New Orleans, Louisiana
June 26, 2016
June 26, 2016
August 28, 2016
Energy Conversion and Conservation
Renewable Energy Technician Education: The Impact of International Faculty Collaboration
Preparing technicians for the renewable energy sector is a multifaceted challenge for educators, especially those charged with workforce preparation at the nation’s two-year colleges. Rapid technological advances, shifting economic policies, environmental research results, and even ideological debates actively shape and influence the demands and expectations for this sector’s workforce, all of which impacts the development and implementation of technician training programs. The need for industry involvement and workplace-based learning also presents challenges for educators of any discipline. The question becomes not only what do we teach students to do, but also how do we effectively do so? In addition, calls for increased international competency in U.S. college graduates and the global nature of the renewable energy industry requires an exploration of how to incorporate a global perspective in STEM curricula, and how best to develop faculty to make these changes to existing teaching practices. To understand how other nations have met similar challenges and to expand awareness of the global renewable energy sector, a cohort of accomplished renewable energy educators from across the United States, representing a mix of disciplines, institutional roles and experience levels, undertook two learning exchanges to Australia/New Zealand (2013) and Germany/Denmark (2014). Funded by the National Science Foundation Advanced Technological Education Program, the learning exchanges provided opportunities for the participants to meet with technical educators, visit teaching labs, review industry partnerships, talk with policy makers and government representatives, and to share knowledge and best teaching practices.
Formative assessments completed by the participants during the projects’ duration indicated that these exchanges expanded their knowledge of renewable energy advances, technologies and issues both in the U.S. and abroad, and also influenced their teaching, curriculum development, and academic community engagement. The research objectives for this study, paper, and subsequent panel discussion, are to present a summation of the lasting influence of these international experiences. Data was collected utilizing survey methodology to measure the extended impact of the experience and also to describe participants’ perceived value of various learning activities. Educator rankings of the most valuable aspects of the international experiences provide important insights for others who are seeking to create similar international faculty development programs in the STEM disciplines.
Slowinski, M., & Walz, K. A., & Alfano, K. (2016, June), Renewable Energy Technician Education: The Impact of International Faculty Collaboration Paper presented at 2016 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, New Orleans, Louisiana. 10.18260/p.26073
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