Visiting Assistant Professor, Dr. Hunter Bachman, Reflects on this Semester’s Teaching Experiences

Dr. Hunter Bachman After years of teaching practice as a tutor and teaching assistant, Dr. Bachman applied his professional skills to educate students at a community college and a small private institution. These teaching experiences offered him exposure to online education systems and the challenges of navigating teaching within an up and coming academic program. Prepared by these experiences and a deep passion for teaching, he joined Wake Engineering in July 2020 as a visiting professor. Dr. Bachman’s commitment to student learning is guided by his main energizer – the fulfilling moment of a student understanding a new concept. This “click” instance is not only motivating, but it also allows for an individualized teaching experience since it allows an educator to experiment with various ways of portraying information in order to reach students who may learn in different manners. However, relying on student reactions to gauge learning is a challenge in the remote-teaching era of COVID-19. While remote learning has resulted in some positive tools such as recorded content videos which students are able to re-watch as needed, it has inevitably cut down on “face to face” time. With the inability to connect with students directly through real-time in-class sensing, Wake Engineering Faculty have gone the extra mile to fully support their students’ needs by creatively increasing their availability and accessibility while also dedicating more time to creating structured plans for delivering information. For example, many professors, including Dr. Bachman, have allocated more time in their schedule to student support by expanding their office hours to include virtual drop-ins. 

This semester, Dr. Bachman has participated in team-teaching in a few Engineering courses while also aiding with Capstone projects for the senior class. Since this is the program’s first graduating class, the Capstone experience has presented unique challenges for both students and faculty – Dr. Bachman shared that the constant adaptability displayed by both students and professors in navigating project-related issues is symbolic of Wake Engineering’s great team work, resilience, and problem solving nature. He is excited to continue collaborating with other faculty and staff members during future semesters, even as he begins to teach independent elective courses within his field of acoustics and fluid mechanics. While this semester’s circumstances were not ideal, Dr. Bachman recalls a moment of inspiration when first-year engineering students were able to excitedly come to Wake Downtown for a hands-on aspect of testing their project’s during a 3D Printing Truss Challenge (pictured below). While he is looking forward to more in-person education activities when public health conditions allow it, Dr. Bachman is thankful to be surrounded by a faculty and staff team that is fully focused on student learning and is passionately dedicated to providing engineering students with the most meaningful educational experience possible.

EGR 111 truss project

Dr. Bachman and a student watch the screen to see the stress data in real time, while two other student teammates are applying force onto their 3D printed truss

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