Asee peer logo

Establishment of Innovative Shared Departments to Advance Interdisciplinary Education

Download Paper |

Conference

2017 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition

Location

Columbus, Ohio

Publication Date

June 24, 2017

Start Date

June 24, 2017

End Date

June 28, 2017

Conference Session

Merging Disciplines: Practice and Benefits

Tagged Division

Multidisciplinary Engineering

Page Count

12

Permanent URL

https://peer.asee.org/28296

Download Count

31

Request a correction

Paper Authors

biography

Ronald S. Harichandran University of New Haven

visit author page

Ron Harichandran is Dean of the Tagliatela College of Engineering and recently served as PI on two grants related to the development of technical communication skills and entrepreneurial thinking in engineering students. He led the establishment of the shared Department of Engineering and Applied Science Education in the College of Engineering and partnered with the Dean of the College of Business to establish the university-wide shared Department of Entrepreneurship and Innovation. He has 150 journal, conference proceedings and technical report publications. He is a Fellow of ASCE and has been inducted into the Connecticut Academy of Science and Engineering.

visit author page

biography

Brian T. Kench University of New Haven

visit author page

Brian T. Kench is Dean of the AACSB accredited College of Business at the University of New Haven. Dean Kench has built his career around the specialties behavioral and experimental economics, microeconomics, and the economics of organization. He serves as a consultant in the areas of economic damages and economic impact analysis. His works have been published in the Eastern Economic Journal, Journal of Economics and Economic Education Research, Journal of Financial Transformation, and Journal of Regulatory Economics.

visit author page

biography

Summer J. McGee University of New Haven

visit author page

Summer McGee, PhD, CPH is Chair of the Department of Health Sciences and Associate Professor of Health Sciences at the University of New Haven. She is also Director of the MS in Healthcare Administration program and Associate Professor of Management in the College of Business at the University of New Haven.

visit author page

biography

Michael A. Collura P.E. University of New Haven

visit author page

Michael A. Collura, professor of chemical engineering at the University of New Haven, received his B.S. in chemical engineering from Lafayette College and M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in chemical engineering from Lehigh University. After several years in industry, he moved to the academic world, where he has taught engineering for more than 30 years. He is currently the Buckman Professor of Chemical Engineering in the Tagliatela College of Engineering. His professional interests include the application of computers to process modeling and control (particularly for energy conversion processes), engineering education research (student self-assessment, developing conceptual understanding, multidisciplinary learning models), and reform of engineering education.

visit author page

biography

Jean Nocito-Gobel University of New Haven

visit author page

Jean Nocito-Gobel, Professor of Civil & Environmental Engineering at the University of New Haven, received her Ph.D. from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. She has been actively involved in a number of educational initiatives in the Tagliatela College of Engineering including KEEN and PITCH, PI of the ASPIRE grant, and is the coordinator for the first-year Intro to Engineering course. Her professional interests include modeling the transport and fate of contaminants in groundwater and surface water systems, as well as engineering education reform.

visit author page

biography

Charles David Skipton University of New Haven

visit author page

Charles D Skipton, PhD, is the Associate Dean of the College of Business at the University of New Haven and is an Associate Professor of Economics. Dr. Skipton served as a staff Economist for the Joint Economic Committee of the United States Senate in 1999 & 2000 where he worked on policy issues related to trade openness, trade & growth, economic freedom & growth, tax reform, and social security reform, among other topics. Dr. Skipton's research has focused on the measurement of economic freedom in the area of trade policy and the impact of trade openness on long-run economic growth.

visit author page

Download Paper |

Abstract

More and more universities are pursuing interdisciplinary academic activities that span across department and college boundaries. Administrative structures to facilitate such programs are difficult to establish within traditional university frameworks consisting of disciplinary departments and colleges. Often interdisciplinary programs are housed in a traditional disciplinary department or college, or in a standalone center reporting to a college dean or the provost. The difficulty of these structures is obtaining broad buy-in from faculty across departments and having disciplinary degree programs include interdisciplinary coursework.

To overcome the difficulties described above, a shared department structure that fosters collaborations to advance interdisciplinary education has been successfully deployed at the University of ___. Two successful shared departments have been established over the last two years: (1) a college-wide department to support interdisciplinary coursework in the first two years of engineering programs; and (2) a university-wide department to support entrepreneurship and innovation.

The shared departments typically have faculty whose tenure home is a traditional disciplinary department. Faculty membership is based on interest and activity level in teaching interdisciplinary courses, participating in interdisciplinary co-curricular activities, and performing interdisciplinary research. A few faculty members may be appointed full-time in a shared department. Like traditional departments, the shared departments have chairs to lead and coordinate activities. Faculty membership can vary from year-to-year depending on their level of activity in the shared department. The shared departments are responsible for approving interdisciplinary courses within their jurisdiction. The chairs of the departments are responsible for reviewing the performance of instructors teaching the interdisciplinary courses, and for providing feedback to disciplinary department chairs on the performance of faculty who are members of the shared department.

To date the shared departments have facilitated the following: (1) an Entrepreneurial Engineering Living-Learning Community (LLC) for freshmen; (2) an Innovation and Entrepreneurship LLC for sophomores; (3) an integrated technical communications program across all engineering and computer science programs; (4) an integrated approach to developing entrepreneurial thinking in students across all engineering and computer science programs; (5) the development and teaching of courses on entrepreneurship; and (6) startup weekends and a business plan competition with students drawn from across the university.

The detailed structure of the two shared departments and the lessons learned in establishing and operating them is described in this paper.

Harichandran, R. S., & Kench, B. T., & McGee, S. J., & Collura, M. A., & Nocito-Gobel, J., & Skipton, C. D. (2017, June), Establishment of Innovative Shared Departments to Advance Interdisciplinary Education Paper presented at 2017 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Columbus, Ohio. https://peer.asee.org/28296

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: © 2017 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