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It’s all about relationship - expanding relational learning opportunities

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2013 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Atlanta, Georgia

Publication Date

June 23, 2013

Start Date

June 23, 2013

End Date

June 26, 2013



Conference Session

The D/M/A of CE

Tagged Division

Community Engagement Division

Page Count


Page Numbers

23.835.1 - 23.835.14



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Paper Authors


Greg Kremer Ohio University

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Dr. Kremer is the Robe professor for Leadership and Integrity at Ohio University, as well as the chair of the Mechanical Engineering Department and the leader of the "Designing to Make a Difference" ME capstone design experience. He studied Integrative Learning as a Carnegie Scholar in 2005-2006, and has mentored multiple student design teams that have won nationally competitive awards.

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It’s all about relationship - creating conditions for transformative community-based experiencesIt pays to think big for capstone design experiences - not in terms of project scope but in terms ofimpact. Since we have found that impact grows through relationships that transcend classboundaries, we have worked on creating relationships between senior design students andfreshman design students, between senior design students and project mentors from industry,between senior design students and community partners, and between different teams of seniordesign students. The context of engaging students with the needs of the community sets thestage for the effectiveness of the entire experience, since all other relationships refer back to thecommunity-based projects. The methods for creating these partnerships have been developedover about 12 years, with an ongoing process of continuous improvement. Some characteristicsof the approach include building long term relationships with local farmers, small businesseswithout technical staff, and sheltered workshops that employ individuals with disabilities, sincethey often have ongoing needs, projects of appropriate scale, and are committed to building upthe community. Building relationships with industry mentors through a guided checklist-basedproject review process that emphasizes an ongoing dialogue throughout the project. Building acollaborative rather than a competitive culture as all teams take on meaningful projects thateveryone wants to see be successful. Building a culture that values community engagementthrough structured interactions between freshman and seniors centered around their projects,their student experience, and integrity and professionalism. Assessment data related to learningoutcomes and the student experience support the success of the relational approach and thesespecific initiatives.

Kremer, G. (2013, June), It’s all about relationship - expanding relational learning opportunities Paper presented at 2013 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Atlanta, Georgia. 10.18260/1-2--19849

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