Salt Lake City, Utah
June 23, 2018
June 23, 2018
July 27, 2018
Liberal Education/Engineering & Society
Unlike medicine, the engineering profession establishes new standards for engineering education through a distributed system of governance that mirrors the distributed structure of the profession. In this paper, we present our initial findings and data resulting from an NSF-sponsored study of this phenomenon. This qualitative study is multi-site and multi-scale in its design, and draws on interviews with faculty and administrators, of different rank, from at least two-dozen different colleges and universities as well as engineering professional organizations. We also complement our interview data with content analysis of archival documents and published studies, reports, and statements.
The research questions that define our study consist of understanding and documenting the a) the basic structure of the engineering profession and U.S. higher education as it impacts engineering education reform initiatives; b) the historically evolving body of practice that has governed these reforms; c) the ways in which the epistemic habits of engineers, such as an emphasis on quantification and measurement, contributes to reform agendas and outcomes; d) the extent to which engineering educators are cognizant of the social and historical contexts within which they operate, and how their articulations of this context come to define dominant directions in reform; e) the processes through which destabilization and closure occurs with regards to shared standards in engineering education; f) more specifically, the mechanisms through with engineering education reform agendas are coordinated across different institutions; f) and likewise, common mechanisms through which such coordination is frustrated, undermined, and sometimes reversed, especially as a consequence of competing agendas that arise out of institutional diversity and other identifiable causes.
By the time of our annual meeting, we expect to be able to offer initial insights into each of our research questions. This paper will offer a preliminary presentation of our findings, including the presentation of illustrative evidence from our data set. The study is designed to provide all engineering educators with a deeper understanding of the context in which they operate, with the aim of producing more effective, inclusive, accommodating, and enduring solutions to the challenges of engineering education. (Note: A more speculative paper, exploring the theoretical and philosophical dimensions of governance in engineering education without a specific emphasis on our research questions and data set, has also been submitted separately to the TELPhE Division. The two papers will be different, presented by different lead authors, and complement one another.)
Akera, A., & Riley, D. M., & Cheville, A., & Karlin, J., & De Pree, T. A. (2018, June), The Distributed System of Governance in Engineering Education: A Report on Initial Findings Paper presented at 2018 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition , Salt Lake City, Utah. https://peer.asee.org/31086
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