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Teaching and Assessment of Innovation and Creativity in Civil Engineering: Why? How? Now!

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2019 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Tampa, Florida

Publication Date

June 15, 2019

Start Date

June 15, 2019

End Date

October 19, 2019

Conference Session

Innovation and Fun in the Civil Engineering Classroom

Tagged Division

Civil Engineering

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Paper Authors


Angela R. Bielefeldt University of Colorado, Boulder

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Angela Bielefeldt is a professor at the University of Colorado Boulder in the Department of Civil, Environmental, and Architectural Engineering (CEAE). She has served as the Associate Chair for Undergraduate Education in the CEAE Department, as well as the ABET assessment coordinator. Professor Bielefeldt was also the faculty director of the Sustainable By Design Residential Academic Program, a living-learning community where interdisciplinary students learn about and practice sustainability. Bielefeldt is a licensed P.E. Professor Bielefeldt's research interests in engineering education include service-learning, sustainable engineering, social responsibility, ethics, leadership, and diversity.

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Audra N. Morse P.E. Michigan Technological University

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Dr. Audra Morse, P.E., is a Professor and Department Chair in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at Michigan Technological University. Her professional experience is focused on water and wastewater treatment, specifically water reclamation systems, membrane filtration and the fate of personal products in treatment systems. However, she has a passion to tackle diversity and inclusion issues for students and faculty in institutions of higher education.

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The goal of this paper is to inspire and equip civil engineering educators to integrate creativity and innovation in their teaching practices. Among the six strategic goal statements adopted by the ASCE Board of Direction is “Civil Engineers develop and apply innovative, state-of-the-art practices and technologies.” Engineering education should set the stage for these skills and mindsets. In the recent activity to update the Civil Engineering Body of Knowledge (CEBOK3), creativity and innovation was proposed as a new outcome. Ultimately, it was decided to integrate these concepts explicitly into two of the twenty-one outcomes in the CEBOK3: Professional Attitudes (creativity) and Professional Responsibilities (innovation). In addition, these ideas were integrated into the text to help individuals fully understand the outcomes associated with critical thinking and problem solving, breadth in civil engineering areas, design, technical depth, sustainability, communication, teamwork & leadership, and lifelong learning. Rubrics for creativity and innovation in the cognitive and affective domains are provided. Some individuals argue that creativity cannot be taught and/or assessed. However, there are numerous examples that contradict these concerns. Problem based learning, building physical models, the analytic hierarchy process, the KEEN Innovator program, a leaderless classroom approach, and field trips are examples of methods that have been used to teach creativity and innovation. Methods used to assess creativity and innovation in engineering education settings include the Torrance Test of Creative Thinking, Purdue Creativity Test, revised Creative Engineering Design Assessment, and the CREAX test. We recommend that educators incorporate innovation and creativity into their teaching, in order to retain the best and brightest students in civil engineering and better prepare future civil engineering professionals.

Bielefeldt, A. R., & Morse, A. N. (2019, June), Teaching and Assessment of Innovation and Creativity in Civil Engineering: Why? How? Now! Paper presented at 2019 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition , Tampa, Florida. 10.18260/1-2--33342

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