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Assessment and Implementation of an Interdisciplinary General Education Minor

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Conference

2017 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition

Location

Columbus, Ohio

Publication Date

June 24, 2017

Start Date

June 24, 2017

End Date

June 28, 2018

Conference Session

Assessment and Liberal Education

Tagged Division

Liberal Education/Engineering & Society

Page Count

18

Permanent URL

https://peer.asee.org/27629

Download Count

12

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Paper Authors

biography

Kirsten A. Davis Virginia Tech

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Kirsten is a PhD student in Engineering Education at Virginia Tech, where she also completed her master's degree in Higher Education. She has previously worked in industry in the field of IT analytics and has experience with corporate recruiting. Her primary research interests are engineering study abroad, developing intercultural competency in engineering students, and international higher education.

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Chris Gewirtz Virginia Tech

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Graduate Student in Engineering Education at Virginia Tech. His research interests include: engineering for social justice, engineering with community, innovation, ethics, transformative learning, reflection, professional identity.

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Ramon Benitez Virginia Tech

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Ramon Benitez is interested in how engineering identity and animal participatory design can be used to recruit Chicano K-12 students to engineering professions. Benitez completed his BS in Metallurgical and Materials Engineering at the University of Texas at El Paso (UTEP), and is now a Ph.D. student in Engineering Education at Virginia Tech (VT). Benitez seeks to understand how to best instruct and assess ethical reasoning of engineering practices and engineering responsibilities, including wildlife and humanity, in our definitions of public good.

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Lisa D. McNair Virginia Tech

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Lisa D. McNair is an Associate Professor of Engineering Education at Virginia Tech, where she also serves as co-Director of the VT Engineering Communication Center (VTECC) and CATALYST Fellow at the Institute for Creativity, Arts, and Technology (ICAT). Her research interests include interdisciplinary collaboration, design education, communication studies, identity theory and reflective practice. Projects supported by the National Science Foundation include exploring disciplines as cultures, liberatory maker spaces, and a RED grant to increase pathways in ECE for the professional formation of engineers.

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Abstract

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.

Davis, K. A., & Gewirtz, C., & Benitez, R., & McNair, L. D. (2017, June), Assessment and Implementation of an Interdisciplinary General Education Minor Paper presented at 2017 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Columbus, Ohio. https://peer.asee.org/27629

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