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Teamwork For A Quality Education: Low Cost, E Ective Educational Reform Through A Department Wide Competition Of Teams

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1998 Annual Conference


Seattle, Washington

Publication Date

June 28, 1998

Start Date

June 28, 1998

End Date

July 1, 1998



Page Count


Page Numbers

3.541.1 - 3.541.13

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Paper Authors

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David E. Goldberg

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W. Brenton Hall

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Lindsay Krussow

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Eunice Lee

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Aaron Walker

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

Session 2525

Teamwork for a Quality Education:1 Low-Cost, E ective Educational Reform through a Department-Wide Competition of Teams David E. Goldberg, W. Brenton Hall, Lindsay Krussow, Eunice Lee, & Aaron Walker University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

1 Introduction Curriculum reform is all around us. The NSF Coalitions Coleman, 1996 are the most visible of the e orts, but reform is occurring both nationally and internationally, the direct result of a combination of higher demand for fully assembled" engineers, the increasing availability of new information technologies, and increasingly di cult budgetary constraints. Many of the reform e orts are starting to pay o in prototype form with both anecdotal and statistical evidence of programmatic success, but increasingly a number of engineering educators| including those involved in the design and implementation of reform|are wondering if these e orts will ever|can ever|scale up to the real world of engineering education with its relentless time, curriculum credit, and budget pressures. Time will tell which of the reform e orts make it to the everyday classroom, but this paper o ers an incremental, low-cost, e ective alternative to the wholesale rearrangements of curriculum topics, ow, and chunk size that seem to dominate the curriculum reform debate at the present time. A new program designed and piloted in the Department of General Engineering GE at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign called Teamwork for a Quality Education TQE combines core ideas of time-tested industrially sponsored capstone design courses and total quality management methods into a cross-departmental program emphasizing individual, team, and departmental improvement. Speci cally, TQE creates a departmentwide competition of student-led teams, each team consisting of freshmen, sophomores, juniors, and seniors together with faculty and sta advisors. Each team is charged with obtaining the highest quality education possible for its members, and this goal is actuated through a series of competitions in three broad categories: 1 academics, 2 service and design, and 3 summer-job placement. Like little-league sports, TQE teams have corporate sponsors, usually employers of engineering graduates, with each corporate sponsor giving both in-kind and nancial support toward the success of its team and the program. The paper starts by exploring the motivation and environment of reform in the 1990s. It continues by listing a number of design principles for reform e orts, the larger vision of such a program, and the compromises required to pilot TQE in Spring and Fall 1997. The 1 A version of this paper was presented at the 1997 ASEE Illinois Indiana Sectional Conference.


Goldberg, D. E., & Hall, W. B., & Krussow, L., & Lee, E., & Walker, A. (1998, June), Teamwork For A Quality Education: Low Cost, E Ective Educational Reform Through A Department Wide Competition Of Teams Paper presented at 1998 Annual Conference, Seattle, Washington.

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