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Design, Implementation, and Assessment of a Summer Pre-collegiate Program at Harvard School of Engineering and Applied Sciences (SEAS)

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2018 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Salt Lake City, Utah

Publication Date

June 23, 2018

Start Date

June 23, 2018

End Date

July 27, 2018

Conference Session

FPD and DEEDs Joint Postcard Sessions

Tagged Divisions

First-Year Programs and Design in Engineering Education

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Paper Authors


Anas Chalah Harvard University

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Dr. Anas Chalah
Assistant Dean for Teaching and Learning, Lecturer on Engineering Sciences, Director of Lab Safety Program at Harvard University - John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Science

Pierce Hall G2A, 29 Oxford Street
Cambridge, MA 02138

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Fawwaz Habbal Harvard University

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Fawwaz Habbal has served as the Executive Dean for the Harvard School of Engineering and Applied Sciences (SEAS) from 2007 to present. He is also a Senior Lecturer in Applied Physics at SEAS.
Prior to Harvard, he held the position as Corporate Vice President, responsible for research and product design at Polaroid Corporation where he served as a Senior Research and Engineering Fellow as well. After leaving this position he initiated two start-ups related to imaging.
Dr. Habbal’s research interests focus on superconductivity, magnetic materials, silicon nanowires for photon detection and nano-photonics more broadly.

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Michael Raspuzzi Harvard University

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Michael Raspuzzi is a second year Master in Design Engineering student at Harvard John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences and Graduate School of Design. His most recent teaching roles involve instructing in innovation and entrepreneurship summer classes at SEAS as well as in the Collaborative Design Engineering core studio. His former roles include managing director of Life Changing Labs at Cornell University, founder of LCL’s summer startup incubator, founder of LCS’s global high school entrepreneurship and computer science program, and director of the Caldwell House.

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The incorporation of active learning in our curriculum has been a pedagogical goal of our school toward enforcing learning and long-term knowledge retention. We established state-of-the-arts teaching facilities and infrastructure to enable this goal. We also created a human organization that is capable of empowering students’ learning through experimentation and exploration while being able to dynamically respond to their specific educational needs. This, component of our education, which has been growing rapidly over the past six years, is a result of a collaboration between our faculty and teaching staff. As new experiments and projects are envisioned they must be evaluated and assessed before they become part of our curriculum. Initially, we introduced small groups of our college students to these new activities through focused pilots, but as the demands increased, it became difficult to have a thorough evaluation through these short programs. Thus, we established a pre-collegiate summer program to prototype and develop new learning initiatives before they get integrated into the full curriculum. We decided to engage a different student body, a group of international students of diverse backgrounds. Indeed, this summer program became a valuable platform to develop, experiment, and evaluate new active learning exercises. The outcome of this yearly program has helped modify and enhance our formal offering for “our” College students. This paper will discuss our methodology of addressing factors influencing the success of this program, including: (1) Method of student selection prior to the start, and team formation upon the start of the program. (2) Choice of piloted topics in support of our official college curriculum. (3) Mechanism of curricular development, including program workshops and design competitions. (4) Mechanics of piloting new activities and engaging the participating students. (5) Assessment of learning outcome (before, during, and after program completion).

Chalah, A., & Habbal, F., & Raspuzzi, M. (2018, June), Design, Implementation, and Assessment of a Summer Pre-collegiate Program at Harvard School of Engineering and Applied Sciences (SEAS) Paper presented at 2018 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition , Salt Lake City, Utah. 10.18260/1-2--30273

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