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Systems Thinking And Integrative Learning Outcomes

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2007 Annual Conference & Exposition


Honolulu, Hawaii

Publication Date

June 24, 2007

Start Date

June 24, 2007

End Date

June 27, 2007



Conference Session

Cognitive and Motivational Issues in Student Performance II

Tagged Division

Educational Research and Methods

Page Count


Page Numbers

12.1340.1 - 12.1340.16



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Paper Authors


Jeffrey Froyd Texas A&M University Orcid 16x16

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Jeff Froyd is a Research Professor in the Center for Teaching Excellence and Director of Academic Development and the Director of Academic Development in the Texas Engineering Experiment Station. He served as Project Director for the Foundation Coalition, an NSF Engineering Education Coalition and helped create the Integrated, First-Year Curriculum in Science, Engineering and Mathematics at Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology. His current interests are learning and faculty development.

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Larissa Pchenitchnaia Texas A&M University

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Larissa Pchenitchnaia is a Curriculum Renewal Specialist in the Artie McFerrin Department of Chemical Engineering, Dwight Look College of Engineering at Texas A&M University, 3122 TAMU, College Station, TX, 77843-3122; Her research interests include faculty development, curriculum development, assessment of teaching practices and learning outcomes.

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Debra Fowler Texas A&M University

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Debra Fowler is the Associate Director of the Center for Teaching Excellence at Texas A&M University. Dr. Fowler's current interests include research-guided faculty development with an emphasis on the development and use of learning outcomes in both course and curriculum design. In addition, she is committed to helping faculty understand how their students learn and how to help their students develop critical thinking skills.

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Nancy Simpson Texas A&M University

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Dr. Nancy Simpson is Director of the Center for Teaching Excellence at Texas A&M University. She has over fifteen years of experience in teaching college mathematics and has worked in the field of faculty development since 1991. In addition to extensive experience in working with faculty at TAMU to improve teaching, Dr. Simpson has worked with national faculty development initiatives including the Wakonse Foundation's Conference on College Teaching and the Pew-Funded Peer Review of Teaching Project. Dr. Simpson is author of several journal articles, book chapters, and co-editor of a volume in a faculty develolpment series published by New Forums Press. She is currently the PI on an NSF-funded project, Writing for Assessment and Learning in the Natural and Mathematical Sciences.

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NOTE: The first page of text has been automatically extracted and included below in lieu of an abstract

Systems Thinking and Integrative Learning Outcomes


Although the eleven program educational outcomes in the ABET Engineering Criteria require considerable breadth and depth in the capabilities of engineering graduates, additional outcomes have been offered to encompass the modes of thinking required for engineering graduates. One of these additional outcomes is systems thinking. Many different subjects have at one time or another been included under the umbrella of systems thinking, but more specific statements of learning outcomes are required. The paper proposes a preliminary set of learning outcomes, based on framework which combines an established taxonomy of learning outcomes, the revised Bloom’s taxonomy, with a set of expectations for engineering graduates that has been supported by employers and at least twenty-two institutions.


Modern universities are facing numerous social and organizational challenges. Today, institutions have to deal with significant reductions in financial resources, increases in costs, demands for accountability for student learning outcomes, globalization, advancements in information technologies, and intense competition among numerous providers of education1–3. Universities are asked to produce graduates who are skilled in higher-order cognition, such as critical thinking and complex problem solving; behave in a principled ethical fashion; can accept and work harmoniously and productively with people unlike themselves; have the ability to adapt to diverse and changing situations; and take responsibility for their work4,5.

Modern educational organizations are no longer viewed as formal, rational and hierarchically closed systems with hierarchical control patterns. A way to address old organizational structures is to build learning organizations. For Senge a learning organization is “an organization that is continually expanding its capacity to create its future…it is not enough merely to survive (survival learning or adaptive learning)…adaptive learning must be joined by generative learning, learning that enhances our capacity to create”6, p.14. The primary purpose of higher education in this new paradigm will be producing learning, not providing instruction. The focus on campus is shifting from faculty teaching to student learning7,8, with emphasis on active learning and assessment of learning outcomes. The modern academic workplace is characterized by the increasing demands from stakeholders (e.g. accrediting bodies and employers) for documenting and improving student learning outcomes. Levine states that “with the individualization of education, growing diversity of students and the multiplication of providers, the emphasis will shift from standardizing process to measuring outcomes…the emphasis will change from how students are taught to determining how much students have learned”8, p. 265.

Froyd, J., & Pchenitchnaia, L., & Fowler, D., & Simpson, N. (2007, June), Systems Thinking And Integrative Learning Outcomes Paper presented at 2007 Annual Conference & Exposition, Honolulu, Hawaii. 10.18260/1-2--1614

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