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Enabling And Sustaining Educational Innovation

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2001 Annual Conference


Albuquerque, New Mexico

Publication Date

June 24, 2001

Start Date

June 24, 2001

End Date

June 27, 2001



Page Count


Page Numbers

6.417.1 - 6.417.6

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Paper Authors

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M. Silva

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Sheri Sheppard

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Session 2330

Enabling and Sustaining Educational Innovation M. Kathleen Silva, Sheri D. Sheppard The Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching/ The Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching and Stanford University


This paper reviews the responses to questions regarding innovation in engineering education posed to a nine-person panel assembled for The Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching’s pre-conference workshop at the Frontiers in Education (FIE) 2000 in Kansas City. Questions were focused on the inspiration, enablers, and challenges for innovation. In addition, issues related to innovation institutionalization (or sustainability) and to evidence gathered by the panelists to assess and evaluate the institutionalizing process are discussed. Themes and commonalities of the responses are presented and related to literature on the diffusion of innovation.

1. Introduction

Innovation "is an idea, practice, or object that is perceived as new by an individual, [even if it is not] objectively new as measured by the lapse of time since its first use or discovery."1 To gain a sense of how innovation is occurring in current engineering education environments in this country, The Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching (hereafter referred to as The Foundation) in October 2000 assembled a nine-person panel to discuss several innovations occurring in engineering education at a pre-conference workshop at the Frontiers in Education (FIE) conference in Kansas City. Panel members included Pamela A. Eibeck (Northern Arizona University), Anthony Marchese (Rowan University), Donald Richards (Rose-Hulman Institute), Jacquelyn Sullivan and Lawrence Carlson (University of Colorado at Boulder), Cynthia J. Atman (University of Washington, Seattle), Daniel Frey (Olin College), Eric Van Duzer (Humboldt State University), and Sheri D. Sheppard (The Foundation and Stanford University).

These individuals were asked to respond to (1) what inspired the engineering education innovation they were involved with; (2) what enabled the innovation to begin; (3) what challenges were faced during the initiation and incorporation phases of the innovation; (4) what solutions to these challenges were devised and/or implemented; (5) how the innovation was being sustained at their respective institution; and, (6) what evidence was collected and evaluated that indicated whether institutionalization of the innovation was successful.

2. Contributions of Panelists

Dr. Pamela A. Eibeck, Chair and Professor of Mechanical Engineering at Northern Arizona University, stated that innovation occurred at Northern Arizona because a critical mass of engineering faculty thought that curricular change, including the integration of interdisciplinary

Proceedings of the 2001 American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference & Exposition Copyright  2001, American Society for Engineering Education

Silva, M., & Sheppard, S. (2001, June), Enabling And Sustaining Educational Innovation Paper presented at 2001 Annual Conference, Albuquerque, New Mexico.

ASEE holds the copyright on this document. It may be read by the public free of charge. Authors may archive their work on personal websites or in institutional repositories with the following citation: © 2001 American Society for Engineering Education. Other scholars may excerpt or quote from these materials with the same citation. When excerpting or quoting from Conference Proceedings, authors should, in addition to noting the ASEE copyright, list all the original authors and their institutions and name the host city of the conference. - Last updated April 1, 2015