“Selfie” with some our newest alumni – May 2014
I hope that the last year has brought you as much joy and adventure as mine has. I continue to really enjoy teaching here in the Petroleum Engineering Department. I am teaching one of the first courses and one of the last courses that students take here: Fluid Mechanics for Petroleum Engineers and Multi- disciplinary Senior Design. It is fun to watch the students grow in their knowledge and maturity. I also teach field session, and the Petroleum Seminar course where we focus on communication and look closely at our profession and how others perceive us.
Teaching is one of my passions, so I am always looking for better ways to teach our students what they need to know to become the best engineers possible after graduation. Many
of the professors here, including me, have been exploring new active ways to instruct. This includes what is called “flipping the classroom.” With this method, students are required to prepare themselves for class in many ways including watching conceptual videos, practicing with reading quizzes, and starting homework problems. This frees up class time to focus on really investigating the topic, working on mini- labs, answering questions, providing one-on-one and group interactions, and allowing me to interact more with the students beyond lecturing. I feel that the students are getting a lot of quality instruction this way, and I am getting more comments about how students were excited to recognize Fluid Mechanics concepts that reappear in later courses.
Beyond the classroom, I enjoy hiking and travelling. This year I got to visit New Orleans for ATCE, went backpacking in the Rockies, and had many adventures introducing my children to Europe. I look forward to the many adventures that await this year, both in and out of the classroom. I hope to see many of you at ATCE this fall in Amsterdam or as I travel with students for field session next summer. With my family in the French countryside
MARK G. MILLER
This year we did an
in computer labs. By
increasing the number
of sections, we were
able to squeeze
students into Marquez
Hall’s two teaching
computer labs. This
is something students
have wanted for a
long time. Like most
endeavors, it had
Miller’s Drillers wmhixoedcarmeseutltos.clSatsusd,egnotst one-on-one help while doing their labs. They didn’t have to wait for a TA to show up to the computer lab. They also had instant feedback why things weren’t going so well. These things helped. However, because class time was now spent working on labs, it reduced the amount of material that could
be covered. It also led students who were “behind in other classes” to use the computer time to work on those classes. This year, in the interest of continuous improvement, we are going to split time between lecture room and computer lab. It should help everyone.
In addition to teaching, and some continuing computer work, I helped Will Fleckenstein with a few department head duties. I quality checked thesis after thesis. When he was traveling or unavailable, I also approved travel authorizations and expense reports. I looked at course substitution forms and research contracts. It gave me an appreciation for why the department head job is a 24/7 activity.
Finally, I became the Pi Epsilon Tau faculty advisor. The students and I gave building tours and presentations to potential students and their parents. Like last year, our students did a great job speaking about what to expect as a petroleum engineering student and what to expect from a petroleum engineering career.