AAE student among first class of Dean's Teaching Fellows

Bing Li, a Ph.D. student in AAE, was one of three students selected by the College of Engineering for a Dean's Teaching Fellowship.

Bing Li, a Ph.D. student in AAE, was one of three students selected by the College of Engineering for a Dean's Teaching Fellowship.

Bing Li

The new initiative gives graduate students who want to pursue faculty careers an opportunity to receive faculty mentoring and teaching experience. To be eligible, graduate students must have passed their preliminary exam, have a minimum 3.5 GPA and be perceived by the student’s advisory committee chair as having high potential to succeed in academia.

In addition to Li, Mitchell Rencheck (Materials Engineering) and Zhouyang Lou (Industrial Engineering) were selected.

Li, who received his master’s in Mechanical Engineering at Purdue and is a Ph.D. student in AAE Professor Vikas Tomar’s group, started as a teaching assistant in ME in 2015.

The Dean’s Teaching Fellowship includes shadowing a faculty mentor for the Spring 2020 semester and serving as an instructor in Fall 2020. Li has been shadowing Waterloo Tsutsui, a continuing lecturer in AAE, in AAE 204, Aeromechanics II.

By shadowing Tsutsui, Li will be able to observe the preparation of course material, assignments and exams. Li also will replace Tsutsui for several lectures before he teaches on his own next semester, and he can use that experience to collect feedback and improve accordingly, he said.

Both faculty mentors and Fellows are expected to exhibit excellent teaching practices and pedagogy, as well as apply innovative methods that will allow their undergraduate students to succeed in the courses.

“I am looking forward to not only delivering subjects to my students but also opening their eyes to the whole new world of science and technology,” Li said. “This fellowship provides hand-on experience in becoming an individual course instructor. The shadowing process allows me to be more developed in my teaching style and classroom communication. It also helps me to learn how to get a good balance between teaching and research, while striving to be competitive in both.

“I am hoping to learn how to combine the state-of-art techniques with basic scientific and engineering principles for the course material, how to inspire the students and prepare them for their future career life, how to meet the different needs of students with different backgrounds and maintain effective communication with them.”

Before this fellowship, only three schools in the College of Engineering offered organized teaching fellowships for students. AAE is included in that group. But there were no college-wide opportunities available for graduating Engineering students. The Dean’s Teaching Fellowship fills that gap and allows equal teaching opportunities for graduate students in all Purdue Engineering disciplines.

Li aspires to earn a faculty position upon receiving his doctorate.

“Being a professor provides a unique opportunity to continue my enthusiasm for battery safety research while being able to share my knowledge and experience with students,” he said. “I have the experience of being impressed by numerous faculty members who successfully deliver life-impacting research work and inspire the students to start their own career life in challenging research areas. I hope I can pass the same passion to my students as well.”