Chapter 4: Reenvisioning the Role of Faculty

Project-based learning asks students to take some control and asks faculty to take more of a supporting role. This chapter helps you rethink your position as the instructor of a project-based course—from leader to mentor and fellow learner.

benefits of mentors for students

During a Great Problems Seminar about water scarcity in Kenya, Anna Chase ’13 stood out to Diran Apelian, Alcoa-Howmet Professor of Mechanical Engineering, as “imaginative, curious, and … dedicated to making an impact—to making life better for others.” Apelian saw promise in Chase’s work, leading to a funded trip to Kenya for a water purification project, which itself led Chase to a career as a toy designer.

“Sometimes, you meet someone and you just know they’re going to have an impact on you for the rest of your life,” Chase says. “Diran was like that for me.”

Read about Anna’s journey.