June 24, 2007
June 24, 2007
June 27, 2007
12.927.1 - 12.927.9
Integrating Teamwork Across the Curriculum Abstract
The ability to work on teams is a very important business skill. Some educators choose to call it a “soft skill.” However, our Industrial Advisory Committee members and the businesses hiring our graduates choose to call it a “critical skill”. The Technology Accreditation Commission of the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology recognizes the importance of being able to work on teams. In the Criteria for Accrediting Engineering Technology Programs, Criterion 2e requires that “An engineering technology program must demonstrate that graduates have an ability to function effectively on teams.” How can instructors ensure that our students learn how to work effectively on teams? How can we teach our students teamwork and team leadership skills?
The traditional approach to developing team work and team leadership skills involves assigning students randomly to teams, giving them a project to work on, and expecting them to somehow magically learn to work together effectively as leaders and members of teams. This “they’ll learn about teamwork if they work on teams” approach fails to give students adequate preparation and insight into teamwork and team management skills. It doesn’t work. A coordinated approach to teambuilding and leadership skills training is needed to effectively prepare students to work on teams. This paper describes how the Engineering Technology Department at the University of Dayton works together to provide graduates the skills to be able to function effectively on teams.
Gone are the days when engineers sat behind a drawing board and pitched their designs over the wall to manufacturing. Today, our graduates must be able to work together successfully with other engineers and people from other disciplines to accomplish the company’s objectives. Working in teams promotes synergy; the results of the team are greater than the sum of the efforts of the individual team members. Industry seeks to hire employees who not only have required technical skills, but who also have some skill in working on and leading teams. The challenge for academia is to prepare graduates who have this combination of skills.
Learning about teamwork through lectures may give students information about teamwork skills but does not supply the experience necessary to be able to effectively apply those skills. Merely putting students in groups and hoping that they will learn about teamwork by being in the groups is not enough to ensure that they learn teamwork skills. A group becomes a team when it shares a common goal and works together successfully to achieve that goal. Michael Prince4 said that students need to experience being on successful teams to understand and appreciate the values of good teamwork. According to Stephanie Adams8, when individuals have an effective teaming experience,
Edmonson, C., & Summers, D. (2007, June), Integrating Teamwork Across The Curriculum Paper presented at 2007 Annual Conference & Exposition, Honolulu, Hawaii. https://peer.asee.org/1660
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