Teaching and Mentoring Training Programs at Michigan State University: A Doctoral Student's Perspective


  • Tylisha M. Baber Michigan State University
  • Daina Briedis Michigan State University
  • R. Mark Worden Michigan State University


In engineering disciplines, the main objectives of doctoral training are to learn how to conduct research, to deepen one's thought process through critical thinking, to apply knowledge to solve complex engineering problems, and to contribute to an area of expertise. Preparation for the teaching component of an academic career is frequently overlooked in doctoral training, however, adversely affecting the quality of engineering education.  A lack of experience in effective teaching can present difficult and somewhat overwhelming challenges for new faculty.  Thus, some instruction in pedagogy at the graduate level can help improve the transition for new faculty into a scholarly professoriate. 

 In addition to scholarly research, the College of Engineering at Michigan State University has placed emphasis on the teaching component of graduate training through the development and implementation of a College Teaching Certificate (CTC) program.  The objective of this program is to provide doctoral students with training in college teaching that enables them to be successful educators in an academic setting.  The program requires successful completion of two courses. The first course introduces students to methods and strategies used to effectively teach engineering students, and the second course allows students to teach in a classroom under the supervision and mentoring of a College of Engineering faculty member.  Upon completion of this program, students receive an MSU Certificate in College Teaching, and a transcript notation is also provided. 

As a doctoral student interested in a teaching career, author TB has successfully completed all the requirements of this program.  This paper discusses her experience as a CTC participant, evaluates the CTC program, and gives recommendations on how it might be further improved and adopted by other institutions.  Furthermore, author TB will describe other teaching and mentoring opportunities she has experienced at Michigan State University and how they helped prepare her for a future academic career.

Author Biographies

Tylisha M. Baber, Michigan State University

Tyllsha M. Baber is a doctoral candidate in chemical engineering at Michigan State University She graduated from North Carolina State University with honors in December of 1998 with a Bachelor of Science degree in chemical engineering (bioscience option).

Daina Briedis, Michigan State University

Daina Briedis is Associate Professor in the Department of Chemical Engineering and Materials Science at Michigan State University She has conducted research in bioadhesion and is currently studying development of effective learning tools for the multidisciplinary classroom. She is active nationally and internationally in engineering accreditation, and is a member of the ABET Board. She leads the assessment and evaluation efforts in her program.

R. Mark Worden, Michigan State University

R. Mark Worden, Professor of Chemical Engineering, bridged to chemical engineering after earning a Bachelors' degree with a double major in chemistry and cell biology His research is in the area of biochemical engineering, and he has been active in development of multidisciplinary training programs.