Todd Fantz is a senior instructor in the Department of Construction Management at Colorado State University. Learn more about why he chose CSU and his research in helping first-year engineering students succeed in their education.
What brought you to the Department of Construction Management at CSU?
As a native Coloradan and graduate of CSU, I was excited to be back on my home turf after 10 years working in Norfolk, Virginia, and Athens, Ohio. During my on-campus interview, I was impressed with the commitment of the faculty and the motivation of the students in the Department of Construction Management. I am excited to be involved with that type of environment!
What are your research interests, and how did you get interested in that topic?
My research has primarily been focused on the self-efficacy of first-year engineering students. I am particularly curious about the impact of engineering summer camps, K-12 pre-engineering programs, and other outreach programs focused on recruiting and preparing students to study engineering. When I started my engineering program, I had zero exposure to engineering and struggled to find confidence that I could complete the degree. I hope my research will help others pursue and persist in engineering programs.
What’s your teaching philosophy?
My objectives in the classroom are focused around three main areas. The first is to develop high level problem-solving skills that can be universally applied to the simplest or the most complex problems. I believe this will also help students develop their critical thinking skills. Another objective of mine is to be organized, objective, and transparent. I find that students are more likely to rise (or exceed) to high expectations when they are clearly articulated and achievable. Finally, I strive to increase the content specific self-confidence, or self-efficacy, of my students. The students’ success will increase as their self-efficacy rises.
What’s your favorite thing about campus?
My favorite location on campus is definitely the Oval. It manages to give campus a park-like feel with the tree-lined sidewalks. While I have always enjoyed the Oval, it is more special now that my office has a window overlooking it!