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A Systemic Change Model In Engineering Education And Its Relevance For Women

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2002 Annual Conference


Montreal, Canada

Publication Date

June 16, 2002

Start Date

June 16, 2002

End Date

June 19, 2002



Conference Session

Freshman Curriculum Development

Page Count


Page Numbers

7.120.1 - 7.120.33



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Paper Authors

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Rita Caso

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Jeff Froyd

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Jan Rinehart

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Ahmer Inam

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Ann Kenimer

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Carolyn Clark

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Jim Morgan

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Session 2553

A Systemic Change Model in Engineering Education and Its Relevance for Women

Rita Caso, Carolyn Clark, Jeff Froyd, Ahmer Inam, Ann Kenimer, Jim Morgan, Jan Rinehart Texas A&M University

Abstract The paper will present the experience at Texas A&M University (A&M) in institutionalizing its first-year and sophomore curricula using learning communities (LC) as the underlying concept. In 1998-99 academic year, A&M completed the transition from pilot curricula to new first and second year engineering curricula for every student. As the foundation for new curricula, A&M developed LCs. At A&M, a LC is a group of students, faculty and industry that have common interests and work as partners to improve the engineering educational experience. LCs value diversity, are accessible to all interested individuals, and bring real world situations into the engineering classroom. The key components of A&M engineering LCs at are: (1) clustering of students in common courses; (2) teaming; (3) active/coopera tive learning; (4) industry involvement; (5) technology-enhanced classrooms; (6) peer teachers; (7) curriculum integration; (8) faculty team teaching; and (9) assessment and evaluation. This presentation will use both quantitative and qualitative assessment methods to try and understand how LCs have affected student retention, performance, and learning experience.


In 1993 the National Science Foundation (NSF) funded the fifth engineering education coalition, the Foundation Coalition (FC), with the vision to become a recognized catalyst in changing the culture of engineering education. Since NSF envisioned the engineering education coalitions as a vehicle to create new models of engineering education, the FC, during the first five years of funding, concentrated on creating pilot programs based on seven ideas that are informed by a number of theories of learning and change. The key ideas are: (1) active/cooperative learning; (2) teaming; (3) technology-enabled learning (4) curriculum integration; (5) increasing the participation of women and underrepresented minorities; (6) continuous improvement through assessment, evaluation, and feedback; and (7) managing change. The curricular models and the assessment data that emerged from the pilot programs are well documented in the literature. The second five years of funding, starting in 1998, are focused on how to institutionalize model curriculum programs, how to facilitate systemic change in engineering education, and how to build sustainable models of assessment and evaluation that support systemic change.

In 1998-99 academic year, A&M completed the first phase in the transition from pilot curricula to new first and second year engineering curricula for every student. As the foundation for new curricula, A&M used learning communities. Alexander Meiklejohn originated the concept of Proceedings of the 2002 American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference & Exposition Copyright Ó 2002, American Society for Engineering Education

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Caso, R., & Froyd, J., & Rinehart, J., & Inam, A., & Kenimer, A., & Clark, C., & Morgan, J. (2002, June), A Systemic Change Model In Engineering Education And Its Relevance For Women Paper presented at 2002 Annual Conference, Montreal, Canada. 10.18260/1-2--10665

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