiences is important to Collins. As one student said, “I think the way she goes through classes is very helpful, giving us some time to figure it out and also being there to support us if we have questions.”
Collins works with the students to improve courses, often making changes midsemester. Early-term surveys give students an opportunity to check in with how class is going. The follow-on discussion with the class on what can’t change and what can (and will) change is the part that Collins finds the most meaningful. And students appreciate it. One commented, “I really like how you took time out of class to stop and talk with us about how this class is running and ways to improve to make it better overall, thank you for doing this for us!”
“Dr. Collins’ teaching style is student-centric,” said Pradeep Agrawal, ChE’s department chair. “She makes a serious effort to keep students engaged throughout her lectures employing a variety of active teaching tools.”
Last fall, Collins was assigned a new course: CM3450 Computer Aided Problem Solving. Based on the knowledge and experience she gained, she restructured the course to focus on chemical engineering content; within the different content, she covered multiple computer programs. This means that the programs used are seen throughout the semester, showcasing different applications. This was an effective approach that students found very helpful. As one student said, “This class is amazing. I liked how sometimes we’d follow along, but also had independent working days. The assignments and projects were a great way to apply what we learned. So glad I enrolled in this course!”
“Having faculty members who choose to participate in workshops and courses in order to be more effective in the classroom is one of the reasons Michigan Tech graduates such high-quality engineers,” says Janet Callahan, dean of the College of Engineering. “Dr. Jeana Collins exemplifies this and strongly deserves this recognition.”
By the Jackson Center for Teaching and Learning.