Professor Eline Boghaert has been honoured by the Faculty of Engineering, with the assistance of the Sandford Fleming Foundation, for her outstanding commitment to excellence in undergraduate teaching. She is one of three instructors to be awarded the Faculty of Engineering Teaching Excellence Award this year.
“I am honoured to receive this award, especially so early in my career. I will continue to reflect on my teaching and strive to provide Waterloo Engineering students with the best learning experience I can,” says Professor Boghaert.
After earning her PhD in Chemical Engineering from Princeton University in 2014, Professor Boghaert joined the Department of Chemical Engineering as a lecturer. She has become known for dynamic classes that provide students with an engaging, interactive environment in which to learn chemical engineering fundamentals and develop their ability to solve problems.
Throughout her courses, which include Chemistry for Engineers, Engineering Biology, Physical Chemistry I, Mathematics of Heat and Mass Transfer, and Statistics and Experimental Design, Professor Boghaert helps students develop skills for life-long learning, including conceptual understanding of mathematical ideas and problem solving skills.
“I enjoy helping students learn and develop confidence in their abilities,” she says. “As a life-long learner myself, I am constantly looking for ways to improve my teaching by reflecting on my current practices, soliciting and listening to student feedback, and attending conferences in engineering education and workshops offered by the University’s Centre for Teaching Excellence.”
Professor Boghaert’s interest in teaching developed early in her academic career, when she earned her first teaching certificates in Mathematics and Physics, and she has been honing her skills ever since. Recently, she collaborated with two fellow instructors to develop a blended learning model for ChE102: Chemistry for Engineers and conduct a research study to analyze its effectiveness. This instructional model combines the online delivery of educational material with classroom-based, hands-on experiential learning.
The instructors had hoped that this hybrid learning approach would improve student engagement with course content and create time for more active learning opportunities, but the first-year students struggled to learn effectively using the online content. Professor Boghaert used the lessons learned from the study, including student feedback, to modify the online content and develop course study guides to enhance students’ experience with the model and improve their learning outcomes.
The research was timely: it provided valuable resources to support the department’s quick and effective pivot to remote learning during the first months of the COVID-19 pandemic and will continue to inform its teaching practices going forward.
Professor Boghaert takes her teaching excellence beyond classroom hours; she is available outside of class to help students with class- and career-related questions and mentor new lecturers, giving them the support they need to provide the top quality education to our students.
“Professor Boghaert’s enthusiasm for teaching and her on-going efforts to explore new methods for enhancing students’ learning experiences are assets to our department. She leads by example, and our students and faculty benefit immensely,” says Marc Aucoin, interim chair of the Department of Chemical Engineering.