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Creating The Spirit Of Teamwork In The Freshmen Experience

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2000 Annual Conference


St. Louis, Missouri

Publication Date

June 18, 2000

Start Date

June 18, 2000

End Date

June 21, 2000



Page Count


Page Numbers

5.181.1 - 5.181.6



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Paper Authors

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Craig Gunn

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Session 1453

Creating the Spirit of Teamwork in the Freshmen Experience

Craig James Gunn Department of Mechanical Engineering Michigan State University East Lansing, MI


Building an attitude that senses the need for a team effort in engineering is an important aspect of the Freshmen Experience. Students who come from a variety of backgrounds where competition and winning may be more important than collaborative endeavors must be quickly acquainted with tactics that will make team activities a vital part of their education. The idea of networking and developing strong links to individuals who can supply help and counsel in future work can and should be instilled early in the college or university career. Strategies for dealing with team activities, elements for creating a team environment, activities that will allow teaming to be part of the natural engineering education, and ideas concerning the type of students who may enter engineering programs (and their teaming potential) will be discussed. The incorporation of problem solving as a team activity will also be reviewed. Attitudes towards the teaming activities and their benefit to the students will be explored through the students’ assessments of the activities.

Every fall thousands of freshmen join the ranks of college and university students across the country. They come from large schools and small schools and everything in between. We expect them to come freshly washed and filled with basic information that will enable them to survive in any of the courses that we deem acceptable for the freshmen mindset. We also expect them to adapt to a variety of wide ranging teaching patterns, to vary their learning styles, and function as specialists on a mission to submerge themselves in the educational system. They sometimes, and more than not, continuously fall short of our expectations; and this creates a foreseeable tension in our interactions. One of the areas that we fail to spend enough time on because we assume that students should be completely capable of performing in is teamwork. We throw projects at students and then become frustrated when the process disintegrates into bedlum. Parker Palmer states, “Everyone must be educated into a capacity for connectedness!” The process of moving

Gunn, C. (2000, June), Creating The Spirit Of Teamwork In The Freshmen Experience Paper presented at 2000 Annual Conference, St. Louis, Missouri. 10.18260/1-2--8251

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