June 24, 2017
June 24, 2017
June 28, 2017
Liberal Education/Engineering & Society
This project comprises the assessment and implementation of an interdisciplinary minor in innovation that is being introduced in an engineering department as part of a new general education initiative. The minor connects three existing courses, each from a different college, to form an integrative core course sequence that enables students to learn multiple perspectives on innovation, entrepreneurship and design. This paper will describe the process used to align the course learning outcomes of this minor, the pilot assessment plan, and the results of our first round of assessment. The features and process of the assessment are situated in a framework of “Academic Plans in SocioCultural Context” as modeled by Lattuca and Stark (2015). This framework describes the interaction between faculty, learners, instructional resources, assessments, and other factors in an educational environment. We chose this framework to illustrate the factors that influence the implementation of academic plans, and to guide us in beginning the cycle of continuous improvement. Our internal assessment process focuses on several minor-level outcomes (e.g. communication and teamwork) assessed across the three core courses. External general education outcomes are also assessed, including two integrative outcomes (Ethical Reasoning and Intercultural and Global Awareness) and three course-specific outcomes (Critical Thinking in the Humanities, Critique and Practice in Design and the Arts, and Reasoning in the Social Sciences). For each outcome, we use an AAC&U VALUE rubric or university-level general education rubric to rate individual and team assignments. Our analysis involves comparing ratings across courses and across outcomes to learn where we are hitting our targets and where we can improve. Specifically, we measure curricular alignment and identify sites for pedagogical adjustments that result in a productive spiral curriculum. We also address the challenges faced in designing and implementing a minor that is both interdisciplinary and focused on general education. In particular, we will highlight stakeholders’ concerns raised within the engineering department and college, where general education is not traditionally housed, and explain how we worked to gain institutional approval for the minor within the engineering environment and throughout levels of university governance.
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