Seven teams of faculty from the School of Chemical, Biological, and Environmental Engineering have been selected to spearhead innovative teaching fellowship projects this academic year. These projects, part of the school’s “Revolution in CBEE” initiative, aim to support and advance the initiative’s two main goals: inclusivity and meaningful professional learning.
The Revolution in CBEE is supported by a five-year, $2 million grant, awarded by the National Science Foundation’s “Revolutionizing Engineering Departments” (RED) program in 2015, “to enact groundbreaking, scalable and sustainable changes in undergraduate education.” CBEE’s RED grant proposal pledged to “make bold and deliberate changes to the educational environment and practices.” These projects are an instrumental part of that effort. Each project was awarded a modest stipend internally to help defray incidental costs associated with its implementation.
Below are brief descriptions of the seven projects (team lead identified in parentheses):
Writing in the CBEE Curriculum (Elain Fu, Christine Kelly)
This project aims to develop a resource specific to CBEE disciplinary knowledge, for both students and instructors, that will help to create consistent expectations across courses regarding the format and quality of student writing. Currently, students move through classes with inconsistency in writing instruction, scoring, and feedback. The team envisions the creation of a CBEE writing handbook that both instructors and students will use. This resource will allow instructors to emphasize their focus, while communicating to students the breadth of material that constitutes good writing.
Vertical Integration of Cross-Disciplinary Coursework and Advanced Computation (Kate Schilke)
This project aims to integrate advanced computational methods into coursework by developing MATLAB problems and projects for CBEE sophomore and junior core courses. These problems and projects will incorporate meaningful context and broad disciplinary representation. Some of the material will include statistics content as well. The goal is to enable faculty to adopt the problems in their course with minimal effort, regardless of their familiarity with MATLAB.
Balancing Student Assessment and Inclusivity in a Critical Introductory Course (Phil Harding)
This project aims to help transition what in the past might have been considered a “weeder” course into a precise and efficient tool for helping to determine whether individual students’ needs are best served by advancing within their engineering program. Toward that end, more information and better tools are required, to balance the need for accurate student assessment with the need for inclusivity in engineering programs. The project will collect, analyze, and share data from a critical introductory course over two consecutive fall terms. It is predicted that collecting, sharing, and discussing this data with students will increase participation, awareness, and student performance.
Professional Competency Development in Bioengineering Graduate Students through Embedded Co-Curricular Activities across Core Curriculum (Morgan Giers)
This project aims to define specific professional competencies desired by bioengineering graduate students and future employers, such as grant writing, knowledge of intellectual property, or budget calculation. This is to be accomplished through surveying students, alumni, and employers in the bioengineering industrial advisory board. The project also aims to embed co-curricular activities that advance professional competencies in the bioengineering core curriculum courses.
Improving the Instructional Practices of Senior-Level ENVE Courses: ENVE 456 (Stacey Harper)
This project aims to revamp the Sustainable Water Resources Development course taught each spring by Stacy Harper. The goal is to make the class more interactive using a problem-solution, team-based approach. Partnering with Devlin Montfort (and others), she intends to evaluate the developed teaching materials, ensure inclusive teaming during course activities, and determine assessment criteria and a strategy for targeted improvement of the classroom experience.
Inclusive Teaming (Nick AuYeung)
This project aims to develop strategies for fostering inclusivity in teamwork and collaboration across a range of engineering courses. Last year, this project team explored literature on inclusive and effective teaming strategies, and several members who taught CBEE courses tried new team formation, support, and assessment practices in their classrooms and discussed those with the group. This year, they will continue to develop content and teaching tools that support four main areas: team formation; functional teaming curricula (e.g., conflict management and effective communication); modules to engage students in the examination of complex structures, systems, and ideologies that sustain discrimination and the unequal distribution of power and resources in the practice of engineering; and assessment instruments to measure student teaming competencies
Process Simulation Curriculum Integration (Nick AuYeung, Natasha Mallette)
This project aims to integrate process simulation into foundational classes, using the Aspen software suite. For this project, team leaders, along with two highly accomplished students with at least senior standing, will work to create meaningful Aspen modules that instructors can use in their classes (typically twice per term) to reinforce conceptual understanding introduced in class through a visual process simulation, and to give students familiarity with the software. Modules will consist of written instructions and short video supplements to show software tips.