New Orleans, Louisiana
June 26, 2016
June 26, 2016
August 28, 2016
Educational Research and Methods
This work in progress describes the efforts of a diverse team of educators who are redefining what it means to teach and learn in an engineering department, along with the processes and value systems through which people become engineers . As one of six schools charged by the National Science Foundation with revolutionizing engineering and computer science education for the nation, this paper will discuss how the team is paving the way to change through organizational and pedagogical innovations that empower multifaceted faculty teams to embed professionalism throughout the curriculum. Working in close collaboration with its industry partners, the team seeks feedback on its efforts to reshape professional formation and ensure that students develop critical skills for the 21st century.
Still in the first year of the grant cycle, the team has begun to implement changes that reimagine the roles of the faculty. The new model moves away from teaching courses in isolation to an integrated, collaborative structure that enables newly assigned “Thread Champions” and “Integration Specialists” to weave threads throughout the curriculum and show connections to professional practice. The holistic approach utilizes learning studios with modules that build on the concept of “nanocourses” and emphasize knowledge integration – a learning model well-grounded in education pedagogy and supported by research. In addition to ensuring deep knowledge of the discipline, the learning studios provide clear pathways to developing professional skills more effectively and meaningfully. Such skills include leadership, communication, teamwork, project management, entrepreneurship, ethical responsibility, cross-cultural adaptability, and civic and public engagement.
A former Fortune 500 executive is serving as the Professional Formation Thread Champion for the project, building on the successes of her work with the Professional Learning Institute (PLI) – a college-wide lecture series designed to provide students with real-world professional skills to complement technical curricula. Launched in 2007, all engineering majors are required to participate in the PLI as part of their undergraduate experience. This paper will describe the importance and evolution of the Professional Formation Thread, created through collaboration between the Thread Champion, faculty, and industry teams.
This paper seeks community feedback on: • Efforts to leverage the learning studios to expand the Professional Learning Institute well beyond an isolated lecture series. • Innovative initiatives to support professional formation, including a new Engineer in Residence program – a partnership with the IEEE that brings engineering professionals to campus to interact in a maker space laboratory. • Development of collaborations with international universities to facilitate multi-national design teams. • Novel engagement programs to involve industry in the advancement and assessment of the project. Practicing professionals from companies such as Keysight Technologies are interacting with students in new ways to evaluate and grow their talents in testing and measurement, project management, and communications.
The team's goal is to draw on the expertise and experiences of the engineering community to refine, expand, and assess the work of this project. The research findings will contribute to the nation's economic vitality and global competitiveness by advancing the theoretical development of engineering education and organizational development frameworks.
References  National Science Foundation, IUSE/Professional Formation of Engineers: Revolutionizing Engineering Departments (RED), Program Solicitation NSF 14-602.
Rosales, A. H., & Leland, A. M., & Notaros, O., & Toftness, R. F., & Siller, T. J., & De Miranda, M. A., & Cook, A., & Reese, M. D., & Byrne, Z. S., & Weston, J. W., & Maciejewski, A. A. (2016, June), Preliminary Work on Weaving Professionalism Throughout the Engineering Curriculum Paper presented at 2016 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, New Orleans, Louisiana. 10.18260/p.25946
ASEE holds the copyright on this document. It may be read by the public free of charge. Authors may archive their work on personal websites or in institutional repositories with the following citation: © 2016 American Society for Engineering Education. Other scholars may excerpt or quote from these materials with the same citation. When excerpting or quoting from Conference Proceedings, authors should, in addition to noting the ASEE copyright, list all the original authors and their institutions and name the host city of the conference. - Last updated April 1, 2015