June 24, 2017
June 24, 2017
June 28, 2017
Liberal Education/Engineering & Society
A range of initiatives at our own and other institutions have been designed to achieve “interdisciplinary” engineering education and/or to “integrate” engineering with humanities, arts, and social sciences education. The motivations cited for these initiatives range from utilitarian goals supporting career development and professionalism to more holistic goals of citizenship and broad liberal education. Appropriate definitions and measures of “success” for such efforts vary, and faculty members involved in these efforts have concerns that narrow understanding of these efforts can marginalize these interdisciplinary and integrative experiences. The goal of this work is to support ongoing conversations in higher education about integrative and interdisciplinary education efforts by providing a shared language and classification system for understanding these efforts. This paper presents a classification system for integrative engineering education efforts and applies it to examples from our own institution. This system builds on work by others in education generally and in the area of interdisciplinary education. Classifying ongoing initiatives makes it possible to better understand the range of current integrative efforts and potentially identify gaps in institutional repertoires that may create barriers to effectively scaffolded student learning. The classification system also enables an examination of the alignment between types of integrative efforts and more traditional disciplinary education efforts, and supports improved leadership in these integrative efforts and the articulation of more meaningful methods for measuring their success.
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