Collaborative effort designed to increase country’s engineering capacity
Sep 8, 2014 | Atlanta, GA
The Georgia Institute of Technology is among a dozen institutions invited to create a new consortium to promote teaching practices that help undergraduate engineering students reflect on their experiences.
The Consortium to Promote Reflection in Engineering Education (CPREE) is supported through a $4.4 million grant from The Leona M. and Harry B. Helmsley Charitable Trust. The group will focus on first- and second-year undergraduates who want to be engineers. The goal is to enhance students’ ability to learn, help a greater percentage complete their degrees, and ultimately foster a larger, more diverse and better-trained workforce.
“Given what we know about the important role that reflective practice plays in the development of effective engineers, there is great opportunity to expand the use of reflective practice in teaching and learning within the College of Engineering and beyond,” Dean Gary S. May said. “This works hand in hand with Georgia Tech’s commitment to developing effective practitioners who excel in complex problem solving and design.”
Reflection – giving meaning to prior experiences and determining how that meaning will guide future actions – has long been recognized as important in higher education.
“Reflection is important for achieving deep and enduring learning and remains crucial for problem solving and professional development,” said Esther Jordan, assistant director for programming for Georgia Tech’s Center for the Enhancement of Teaching and Learning (CETL) and Georgia Tech’s lead on this project. “We expect there is great need for teaching enrichment in this area, and CETL is uniquely positioned to lead this charge.”
Georgia Tech and others in the consortium will each receive $200,000 over two academic years to fund a principal investigator and other colleagues to carry out the work. Tools and practices developed throughout this initiative will be shared with engineering programs nationwide.
The 12-school consortium will involve nearly 250 educators who will collect data on 18,000 student experiences. The consortium’s member institutions each bring a distinct perspective on engineering instruction and great enthusiasm for expanding their focus on reflection, organizers said.
“The Trust is delighted to support such a diverse group of schools in this effort to increase our nation’s engineering capacity,” said Ryan Kelsey, program officer for higher education at the Helmsley Charitable Trust. “Helping first- and second-year students reflect on what it means to be an engineer as they learn foundational concepts is a very promising strategy for attracting and retaining a larger and more diverse future engineering workforce.”
The consortium is led by the University of Washington’s Center for Learning and Teaching.
Other involved schools are: Arizona State University, Polytechnic School, Mesa, Arizona; Bellevue College in Bellevue, Washington; California Polytechnic State University in San Luis Obispo, California; Clarkson University in Potsdam, New York; Green River Community College in Auburn, Washington; Highline College in Des Moines, Iowa; Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology in Terre Haute, Indiana; Seattle Central College in Seattle; Seattle University in Seattle; Stanford University in Palo Alto, California; and the University of Washington.