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The Virtues of Teamwork: A Course Module to Cultivate the Virtuous Team Worker

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Conference

2021 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access

Location

Virtual Conference

Publication Date

July 26, 2021

Start Date

July 26, 2021

End Date

July 19, 2022

Conference Session

Socially Responsible Engineering II: Pedagogy, Teamwork, and Student Experiences

Tagged Division

Liberal Education/Engineering & Society

Page Count

26

Permanent URL

https://peer.asee.org/37905

Download Count

34

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Paper Authors

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Michael D. Gross Wake Forest University

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Dr. Michael Gross is a Founding Faculty and Associate Professor of Engineering and the David and Leila Farr Faculty Director of the Center for Entrepreneurship at Wake Forest University. He is part of the team that is planning, developing, and delivering the brand new Engineering program, a program viewed as an opportunity to break down silos across campus and creatively think about reimagining the undergraduate engineering educational experience, integration and collaboration across departments and programs, and how to achieve the motto of Wake Forest University: Pro Humanitate (“For Humanity”). Michael received his B.S. in Chemical Engineering at Bucknell University, and his Masters and PhD in Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering at the University of Pennsylvania. He has broad research interests in materials and composite processing and design, primarily for solid oxide cells, but also for batteries, solar absorbers, and gas adsorption. He also has a passion for designing educational experiences that support student intrinsic motivation and character.

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Joseph Wiinikka-Lydon Wake Forest University

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Dr. Joseph Wiinikka-Lydon is a Post-Doctoral Fellow at Wake Forest University, working with the Department of Engineering and the Program on Leadership and Character to integrate character education into the Engineering Department's core curriculum. He has lectured widely in North America and Europe, including giving the Goodspeed Lecture last spring at Denison University. Prior to Wake Forest, he was a founding Fellow and Lecturer at the E.U.-funded Center for Ethics outside of Prague, formed to expand ethics research and education in Central Europe, and has held teaching positions at Sewanee: The University of the South, Denison University, and Birmingham-Southern College. Trained in religious studies and moral philosophy, his research has focused on moral injury and trauma. He is author of Moral Injury and the Promise of Virtue, the subject of an upcoming symposium on Syndicate. Committed to interdisciplinary collaborations that translate academic research for larger, professional audiences, he has contributed to Uppsala University’s Engaging Vulnerability Project and, most recently, collaborated with Dr. Shelly Rambo at Boston University developing an ebook, Trauma and Moral Injury: A Guiding Framework for Chaplains. He holds a BA from Georgetown University, an MDiv from Harvard University, and PhD in religion, ethics, and society from Emory University.

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Michael Lamb Wake Forest University Orcid 16x16 orcid.org/0000-0001-9165-5229

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Michael Lamb is Executive Director of the Program for Leadership and Character and Assistant Professor of Politics, Ethics, and Interdisciplinary Humanities at Wake Forest University. He is also a Research Fellow with the Oxford Character Project. He holds a Ph.D. from Princeton University, a B.A. from Rhodes College, and a second B.A. from the University of Oxford, where he studied as a Rhodes Scholar. His research focuses on the role of virtues in public life and the education of character in the university. He is a co-principal investigator on character-related grants funded by the John Templeton Foundation, Kern Family Foundation, and Lilly Endowment. Prior to joining Wake Forest, he helped to launch the Oxford Character Project to help graduate students in business, engineering, government, law, medicine, and other fields think about the role of ethics in their professions. He also served as Dean of Leadership, Service, and Character Development for Rhodes Scholars. He is currently working with the Wake Forest Department of Engineering to integrate character into the undergraduate curriculum and leading a university-wide program to educate ethical leaders.

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Olga Pierrakos Wake Forest University

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Dr. Olga Pierrakos is Founding Chair and Professor of the new Department of Engineering at Wake Forest University - a private, liberal arts, research institution. As one of the newest engineering programs in the nation, she is facilitating the realization of building an innovative program aligned with the university mission of Pro Humanitate (For Humanity) and well-integrated within the liberal arts tradition. Her vision is to educate the whole person and the whole engineer with fearlessness and virtuous character. She is the PI on the Kern Family Foundation award to infuse character education across the WFU Engineering curriculum in partnership with the WFU Program for Leadership and Character and many colleagues across the university. With inclusion being a core value, she is proud that the WFU Engineering team represents 60% female engineering faculty and 40% female students, plus 20% of students from ethnic minority groups. Her areas of expertise include engineering identity, complex problem solving across cognitive and non-cognitive domains, recruitment and retention, PBL, engineering design, learning through service, character education in engineering contexts, etc. She also conducts research in cardiovascular fluid mechanics and sustainable energy technologies. Prior to joining Wake Forest University, Olga served as a Program Director at the National Science Foundation in the Division of Undergraduate Education and founding faculty of the Department of Engineering at James Madison University. She holds a BS and MS in Engineering Mechanics from Virginia Tech, and a PhD in Biomedical Engineering from the joint program between Virginia Tech and Wake Forest University.

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Adetoun Yeaman Wake Forest University

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Adetoun Yeaman is an engineering education postdoctoral fellow at Wake Forest University. She holds a PhD in Engineering Education from Virginia Tech where the studied the role of empathy in the experiences of undergraduate engineering students in service learning programs. She is passionate about exploring the ways that engineering work intersect with the social and ethical dimensions of human life. She also loves to empower youth to see their role as problem solvers and change makers in society. She received her MS degree in 2013 in Mechanical and Nuclear Engineering and her BS degree in Biomedical Engineering in 2011, both from Virginia Commonwealth University. Her research interests include empathy in engineering, character education, design education and multimedia learning.

Address: 455 Vine Street
Wake Downtown, Suite 1601
Winston Salem, North Carolina 27101.

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Abstract

In this paper, we describe a module deployed in a project-based, first-year engineering course to cultivate virtuous student teamwork. The course comprised two six-week projects, and the module intervention began between the end of the first project and the beginning of the second project. The module design was based on defining virtue, defining teamwork as a virtue with three elements, and implementing strategies from an empirically-grounded framework to develop students as virtuous team workers. Strategies included (1) dialogue to increase virtue literacy, (2) reflection on personal experience, (3) awareness of situational variables and bias, (4) moral reminders to make norms salient, and (5) habituation through practice. As part of the intervention, students identified attributes of an ideal team member, mapped them to the three elements of virtuous teamwork, and, as a group, identified the 15 most important attributes from the list. Of those 15 attributes, students identified which attributes they perceived that they and their teammates embodied during Project 1 and provided tangible examples. Students then chose an attribute they would commit to developing during Project 2 and tangible actions they would practice during Project 2; the attribute had to be one that their teammates did not perceive them as embodying during Project 1. At the end of Project 2, students completed a similar exercise in self- and peer-perceived attribute embodiment. The perceived attribute list was compared to the list generated before Project 2 and discussed in class. Finally, students wrote personal reflections about their experiences and growth throughout the module.

Teamwork-relevant outcomes were assessed using three psychometric approaches: self-report, other- (informant-) report, and demonstrated behavior. Students reported perceived team effectiveness for themselves and for each of their teammates at multiple time points. Teamwork relevant behavior was also assessed via text analysis by employing The Linguistic Inquiry and Word Count (LIWC) software program to identify teamwork-relevant language in targeted assignments. The most commonly perceived attributes at the beginning of the intervention included responsible, collaborative, kind, and good listener. During Project 2, most students chose to develop creativity, understanding of teammates different skills, being a good facilitator, and having patience. Most students were perceived to embody the attribute they chose to develop during Project 2 and those who were not rationalized this result through discussion and reflection. Through observing students engaging in the module, we realized that other character virtues support completing the activities and enacting virtuous teamwork, demonstrating the interconnectedness of virtues. For example, students needed courage to provide and receive feedback from their peers; honesty to supply feedback and engage in dialogue, particularly in discussions of situational variables and biases in self- and peer-perceptions; compassion to offer feedback in a way that benefits others; and humility to grow and learn from the activity. Finally, most students chose to develop a virtue—creativity—during Project 2. This paper shows that teamwork—a common concept in engineering education—is better taught through a virtue framework that recognizes the way virtuous teamwork depends on other virtues.

Gross, M. D., & Wiinikka-Lydon, J., & Lamb, M., & Pierrakos, O., & Yeaman, A. (2021, July), The Virtues of Teamwork: A Course Module to Cultivate the Virtuous Team Worker Paper presented at 2021 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access, Virtual Conference. https://peer.asee.org/37905

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