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Team Teaching An Interdisciplinary Course: Lessons Learned

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1996 Annual Conference


Washington, District of Columbia

Publication Date

June 23, 1996

Start Date

June 23, 1996

End Date

June 26, 1996



Page Count


Page Numbers

1.433.1 - 1.433.7

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Paper Authors

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George A. Bohlen

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Donna C.S. Summers

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



Donna C.S. Summers, George A. Bohlen The University of Dayton

Abstract The diverse technical and management issues in today’s business environment demand interdisciplinary, system-oriented approaches. To cope with the increasing complexity of these situations, companies are turning to cross-functional teams. Participants of interdisciplinary teams who readily understand the backgrounds and viewpoints of the other members enhance the effectiveness of these teams.

Educational institutions, unlike business, continues to educate students within particular functional areas. While education serves many purposes, including stimulating students to acquire and utilize knowledge to think critically, from a more practical viewpoint, education should assist students in developing skills applicable to their future careers. To prepare graduates for work in an interdisciplinary environment, cross- functional courses should be developed at the undergraduate level to expose students to the types of interdisciplinary problem-solving and team activities they will encounter in industry.

At the University of Dayton, the Department of Industrial Engineering Technology in the School of Engineering and the Department of Management Information Systems and Decision Sciences in the School of Business Administration worked together to structure a course combining business and engineering technology viewpoints, concepts and students. Careful consideration was given to select a course which, when taught cross-disciplinary, would enhance students’ ability to apply course information effectively in a business environment. The interdisciplinary course combined courses titled, Quality Management, from the Industrial Engineering Technology program and Total Quality Management from the School of Business Administration. This particular interdisciplinary course was developed because managing people, processes, and information from a quality view point requires an understanding of all facets of the organization. Having decided upon the course, the decision was made to team teach the course to ensure that the students were exposed to quality management concepts from both a business and an engineering perspective. This paper provides insights into the creation of such a course and the lessons learned from team teaching an interdisciplinary course. The lessons learned concerned logistics and administrative issues, course preparation and course conduct.

Introduction The development of this interdisciplinary team taught course had its roots in a discussion held by several faculty members during graduation exercises. The discussion centered on the problems associated with exposing students to all of the different viewpoints that come into play while making business decisions. Courses in Engineering and in Business, with their current structure, were essentially isolated silos of information. If this is the case, then how do students become prepared for working in today’s business

1996 ASEE Annual Conference Proceedings

Bohlen, G. A., & Summers, D. C. (1996, June), Team Teaching An Interdisciplinary Course: Lessons Learned Paper presented at 1996 Annual Conference, Washington, District of Columbia.

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