July 26, 2021
July 26, 2021
July 19, 2022
Work-in-Progress: Defining Criteria to Evaluate Achievement of the NAE Grand Challenges Scholars Program Competencies
In 2008, the National Academy of Engineering (NAE) identified fourteen Grand Challenges for Engineering, representing the goals necessary to realize the vision for Engineering in the 21st century: “Continuation of life on the planet, making our world more sustainable, secure, healthy, and joyful.”  To prepare engineering graduates who possess not only strong technical skills but also the global awareness and social skills necessary to tackle the challenges, the Grand Challenges Scholars Program (GCSP) was proposed and established by three founding Deans and endorsed by the NAE as an educational supplement to any engineering program both within the U.S. and internationally. To date, over 90 institutions have established their GCSP. These programs vary across the institutions, but they all aim to prepare graduates who have achieved the following five competencies identified by NAE GCSP : 1. Talent Competency: mentored research/creative project experience on a Grand Challenge-like topic 2. Multidisciplinary Competency: understanding multidisciplinarity of engineering systems solutions developed through personal engagement 3. Viable Business/Entrepreneurship: understanding, preferably developed through experience, of the necessity of a viable business model for solution implementation 4. Multicultural Competency: understanding different cultures, preferably through multicultural experiences, to ensure cultural acceptance of proposed engineering solutions 5. Social Consciousness Competency: understanding that engineering solutions should primarily serve people and society reflecting social consciousness
These competencies define the goals of GCSP, but the ways in which these competencies can be achieved and the level of engagement required is left for each institution to define on their own. Even within an institution, how the Grand Challenges scholars may achieve each competency often varies. For example, some scholars may complete course(s) while others may engage in experience(s) in order to achieve each competency. And the types of courses and experiences students are involved in also vary. Few attempts have been made to define criteria to evaluate whether a particular student experience or course meets the desired outcomes of each competency. Developing clear criteria for each competency could be used to help students better understand what type of course(s) and experience(s) could potentially count toward a competency. The criteria could also be used to help program administrators and/or committees to determine whether a scholar has demonstrated achievement of the competency through a course(s) or experience(s) they completed. The authors have made an attempt to define the criteria for each of the five competencies for [Institution] GCSP. These criteria were informed by the desired outcomes found in literature for each competency, and the experiences of NAE GCSP graduates who have successfully demonstrated their achievements of the competency. The criteria defined provide clear guidelines for Grand Challenges scholars but are also general enough to accommodate different types of courses and experiences that students may choose to complete as they define their own paths in GCSP based on their interests. These criteria fill a gap in the rapidly growing GCSP community and may benefit institutions with established GCSPs as well as institutions that are planning to establish their GCSP.
 C. D. Mote, “Realizing the Vision of the Grand Challenges for Engineering Depends on the Grand Challenges Scholars Program,” NAE Website, 08-Oct-2017. [Online]. Available: https://www.nae.edu/175289/Realizing-the-Vision-of-the-Grand-Challenges-for-Engineering-Depends-on-the-Grand-Challenges-Scholars-Program. [Accessed: 16-Oct-2020].
 NAE Grand Challenges Scholars Program, “NAE Grand Challenges Scholars Program,” Grand Challenges - NAE Grand Challenges Scholars Program. [Online]. Available: http://www.engineeringchallenges.org/GrandChallengeScholarsProgram.aspx. [Accessed: 16-Oct-2020].
Zhu, H., & Trowbridge, A. (2021, July), Work-in-Progress: Defining Criteria to Evaluate Achievement of the NAE Grand Challenges Scholars Program Competencies Paper presented at 2021 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access, Virtual Conference. https://peer.asee.org/38215
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