UTF Spotlight: Brandon Teoh
Brandon Teoh is a UTF for Dr. Idalis Villanueva in the College of Engineering. He has been a key part in developing the Intro to Engineering course at Utah State University. We are proud to have him as a member of our Undergraduate Teaching Fellows program.
If I had to describe my experience working with the “Intro to Engineering” course in one phrase, I would say that it has been eye-opening. When I first started as a UTF, I was under the impression that I would be researching different ways other universities have developed Intro courses to increase retention rates in engineering. I thought I would be looking for simple projects, lectures, case studies, etc. that provided the best results and present it to Dr. Villanueva. But at that point, I didn’t quite understand the scope and vision Dr. Villanueva had for this class.
After a few conversations and “brainstorms,” I’ve realized that this isn’t just about developing a class to help retention rates, or to simply teach students about what each field of engineering is. This class is about changing the culture of engineering. We need to be able to teach these new students how engineering works, but from all points of view. Not just what the electricals will do, or what the civils do, but what engineers do as a whole.
This course also needed to help retain more minorities in engineering. There are plenty of Hispanics, African-Americans, women, Native-Americans, etc. that want to be engineers, but don’t stick with the program and we want to find a way to keep them in our college.
As you can see, there is a lot of work to be done to develop the course that we all are envisioning. It will be challenging work, but will be rewarding. In all the articles and websites I’ve been through thus far, I don’t think any university has attempted something like this, and that’s exciting.