Capturing the Imagination: High-Priority Reforms for Engineering Educators

Gretchen Kalonji

University of Washington


My remarks are based on lessons learned in recent years, particularly through the National Science Foundation (NSF) Engineering Education Coalitions, but also through other notable efforts to reform science education at both the university and K-12 levels. A great many projects have been undertaken, and we have accumulated quite a bit of data about what works well and what doesn’t. There have been many successful innovations that can help us in planning for the future: the benefits of interdisciplinary, team-based design activities early in the curriculum; the power of novel linkages with K-12 programs and student leadership activities; the importance of the innovative integration of technology (particularly when students are involved in its design and implementation); the importance of alternative approaches to assessing student learning; the need for programs for graduate student and faculty development; and the implications of all of these for diversity in our communities.

Even if we could scale up what works in the intellectual and professional development of students and in increasing diversity in the engineering workforce, we would still not be able to address the problems we face nationally in engineering education. That is because most of the work up to now has been performed in the framework of perceived and/or real constraints, focused mostly on the curriculum, particularly the transformation of courses creatively about the kind of activities that promote the intellectual and professional development of students, we



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