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Past Winners of the Teacher of the Week

Jacob Grohs


The Center for Instructional Development and Educational Research (CIDER) recognizes Jacob Grohs, assistant professor of Engineering Education, for cultivating intentional learning environments that prioritize student engagement and active processing and for his demonstrated commitment to continuous improvement as an educator.

Across a variety of roles since 2009, Grohs has taught first-year courses (Foundations of Engineering, Exploring Citizen Leadership), large sophomore-level engineering mechanics courses (Statics and Mechanics of Deformable Bodies), and graduate level engineering education courses (Research Methods in EngE and Practicum in the Engineering Classroom).

In smaller size classes, he creates time for students to think individually before opening the floor for discussion, offers tiered discussion or problem solving (from pairs to small group to whole class), and uses a variety of tools to explore content (e.g. relevant readings, videos, case studies); these multiple pedagogies can dramatically affect engagement. In larger lecture-style courses, he employs formative assessments via online surveys in Qualtrics (e.g., quick response questions during class with no associated grade) to foster active processing and provide formative feedback about understanding of course content. He has also used online surveys before and after high-stakes testing to prompt student reflection on engagement and test preparedness (before test) and on the effectiveness of specific modes of engagement and study strategies (after test). To combat the assumed default disconnection of a large lecture course, he has employed common strategies (e.g., learning and using names, office hours, review sessions), created shared course notebooks to share lecture notes where students can electronically annotate, and also used a free wiki-based question/answer forum (Piazza) for students to ask and answer questions. Through Piazza, he strives to connect students with one another, emphasizing an environment where peer learning entails questioning and explaining, and extends his role beyond just serving as the “answering expert.”

Because his teaching philosophy strikes a balance of both challenge and support, Grohs strives to be known as someone willing to invest as an educator - believing that students will work hard if he does too. Some example comments that represent the kind of feedback that makes him most proud as a teacher:

Comment from Larkin Dudley Associate Professor Emerita, Center for Public Administration and Policy regarding LDRS 1015-1016 courses:
"Jacob Grohs is truly a master at facilitating student discussions and leading students to think beyond where they thought they could go. In co-moderating with him in policy issue forums several times in his Exploring Citizen Leadership courses, I observed his expert ability to set the policy issue framework, probe students as to the deeper meaning of policy positions, and stimulate students to relate their deliberation to theoretical concepts studied during the semester. Jacob's rapport with students, his expertise in the subject matter, a well-planned syllabus, and thoughtful approach to deliberative sessions yielded an unbeatable learning experience and the respect of students"

From a student in the 1st Year EngE Course:
"Jake is a very respectful, down to earth, and awesome
teacher. I could definitely tell that he genuinely cares about the success about all of his students as future engineers."

From a student re-taking the ESM 2104 Statics course for a second time:
"I took statics with Grohs last semester and every negative I wrote in his SPOT eval was rectified this semester. I was able to enjoy this class and get a firm grasp on the material"

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Teacher of the Week

The goal of the Teacher of the Week program is to recognize effective, engaged, and dynamic teachers. Please consider nominating a teacher; the process is clear and concise (no dossiers; see nomination page).

View Past Winners

A list of the past winners is available.