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Revolutionizing Roles to Reimagine Integrated Systems of Engineering Formation

The current engineering educational system fails in two fundamentally critical ways. First, students who have the desire and aptitude to become accomplished and productive engineers are abandoning the discipline in startling numbers. Second, students who graduate are frequently not prepared for the realities of their chosen profession and are switching careers at alarming rates. A team of educators at Colorado State University propose a new organizational model that looks at the undergraduate electrical and computer engineering (ECE) degree as an integrated system, breaking down the barriers inherent in higher education structures and implementing novel pedagogical approaches that allow students of all backgrounds to see the utility of their knowledge and connections to professional practice. At the pedagogical level, the new approach combines rigor and flexibility in engineering education to improve student efficacy and content knowledge integration through building communities of learning and practice. At the organizational level, the transformational approach aims to energize faculty to collaboratively weave important knowledge and application threads throughout the curriculum, while utilizing a new learning model that connects disparate anchoring concepts. Whether demonstrating the relevance of content through research, labs, or hands-on projects, the ECE faculty will work as a multifaceted team, ensuring that every educational component gives consideration to the big picture, while simultaneously instilling a deep knowledge of the discipline. Colorado State’s approach is expected to reverse the attrition trend in engineering education and fill the engineering pathway with motivated students of diverse backgrounds. These students will have the mastery of fundamental engineering knowledge, while being ready and excited to apply their knowledge to real-world applications. The pedagogical and organizational innovations provide a broad framework for transformative and sustainable changes in engineering departments, which are necessary to produce professional engineers of the future. Moreover, the approach builds a community of universities, community colleges, and industry partners for wide participation of effective teaching and learning. CSU’s approach will propel a new engineering workforce that generates superior ideas, products, and services, ultimately contributing to the nation’s economic vitality and global competitiveness. Dr. Sample McMeeking is a Co-PI on this project.

Status: Current

PI: Anthony Maciejewsky

PI Institution: Colorado State University

Source of Funding: NSF

Funding Program: IUSE PFE/RED

Award Amount: $1,988,663

Start Date: 01/01/2015

End Date: 06/30/2020

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