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Design Thinking Approach to Identify Barriers to Engineering Education Reform in India

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2020 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access


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Publication Date

June 22, 2020

Start Date

June 22, 2020

End Date

June 26, 2021

Conference Session

WIP It! Faculty Development Style!

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Faculty Development Division

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Rucha Joshi University of California, Davis Orcid 16x16

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Rucha received her BS in Biotechnology from Kolhapur, India and thereafter came to Vanderbilt University to work on her MS developing smart bio-materials for drug delivery applications. A biomedical engineer with expertise in biomaterials, tissue engineering, and drug delivery, Rucha is now a faculty in Biomedical Engineering (BME) at UC Davis with a background of post-doctoral work in engineering education at Purdue University. Dr. Joshi focuses on enhancing teaching, learning, outreach and diversity of engineers, along with instructional innovation in biomedical engineering. Her current research looks at applying human-centered design thinking to approaching challenges in teaching engineering. Dr. Joshi is actively involved in educational entrepreneurship projects, STEM popularization activities and making engineering accessible to underrepresented high school students in the U.S. and India.

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Jason R White University of California, Davis

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Dr. Jason R. White is a faculty member in the Department of Chemical Engineering at the University of California, Davis. Dr. White has been at UC Davis since 2015 and he has been an instructor of several undergraduate chemical engineering courses including: Plant Design and Economics, Unit Operations and Separations, Plant Design Project, Bioseparations, Bioprocess Engineering Laboratory, Transport Laboratory, and Mathematical Methods for Chemical Engineers. Dr. White has received a 2017 ASEE Chemical Engineering Summer School Poster Award and a Best Poster Award from the Chemical Engineering Division of ASEE for his poster presentation at the 2019 Annual Conference. He has also been voted Professor of the Year for the 2015-2016, 2017-2018, and 2018-2019 academic years by the UC Davis chapter of AIChE.

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Today’s global, knowledge-driven economy is giving an impetus to the engineering educators to produce more and quality engineers with mindset toward global innovation and an international outlook [1]. Unfortunately, most engineering faculty are not well prepared for this educational reform. In the USA, most universities have set up professional faculty development programs to prepare engineering educators to address the challenges in providing quality education. While these program do a great job of training faculty, the faculty participation in these programs is low, possibly due to of lack of incentive, time, motivation, and / or awareness about the program existence [1]. Moreover, instructional development in such programs if provided by general education specialists, and not engineers, can create a feeling of irrelevance for the engineering faculty [1]. Universities have also encouraged adoption of well-researched and recommended solutions in teaching engineering that have been shown to facilitate learning more effectively [6-11]. A good example of this is promoting academic achievements and positive student attitudes through adoption of ‘active-learning’ techniques such as collaborative and cooperative learning [12]. However, in practice the adoption of these techniques by many engineering faculty remains low. The question then becomes - How to design for intentional educational reform where the challenges in teaching engineering can be addressed while creating a large buy-in from all the stakeholders that will continually adopt and evolve best practices in engineering education? The need for engineering education reform also exists in other countries, India being one of them. To better engage educators in a global reform, we propose human-centered design approach that will support reform in engineering teaching by providing an opportunity to develop deeper insights of the challenges faced by engineering faculty. In this Work-In-Progress, we hope to start with India and initiate the human centered design thinking based engineering education reform, and develop mutually collaborative solutions with, rather than only for participants, while opening up a broader space for innovative thinking, dialogue and reflective practice.

Joshi, R., & White, J. R. (2020, June), Design Thinking Approach to Identify Barriers to Engineering Education Reform in India Paper presented at 2020 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access, Virtual On line . 10.18260/1-2--34397

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