Industry is calling for more than technical skills from those graduating from engineering programs. At the same time, looming grand challenges such as climate change and sustainability require multidisciplinary research and development approaches by teams that include more than the so-called hard sciences. Systems Thinking for Sustainability (SFTS) is an innovative team taught cross-disciplinary course for undergraduates from four colleges-Engineering, Design & Architecture, Education and Business/Economics-developed to address the current disciplinary isolation of students and educators in STEM fields in order to improve undergraduate STEM education. The initial hypothesis was that the challenges of communicating about the difficult- Todefine collection of problems called sustainability across different disciplinary boundaries during project-based work would provide the student teams and the faculty team with valuable experience and increased skill in working in such cross-disciplinary teams, which have been common in the workplace and are growing more common in the university and in government1. It was also hoped that this STFS project might be pioneering at University of Kentucky and elsewhere, encouraging those students and faculty in the "hard" fields such as engineering to venture out across boundaries into further collaboration with those in the so-called "soft" fields. Here, addressing sustainability issues was chosen because they involve complex connected systems which demand cross-disciplinary approaches. This paper elaborates, primarily from the point of view of the engineering faculty participating, the significant challenges faced and lessons learned in designing and delivering STFS during the first two years. It summarizes the results of extensive discussions that were required to identify and agree upon course content, the different pedagogical methods used, team teaching efforts, and faculty roles and responsibilities. Methods of evaluating student learning as well as identifying and managing the course team projects are also discussed. The paper concludes with some brief lessons learned to help others who might be interested in pursuing a similar project.
|State||Published - 2014|
|Event||121st ASEE Annual Conference and Exposition: 360 Degrees of Engineering Education - Indianapolis, IN, United States|
Duration: Jun 15 2014 → Jun 18 2014
|Conference||121st ASEE Annual Conference and Exposition: 360 Degrees of Engineering Education|
|Period||6/15/14 → 6/18/14|
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Engineering (all)