New Orleans, Louisiana
June 26, 2016
June 26, 2016
August 28, 2016
Community Engagement Division
Impacts of a University-wide Service Learning Program on a Senior Undergraduate Capstone Course Abstract Experiential learning in a civil engineering senior design project, or capstone, course requires significant preparation and coordination, but has been recognized as an extremely powerful pedagogy. The value of service-based learning in engineering education has been well documented as serving to better demonstrate “real world problems”, improve community awareness and responsibility, and develop “soft skills” necessary for engineering practice. A university-wide service learning program provides an opportunity for enrichment of experiential learning within the Civil and Environmental Engineering (CEE) department at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville (UT). The relationship established through the university network provides opportunities that are not easily replicated through engineering-only experiential learning opportunities. The UT Smart Communities Initiative (UT SCI) program serves as a model for service-based learning as the interdisciplinary program strives to engage students from across the university to share in identifying solutions to address community needs. This program pairs university faculty and students with community partners, providing well-organized, dedicated teams able to develop solutions to complex multidisciplinary problems. The specific structure of this program, modeled after the University of Oregon Sustainable Cities Initiative, enhances the success of the student performance by suitably developing a partnership for which all entities involved are responsible and engaged, recognizing the need to maintain efficient communication and response to student needs with respect to the academic calendar. The following paper contains: a brief history of service-learning programs in engineering academia, a summary of the development and design of the UT SCI program, a summary of the UT CEE senior design project partnership during the inaugural year of the program, and recommendations for assessment of the program objectives with respect to the university, department, and community partners.
Retherford, J. Q., & Ellenburg, K. S. (2016, June), Impacts of a University-wide Service Learning Program on a Senior Undergraduate Capstone Course Paper presented at 2016 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, New Orleans, Louisiana. 10.18260/p.25548
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