Faculty Perspective: Daphene Koch

Daphene Koch

Daphene Koch, Ph.D., is an associate professor in the School of Construction Management Technology. During the 2014-15 academic year, she was named Outstanding Faculty in Learning for the Purdue Polytechnic Institute.


My teaching style

In a word, it is active. It’s a very real-world, active learning approach using examples from the construction industry. I don’t lecture a lot. It is a minimized lecture time with more team and peer learning through projects. I bring in guest speakers to demonstrate current industry practices.

My teaching philosophy

I believe in giving students the information that they need now to help them succeed in college and also what they will need in a career. It is not only teaching from the book, but also the lifelong learning aspect to education.

Continually improving

I’ve been through IMPACT, attended training with the Center for Instructional Excellence, and attended many conferences related to teaching and learning in higher education. I try to continually disseminate my best practices and take information from conferences to try new things. Every semester I change it up a little bit to constantly improve. The key is being able to very organized at the beginning of the semester and try to minimize confusion.

Making connections

Mock career fair in Introduction to ConstructionIn my Intro to Construction Management course, I conduct a mock career fair that is training my students for interview skills. Since we require internships, I should help them learn the skills to apply for them. I get representatives from industry involved. Students practice with their resume, and they research companies. It’s a big, multi-phase assignment that prepares them for their first career fair.

As we continue to build the Polytechnic, we have to help our students transition to a real-world atmosphere by helping them apply what they know to real problems. We have to transition to the integration of knowledge into an activity.

Celebrating successes

I’m know I’m succeeding when the outcomes are right, when students are engaged while they are doing the activity, and whenever they produce something more than I expected.

One of their favorite activities is the Lego bridge building exercise, which I use to help illustrate concepts related to estimating and scheduling. I ask students to build a bridge after having them estimate how long it will take. Then I time them, and we figure out if they make or lose money based on their estimate. Time is one of the hardest things to teach; you learn it by doing. This activity helps them understand why experience is so important.

Adding to scholarly information

I am doing research related to teaching using the mock career fair activity. We do pre- and post self-efficacy ratings and see how the students improved their confidence. Our Polytechnic transformation will lead to more research related to education and learning, which will create greater exposure for the college. It will lead to more opportunities for faculty to produce scholarly work.

Read even more about Koch in a profile piece we featured in 2012.


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