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Sticky Innovation: Exploring the Problem of the Bees through Engineering and Art

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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

DEED Postcard Session 1

Tagged Division

Design in Engineering Education

Tagged Topic


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Paper Authors


Whitney Gaskins University of Cincinnati

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Dr. Gaskins joined the Engineering Education Department in 2014. She earned her Bachelor’s Degree in Biomedical Engineering from the University of Cincinnati in 2008. Whitney earned her Masters of Business Administration in Quantitative Analysis from the University of Cincinnati, Lindner College of Business in 2010. She earned her Doctorate of Philosophy in Biomedical Engineering/Engineering Education also from the University of Cincinnati. Her dissertation “Changing the Learning Environment in the College of Engineering and Applied Science: The impact of Educational Training on Future Faculty and Student-Centered Pedagogy on Undergraduate Students” was the first of its kind at the university. Whitney has been recognized by the National Technical Association (NTA) for her novel approach to studying students, specifically underrepresented minorities and women.

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Nandita Baxi Sheth University of Cincinnati, College of Design, Architecture, Art, and Planning

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Nandita Baxi Sheth works at the intersections of Art, Education, and Community as Assistant Director Academic in the College of Design, Architecture, Art, and Planning at the University of Cincinnati. She works as DAAP’s Liaison to the UC/Hughes Initiative to design, coordinate, and implement college access and summer bridge programming with UC’s neighboring community high school. Additionally she serves as DAAP’s Liaison for Diversity and Inclusion and leads the college wide Diversity and Inclusion Team. In 2015 she obtained a Masters in Visual Arts Education and Ohio State Licensure in Visual Arts Education. She teaches High School students in After School Programming with Hughes STEM HS and instructs in the Art Education Licensure progam. She has a background in Architecture and Planning with an B.A. from Rice University, majoring in Architectural Studies, English, and Art and a Master’s of Community Planning from the School of Planning at DAAP. Her research interests include: the application of arts based research methodologies to consider “wicked problems”; the curricular impacts of art and technology on education; exploration and development of cross disciplinary STEAM initiatives, and using the lenses of affect theory and aesthetics to craft alternate forms of assessment.

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Kate Rice University of Cincinnati

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Today, STEAM is a new initiative that incorporates the arts and design with the sciences; STEM and Art = STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art & Mathematics) (Angier, 2010). In the twenty-first century the public debate about innovation has focused increasingly on the role of art and design disciplines as important sources of creativity and a new term has been forged to designate the broadened definition of the foundational fields (Cantrell, 2015).To transition from STEM education to STEAM education, interdisciplinary collaboration began between the College of Engineering and Applied Science and the college of Design, Architecture, Art, and Planning at a large urban institution. While creativity is most often associated with the arts, it is essential for innovative discoveries and applications in science and engineering (Costantinio, Kellam, Cramond and Crowder , 2010). In this article, a pilot study is presented about how art inquiry and engineering design can be used together to solve a wicked problem. Simply put, wicked problems are slippery to define, difficult to resolve, and involve complex webs of stakeholders and issues (Calmillus, 2008) . In this pilot undergraduate honors course, students representing multiple disciplines work together to explore bee colony collapse disorder. While humans are reliant on bees for pollinating essential food crops the worldwide emergence of colony collapse disorder threatens the vitality of the honeybee population. Students used multiple approaches to inquiry to research this particular “wicked problem” of our time. The course incorporates documentary film, fiction, arts based inquiry, scientific research, and multiple modes of reflection to design creative solutions to complex problems. Introducing students to hybrid works of art helps them to understand artistic/creative practices, utilize design thinking, and incorporate aesthetic inquiry. Examining how artists interweave art, science, technology, and math in imaginative artworks that blur boundaries between art, design, and STEM disciplines develops "thinking dispositions that are valued both within and beyond the arts" (Hetland, Winner, Veenema, & Sheridan, 2007). In this paper we discuss how an art educator and engineering professor worked together to design and teach an undergraduate Honors course to students studying multiple majors at the University of Cincinnati. We discuss our planning process, present our course syllabus, discuss challenges encountered and reflect upon outcomes for our students. We explain how the course enhances interdisciplinary collaboration, fosters deep discussion, and investigates the links that connect artistic and scientific disciplines. We believe that with the intentional integration of engineering and art, students will gain experience in a variety of modes of inquiry that will develop creative research approaches, problem solving skills, and innovative habits of the mind that will serve them in their respective disciplines well beyond the scope of the class.

Gaskins, W., & Sheth, N. B., & Rice, K. (2017, June), Sticky Innovation: Exploring the Problem of the Bees through Engineering and Art Paper presented at 2017 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Columbus, Ohio. 10.18260/1-2--28848

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