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Impact of Curriculum Transformation Committee Experience on Faculty Perspectives of their Teaching and its Influence on Student Learning

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2016 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


New Orleans, Louisiana

Publication Date

June 26, 2016

Start Date

June 26, 2016

End Date

August 28, 2016





Conference Session

Faculty Development I: Attitudes Towards Teaching

Tagged Division

Educational Research and Methods

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Paper Authors


Debra A. Fowler Texas A&M University

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Dr. Debra Fowler serves the Associate Director of the Center for Teaching Excellence at Texas A&M University. Following 16 years working in industry she completed a Ph.D. is in Interdisciplinary Engineering with a specific focus on engineering education from Texas A&M University. Her research areas of focus are faculty perspectives and growth through curriculum design and redesign, interdisciplinary teaching and learning, reflective eportfolios, and professional development of graduate students related to teaching.

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Maria L. Macik Texas A&M University

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Maria Macik is an associate instructional consultant at the Center for Teaching Excellence at Texas A&M University. She earned a B.S. degree in psychology and sociology from Texas A&M University, an M.S. degree in educational psychology, and is currently pursuing a Ph.D. in educational psychology at Texas A&M. Her research interests include: curriculum (re)design, creativity and innovation in higher education, and reflection and transformative learning.

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James Kaihatu Texas A&M University

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Associate Professor of Civil Engineering at Texas A&M University. Have been here since 2006. Prior employment experience includes: Oceanographer for US Naval Research Laboratory (1995-2006), Post-Doctoral Fellow at US Naval Research Laboratory (1994-1995), Hydraulic Engineer at US Waterways Experiment Station, US Army Corps of Engineers (1987-1989). Ph.D. from University of Delaware (1994), M.S. from University of California, Berkeley (1987), B.S. from California State Polytechnic University (1986), all in Civil Engineering. Research interests include theory and modeling of ocean wave dynamics, beach erosion, coastal engineering, nearshore circulation, and ocean wave generation by wind.

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Chelsea A. H. Bakenhus Texas A&M University

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Ms. Chelsea Bakenhus is currently a second-year doctoral student studying educational psychology at Texas A&M University. She currently works as a graduate assistant for curriculum redesign projects for the Center for Teaching Excellence. Her areas of interest include curriculum design and redesign, professional development of faculty, creativity in higher education, and the impact of curricular alignment on long-term student outcomes.

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This research paper examines the impact on faculty from participation in a curriculum update. A research-intensive university’s civil engineering program recently underwent a well-defined curriculum revision process in order to align the program with both ASCE’s second edition Civil Engineering Body of Knowledge (BOK2) and ABET learning outcome criteria. The curriculum process is detailed in an earlier paper. In conjunction with the curriculum revision process, faculty who participated on the program’s Curriculum Transformation Team (CTT) experienced a major shift in attitude due to their participation in the process.

Such a shift in attitude has ramifications for the curriculum changes enacted during the curriculum redesign experience. While most faculty are equipped to deal with the daily requirements and rigors of educating in the classroom, not all professors are aware or familiar with all aspects of the overall program or curriculum structure. Additionally, not all faculty are well-versed in the requirements of a large-scale project such as a curriculum update or the process to evaluate and/or maintain the changes. Ergo, a critical aspect of the project was to familiarize the CTT faculty with the procedures associated with a curriculum update and to further inform future faculty development to support curricular changes. The familiarity occurred through interactions such as one-on-one meetings, immediate clarification during CTT meetings, and faculty forums.

To obtain a greater understanding of just how the faculty impressions had changed over the course of the process, faculty members were interviewed toward the end of the process in order to capture their perspectives and perceptions. The interview transcripts were qualitatively analyzed using grounded theory concepts to ascertain the overarching themes and ideas faculty felt most pertinent regarding the curriculum process. The goal was to capture the change faculty experienced in their perception of the value of a curriculum revision process, and to identify the impact participation had on faculty views and attitudes toward education. Overall, faculty indicated that their experiences were positive and that they felt the project had been highly valuable. However, there were varying levels of comprehension of the process and its merit in the long term. Faculty members who more readily participated in the process were more self-reflective and had more interest in the long-term impacts of the revision process on the entire civil engineering program. Other faculty focused more closely on the short-term or course-level impacts of the revision process and engaged less in post-process reflection. This disconnect indicates a disparity between the update’s purpose and the faculty’s ability to focus above the course level.

The disparity underlines the need for clear communication in curriculum revision processes; there is a danger of the project falling short of completion if faculty participants misunderstand the goals of the project, or fail to understand the different aspects of an overall program update. Therefore, the goal of this presentation will be to disseminate effective methodologies of engaging faculty in curriculum revisions by illustrating aspects faculty felt were positive and underlining common misunderstandings that arose during the course of the program’s revision project.

Fowler, D. A., & Macik, M. L., & Kaihatu, J., & Bakenhus, C. A. H. (2016, June), Impact of Curriculum Transformation Committee Experience on Faculty Perspectives of their Teaching and its Influence on Student Learning Paper presented at 2016 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, New Orleans, Louisiana. 10.18260/p.25538

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