Amirkhanian Accepted Into UA Faculty Teaching Fellows Program

By Natalie Bonner

Dr. Armen Amirkhanian, assistant professor of civil, construction and environmental engineering, was selected to join the inaugural class of The University of Alabama Teaching Academy’s Faculty Teaching Fellows Program.

Amirkhanian, the sole fellow from the College of Engineering, is one of 10 faculty members campuswide who will comprise the first cohort of the program, which aims to provide faculty members from various disciplines with opportunities to strengthen their understanding of education and foster commitment to high-quality teaching. The program will also allow fellows to take advantage of professional development and mentorship opportunities, collaborate with other faculty, and serve the UA faculty community.

“It’s really exciting to have the opportunity to expand my teaching toolbox and improve the learning experience for my students,” Amirkhanian said. “I’m constantly looking for ways to improve the quality of instruction for my students and this program is ideal for being able to work through some new ideas with other faculty.”

Amirkhanian emphasized the educational benefits he has seen from collaborating with faculty members outside the College, as his previous participation in an experiential learning program encouraged him to implement valuable teaching strategies that he hadn’t previously considered.

“I’m most looking forward to working with other faculty outside my discipline, and even college, and getting ideas for how to improve my teaching,” Amirkhanian said.

One facet of the new program involves making informed changes to one or more instructional courses such as implementing project-based learning, flipped classroom strategies and hands-on, active learning techniques. Amirkhanian intends to enhance his introductory civil engineering materials course, CE 262, by addressing two areas in need of improvement.

First, he will add peer-instructional activities during lab sessions to preexisting class projects to deepen the students’ understanding of course topics. Additionally, Amirkhanian intends to use a type of AI called a large language model (LLM) to improve the speed with which students can ask questions or receive tutoring.

“Immediacy of assistance is a key driver of successful student learning,” Amirkhanian said.

LLMs can be trained to understand and generate human language and by utilizing this model, Amirkhanian aims to accelerate the process of instructional help so that students can have immediate answers to their course-related questions no matter the time of day.

To learn more about the Teaching Fellows Program, visit

In 1837, The University of Alabama became one of the first five universities in the nation to offer engineering classes. Today, UA’s College of Engineering has more than 5,200 students and more than 170 faculty. In recent years, students in the College have been named USA Today All-USA College Academic Team members, Goldwater, Hollings, Portz, Boren, Mitchell and Truman scholars.

Author: Natalie Bonner    /    Posted on: July 1, 2024    /    Posted in:   Civil, Construction and Environmental Engineering, Faculty and Staff    /    Features: