Description of myself and my work environment

My name is Tobias Richards and I work at University of Borås within the Swedish Center for Resource Recovery. At the university, I’m in charge of a research group in combustion and thermal treatment. We are handling a number of topics but one of the key aspects is to connect the work into resource recovery which means to utilize left-over material as efficient as possible.

During the fall 2014, I spend my time at UC Berkeley as a visiting professor primarily on a scholarship from STINT (the Swedish foundation for cooperation in research and higher education). This will give an opportunity to exchange educational ideas and try to understand of what is making UC Berkeley such a highly ranked university when it comes to both research and education.

I was fortunate to get into one of the ordinary courses and perform co-teaching with two lecturers. This gives many chances to discuss the course environment, the curriculum and the strategies. To further strengthen this with mutual information exchange I managed to move into a room with two other lecturers (in other courses) whom I ask questions and discuss with. Together with us there are also a couple of GSI’s (graduate student instructors which consists of both PhD students and master students). The course is one of the final courses for the undergraduate program in chemical engineering and involves design of a process given certain constraints (such as product and production rate). We use groups of three students and 2-3 groups have the same project constraints (but they are supposed to find their own process). This means that there are, in combination to the lectures, also and great deal of discussion.

In Borås, I have a similar course in process design which is more emphasized on energy (heat and electricity) than on chemicals but in general the structure is similar. However, I have not yet graded the course other than pass or fail which has to be changed in a near future. Therefore, this will be one of the direct outcomes of this visit to see how the grading is managed and how to do dynamic evaluation during the course and still make sure that all objectives are fulfilled and that all students are engaged in the process.

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