Salt Lake City, Utah
June 23, 2018
June 23, 2018
July 27, 2018
Traditionally, engineering students are taught discipline-specific technical skills, with less emphasis on the contexts in which engineering is practiced, and little focus on critical examinations of assumptions within engineering practice. This model has resulted in engineers who are proficient at solving problems within traditional areas of practice, but who may be ill-prepared to assess the broader impact of their work, or to address new challenges. With funding from a National Science Foundation (NSF) IUSE/PFE REvolutionizing engineering and computer science Departments (RED) grant, our school is working to produce and disseminate a model for redefining the “engineering canon” with the goal of developing “Changemaking Engineers”. This revised canon will present technical skills within a contextual framework that includes humanitarian, sustainable, and social justice approaches. This broader perspective of engineering practice will produce graduates who can address a wider range of societal problems bringing new perspectives to traditional areas.
One of the strategies that we are using to achieve our goals is to infuse traditional engineering classes with new materials that address this changemaking theme. The goal is for students to develop the same fundamental skills that they currently learn, but to see how these skills can be applied to problems and situations that don’t appear in traditional text books. By placing the technical concepts in new contexts, students will learn to critically evaluate the impact of their work, and they will graduate with a better understanding of their potential to use engineering to create change.
In Fall 2017, changemaking content was added to the required deterministic operations research (OR) course taken by industrial and systems engineers at our university. This content included changes in the examples used in lectures, the addition of homework problems that included changemaking principles, and the development of two case studies that required students to apply OR to open-ended problems that promote social justice, sustainability, and humanitarian practice.
This paper will summarize the Fall 2017 offering of the course including a summary of the materials that were created and lessons learned during their development. Exemplar prompts for classroom discussion will be shared, and the transformation of problems found in traditional texts will be illustrated. And the development of one case will be discussed. Finally, the plans for revising the materials and making them available for others to use will be shared.
Olson, R., & Acero, A. E. (2018, June), Introducing Changemaking Engineering into an Operations Research Course: Some Unexpected Results Paper presented at 2018 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition , Salt Lake City, Utah. https://peer.asee.org/30715
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