June 15, 2019
June 15, 2019
October 19, 2019
Faculty Development Constituent Committee
This "Lessons Learned Paper" describes an initiative at Tufts University within the School of Engineering to include civic engagement in a collection of first-year introduction to engineering courses. Recognizing a general lack of youth civic engagement amongst engineers (of all undergraduate majors, engineering students have the lowest rates of voting (Thomas & Brower, 2017)) and leveraging the opportunity to deepen engineering students perception of the role of professional engineers in society (colleges are uniquely equipped to provide a “crucible moment” in training future civic leaders by gathering students, scholars, and resources in a space of contemplation and practice (National Task Force on Civic Learning and Democratic Engagement, 2012)), the Jonathan M. Tisch College of Civic Life (Tisch College) at Tufts University partnered with the School of Engineering and the Center for Engineering Education and Outreach (CEEO) to implement an engineering faculty training to assist instructors with infusing civic education into several courses. Details are provided of the structure of the multi-stage professional development, which included (1) a summer faculty retreat filled with interactive skill-building exercises, group discussions, and conversations around civic engagement, (2) in-person small group and individualized “office hours” the faculty could attend with content experts from both Tisch College and the CEEO, (3) on-going virtual support for the faculty to assist with course redesign and curricular modifications, and (4) in semester cohort meetings for sharing best practices, highlighting successes, and dynamically addressing faculty needs as they arose.
With five separate instructors (who all teach individual engineering courses around different content) participating, a qualitative evaluation of the success of the professional development (and the impact on the students, looking across the different courses and the variety of implementations and strategies) is detailed, leveraging the individual faculty reflections and interviews. This paper highlights the faculty-identified successes and barriers to including civic topics in engineering content courses, and explores the levels to which the professional development as designed and implemented was able to appropriately prepare this cohort of engineering faculty for the inclusion of civic engagement in their courses. It also details the future modifications and changes the authors propose based on these findings, and suggestions for how the program can be replicated and scaled (both internally at Tufts University to other faculty within the School of Engineering, as well as to other interested institutions).
Preferred presentation style is oral presentation.
References: Thomas, N., & Brower, M. (2017). Politics 365: Fostering campus climates for student political learning and engagement. Teaching Civic Engagement Across the Disciplines, 361. National Task Force on Civic Learning and Democratic Engagement. (2012). A crucible moment: College learning and democracy's future.
Sklarwitz, S., & Danahy, E. E., & de Guzman, P., & Lyford, F. W., & Nierenberg, M., & Thomas, N., & Woznica, M. (2019, June), Board 80: Preparing Engineering Faculty for Inclusion of Civic Engagement in Curriculum Paper presented at 2019 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition , Tampa, Florida. 10.18260/1-2--32435
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