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Integration of Critical Reflection Methodologies into Engineering Service-Learning Projects

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2017 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Columbus, Ohio

Publication Date

June 24, 2017

Start Date

June 24, 2017

End Date

June 28, 2017

Conference Session

Innovation and Reflection

Tagged Division

Liberal Education/Engineering & Society

Tagged Topic


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Paper Authors


Scott A. Newbolds P.E. Benedictine College

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Dr. Newbolds is an assistant professor in the engineering department at Benedictine College, Atchison, Kansas. After graduating from Purdue University in 1995, Dr. Newbolds started his career in construction as a Project Engineer for the Indiana Department of Transportation (INDOT). He returned to Purdue for graduate school in 1998 and subsequently took a position in the INDOT Research and Development office. While completing his graduate degrees, Dr. Newbolds conducted and oversaw research projects for INDOT in the areas of highway structures, materials, and construction. He then served two years as the Director of Site Operations for the Network for Earthquake Engineering Simulation (NEES) at Purdue University; a network of 14 university-based earthquake and tsunami research laboratories sponsored by the National Science Foundation. Dr. Newbolds began teaching at Benedictine College in 2012. He is a registered Professional Engineer in the State of Indiana.

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Patrick F. O'Malley Benedictine College

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Patrick O'Malley teaches in the Mechanical Engineering program at Benedictine College in Atchison, KS.

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Meredith Stoops Benedictine College

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Meredith Stoops is the Coordinator of Service-Learning at Benedictine College in Atchison, Kansas.

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This paper focuses on a case study utilizing critical reflection methodologies in an engineering, service-learning course at a small, liberal arts college. The college started the engineering department in 2009. As a new program, we have been working to accredit programs in four disciplines: chemical, civil, electrical, and mechanical engineering. We are designing the degree programs to take advantage of the Catholic, liberal arts mission of the college. In doing so, we wanted to develop classes that would highlight these aspects in the curriculum. Service-learning courses are able to incorporate the Catholic, liberal arts with an engineering project. Critical reflections in such courses help students to analyze the experiences working on the project and provide the framework for them to integrate these experiences into their careers.

The authors discuss a class they developed that introduces students to the methodologies of engineering for human development. Students perform background research to conduct a community appraisal, work with the community to identify needs, develop a project proposal, and design a solution that will be implemented in the community. Students then work with the community, both remotely and in-person, to implement the chosen solution. This type of work fits well with the Catholic mission of the college and provides a good opportunity to introduce critical reflection techniques.

In this paper, the authors present two different methods of critical analysis: classroom discussions and critical reflection papers. The paper provides an overview of how the techniques were introduced, what topics were discussed, and the outcomes of the reflections. Additionally, the authors discuss the assessment of these reflections for integration into our ABET assessment plan. Finally, the paper provides recommendations for integration of critical reflections into other classes.

Newbolds, S. A., & O'Malley, P. F., & Stoops, M. (2017, June), Integration of Critical Reflection Methodologies into Engineering Service-Learning Projects Paper presented at 2017 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Columbus, Ohio. 10.18260/1-2--28565

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