Chemical engineering professor selected as next Coffman Chair for University Distinguished Teaching Scholars
Monday, April 16, 2018
MANHATTAN — Documenting the ways Kansas State University faculty members are preparing students to be career-ready will be the project of the university's 2018-2019 Coffman Chair for University Distinguished Teaching Scholars.
Keith Hohn, the William H. Honstead professor of chemical engineering, has been selected to fill the chair for the coming year. The Coffman chair was created in 1995 to highlight Kansas State University's commitment to excellence in undergraduate teaching and learning. A faculty member acknowledged as a leading teaching scholar is appointed to the chair for one academic year. During that time, the chair will conduct research or develop programs to improve educational methods. All who are selected for the honor retain the title of university distinguished teaching scholar throughout their careers.
Hohn will study and catalog how faculty in professional programs — those in which a college degree is required to gain basic career entry in a specific occupational field — impart the skills their students need to succeed as professionals. He will search for commonalities between disciplines as well as differences.
"While in some cases the techniques used by a particular discipline are unique to that discipline, it is likely that there are some commonalities between the approaches," Hohn said. "It may be possible for educators in chemical engineering, for example, to learn from faculty in journalism on how to prepare students for the professional world."
For his project, Hohn will develop a survey to be sent to faculty in the university's professional programs to find out more about each program, the profession its students will work in and the educational activities used to prepare students for the profession.
"The survey also will find out about specific techniques, such as guest speakers, practicums and internships, lab work and mentoring, used in the programs," Hohn said. "Along with this survey, I will meet individually with faculty from the programs to get more details about their teaching approaches and to observe firsthand how they implement these approaches with students."
The outcome of Hohn's work is to be an in-depth understanding of the educational practices of professional programs through the quantitative and qualitative data collected. He will share his findings at a workshop at the end of his project.
When it comes to teaching and preparing students for careers, Hohn has excelled. In his 18 years at K-State, Hohn has taught 10 different chemical engineering courses, ranging from introductory courses to 800-level graduate courses. His primary teaching responsibility has been courses in chemical reactor design and the chemical engineering computational techniques course. He also has taught chemical engineering design, including two capstone design courses taken by chemical engineering seniors. In addition, Hohn has taken a lead role in developing courses for the chemical engineering department.
His teaching has resulted in many awards from the College of Engineering, including the Myers-Alford Memorial Teaching Award, the Charles H. Scholer Faculty Award, the Segebrecht Distinguished Faculty Achievement Awards and the James L. Hollis Memorial Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching. Students in the major also have selected him for the department's Most Approachable Professor award twice.
Hohn also consistently works on his teaching and shares his knowledge with fellow faculty members. A Wakonese fellow in 2006, he attended the Wakonese Conference on College Teaching. He served on the university's Faculty Exchange on Teaching Excellence advisory committee from 2008-2012; coordinated the New Faculty Institute from 2010-2012; and served on the K-State 2025 theme committee for undergraduate educational experience in 2011.
Helping students apply knowledge they have learned in the classroom also is one of Hohn's focuses as a faculty member. He has served as advisor to the chemical engineering department's chemE car competition team, which has qualified several times to represent the university at national competitions. He also serves as a faculty advisor to the Society of Women Engineers, a group that enhances the education of young women studying engineering. In addition, has served as the co-director of National Science Foundation research experience for undergraduates for nine years.
Hohn received his bachelor's degree in chemical engineering from the University of Kansas and his doctorate in chemical engineering from the University of Minnesota.