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Understanding the Values of, and Institutional Barriers Toward, Transforming Undergraduate Learning in the Pursuit of Innovation

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2022 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Minneapolis, MN

Publication Date

August 23, 2022

Start Date

June 26, 2022

End Date

June 29, 2022

Conference Session

NSF Grantees Poster Session

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Paper Authors


Greg Strimel Purdue University at West Lafayette (PPI)

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Assistant Professor, Technology Leadership & Innovation at Purdue University

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Sherylyn Briller

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Douglas Pruim

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Todd Kelley Purdue University at West Lafayette (COE)

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Jung Sohn Purdue University at West Lafayette (COE)

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Rebecca Martinez Purdue Polytechnic Graduate Programs

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Jackson Otto

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Innovation education experiences are now an expectation of post-secondary learning to help prepare students with creative ways of thinking to address the issues they will face in their lives and careers. Educational institutions seemingly recognize the need to do more to culturally transform teaching and learning to prepare and professionalize students for pushing boundaries in new and bigger ways. As more people question the value of higher education itself, thinking about how innovation education contributes to students’ personal and professional success is both vital and timely. Today, universities are now touting their national rankings related to innovation output and critical conversations are focused on how universities can transform to provide an accessible pathway for every student to be innovative in their own way. That being said, an exciting possibility exists to further the value of higher education while engaging more undergraduates in the innovation ecosystem. However, universities remain structurally challenged to implement transdisciplinary practices as undergraduate learning continues to be siloed within individual colleges/departments. This can leave many students without vital, formalized transdisciplinary educational environments that are authentic to real societal challenges requiring innovation. Universities, nevertheless, can be the hub to provide the resources necessary for students to truly practice innovation in ways that are connected to their own passions. And, this can happen at a time in a student’s life when they may have more freedom and flexibility to fail, iterate, learn, and potentially make an impact with their work that extends beyond the classroom. This type of approach to learning requires a more critical investigation into educational traditions and institutional structures to determine how teaching can span across disciplines and minimize the silo effect of academic departments/individual courses. To address these concerns, a National Science Foundation Improving Undergraduate STEM Education project team is working toward developing a transformed, authentically transdisciplinary, and scalable educational model for undergraduate learning focused on democratizing the practice of innovation. This paper highlights preliminary results of this research project in regard to the undergraduate innovation education model as well as the challenges and successes related to developing a cross-college program incorporating co-teaching and co-learning across engineering/technology, liberal arts, and business management.

Strimel, G., & Briller, S., & Pruim, D., & Kelley, T., & Sohn, J., & Martinez, R., & Otto, J. (2022, August), Understanding the Values of, and Institutional Barriers Toward, Transforming Undergraduate Learning in the Pursuit of Innovation Paper presented at 2022 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Minneapolis, MN.

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