June 15, 2019
June 15, 2019
October 19, 2019
Educational Research and Methods
To produce engineers capable of meeting the needs of a rapidly evolving innovation economy, several interdisciplinary engineering programs (IDEPs) have been initiated by universities and institutions in the United States. Although different aspects of interdisciplinary engineering education are being examined by researchers, overall there is a lack of understanding related to learning outcomes specific to a given interdisciplinary field. Tissue engineering and regenerative medicine (TERM), a subset of biomedical engineering, is one such field where learning outcomes are unclear for students. Students graduating from these programs often express concerns about navigating the job market which may be attributed to lack of common understanding of TERM from an interdisciplinary curricular standpoint. TERM exemplifies a growing interdisciplinary field in which researchers from a variety of traditional disciplines, including engineering and physical sciences, collaborate to perform research focused on micro to macro-level fabrication and regeneration of tissues, making curricular efforts difficult to scope. Our presented work is an exploratory effort to understand the perceptions of TERM faculty about the field. We use qualitative methods to examine the research questions: 1) How do faculty working in the field of TERM define or describe engineering generally and tissue engineering more specifically? and 2) How do those definitions inform their emphasis on specific skills and concepts important in TERM as well as the role of engineers in the field? The rationale behind our work is to assess faculty perceptions of TERM from an interdisciplinary engineering education perspective. We used semi-structured interviews from 16 faculty working in TERM as our data source. We first employed purposeful sampling of faculty involved in TERM research at a large, R1 university in the Midwest to recruit 8 study participants. As those interviews were performed, we employed snowball sampling, asking participants to identify TERM researchers outside the university who they feel have insightful perspectives. Our overall participant sample included a mixed group of faculty regarding gender, ethnicity, experience, and institution type. We used recommended approaches for qualitative data analysis which involved open coding to develop a codebook, combination of similar codes into overarching categories, and identification of common themes within the categories. The analysis was performed by two researchers with appropriate measures taken to ensure the reliability and validity of the study. Our findings provide insights on faculty’s perceptions of TERM, their views on the role of engineers in TERM, and skills and concepts important for TERM students to grasp. We discuss these findings regarding their informative influence on future studies of TERM stakeholders related to interdisciplinary curriculum design in the realm of biomedical engineering and present implications for future examinations of IDEPs in engineering education.
Woodcock, C. S. E., & Friend, N. E., & Huang-Saad, A. (2019, June), Exploratory Examination of an Interdisciplinary Engineering Field: Tissue Engineering and Regenerative Medicine Paper presented at 2019 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition , Tampa, Florida. 10.18260/1-2--32801
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