Asee peer logo

Faculty Reflections on a STEAM-Inspired Interdisciplinary Studio Course

Download Paper |


2013 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Atlanta, Georgia

Publication Date

June 23, 2013

Start Date

June 23, 2013

End Date

June 26, 2013



Conference Session

Restructuring/Rethinking STEM

Tagged Division

Liberal Education/Engineering & Society

Page Count


Page Numbers

23.597.1 - 23.597.27

Permanent URL

Download Count


Request a correction

Paper Authors


Nicola Sochacka University of Georgia

visit author page

Dr. Nicola Sochacka received her doctorate in Engineering Epistemologies from the University of Queensland (Brisbane, Australia). She currently holds a research and teaching position at the University of Georgia where she transfers her expertise in qualitative research methodologies to a variety of research contexts at the intersection of social and technological issues. This includes engineering education projects concerned with transdisciplinary education, student reflection, and interpretive research quality. Dr. Sochacka is also an active member of the Southern Region’s Water Policy and Economics (WPE) team where she lends a qualitative research perspective to ongoing projects concerning public attitudes, opinions and behaviors regarding various water issues across the South East. In the instructional context, Dr. Sochacka's two main interests focus on integrating the arts into undergraduate and graduate engineering education and the economics of sustainable development.

visit author page

author page

Kelly Woodall Guyotte University of Georgia


Joachim Walther University of Georgia

visit author page

Dr. Walther is an assistant professor of engineering education research at the University of Georgia (UGA). He is one of the leaders of the Collaborative Lounge for Understanding Society and Technology through Educational Research (CLUSTER), an interdisciplinary research group with members from engineering, art, educational psychology and social work.
He has conducted qualitative educational research in a number of contexts ranging from formation of students' professional identity, the role of reflection in engineering learning, and engineering students’ creativity development.
He was the first international recipient of the ASEE Educational Research Methods Division's "Apprentice Faculty Award", was selected as a 2010 Frontiers in Education "New Faculty Fellow". In 2011, he received a National Science Foundation CAREER award (#1150668) to investigate and systemize practices and conceptions around research quality in interpretive approaches to engineering education research.
His teaching focuses on innovative approaches to introducing systems thinking and creativity into the environmental engineering program at the University of Georgia.

visit author page


Nadia N. Kellam University of Georgia

visit author page

Dr. Nadia Kellam is an Associate Professor in the College of Engineering at the University of Georgia where she is co-director of the interdisciplinary CLUSTER research group. Dr. Kellam is interested in understanding how engineering students develop their professional identity; her research focuses specifically on creativity, interdisciplinarity, and the role of emotion in cognition. She created the synthesis and design studios in the environmental engineering program and is currently developing the professional and design spines for the upcoming mechanical engineering program. She is also interested in faculty development and recently co-organized the NSF-sponsored PEER workshop for tenure-track engineering education research faculty.

visit author page

Download Paper |


Cross-disciplinary collaboration: A transformative learning opportunity for facultyAs the world’s most pressing problems become more complex and interconnected, there is anincreasingly urgent need to equip students with holistic and integrative thinking skills. In the context ofengineering education, curricular initiatives designed to address this need draw on a broad base ofliterature spanning creativity and innovation, systems thinking, and sustainability. Motivated facultyengage in problem-based and service learning projects, where, in contrast to traditional engineeringscience courses, they embrace the absence of single solutions and encourage their students to feel at easein the messy, open-endedness of ‘real-world’ problems. Set against these broad trends, this paperdescribes a transdisciplinary, split-level, studio course that was implemented in fall 2012. Co- taught byan art education graduate student and an environmental engineering instructor, this class consisted ofeleven students from art education (4), environmental (4) and civil (1) engineering, and landscapearchitecture (2). Undertaken as part of a larger research project focusing on synergistic learning, that is,how ideas come together in students heads, this paper uses autoethnographic techniques to describe andanalyze ways in which cross-disciplinary collaborative teaching can be a transformative learningopportunity not only for students, but for faculty too. To this end, the paper presents selectedautobiographic accounts of “epiphanies” that we, the two instructors, experienced in the process ofplanning and facilitating the studio. These experiences are then analyzed with respect to how they stemfrom, or are made possible by being part of, a particular disciplinary culture. Through this ethnographicanalysis, we consider ways others may experience similar epiphanies and how our experiences illustratebroader patterns and outcomes of cross disciplinary collaborations.

Sochacka, N., & Guyotte, K. W., & Walther, J., & Kellam, N. N. (2013, June), Faculty Reflections on a STEAM-Inspired Interdisciplinary Studio Course Paper presented at 2013 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Atlanta, Georgia.

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: © 2013 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