ELEVENTH ANNUAL SYMPOSIUM 

 

 ENGINEERING AND LIBERAL EDUCATION 

 

 Friday, June 1, 2018

 

From

To

Activity

11:00

12:00

Check in (Wold Atrium)

12:00

1:00

Lunch (Wold Atrium)

1:00

2:30

Workshop 1 (Wold 010)

David DiBiasio, Kris Boudreau, Leslie Dodson, Curtis Abel

From Damascus, AK to Pyongyang, NK: Nuclear Weapons Accidents, Chemical Process Safety, and Global Politics as a Catalyst for Integrative Learning

Workshop 2 (Olin 106)

Christy J Adame, Nikki T Donegan, Helen E Geller, Diane E Golding, Peter Golding, Celena Arreola, Crystal Fernandez,  Krishnan S Iyer, Kelsi M Oyler, Michael T Pitcher, Joan M S Golding, Paul E Hotchkin

Engineering and the Liberal Arts in a Time Fomenting Social Justice

2:30

3:00

Break (Wold Corridor)

3:00

4:30

Oral Presentations (Social Justice) [Olin 115]

Jessica Smith, Juan Lucena

Beyond Engineering Ethics: How to Integrate Social Justice and Social Responsibility in the Engineering Curriculum

Sara Atwood

A design-thinking model for developing socially responsible engineers

R. David Kent

Engineering Social Responsibility

Helen E Geller, Diane E Golding, Christy J Adame, Nikki T Donegan, Peter Golding, Randy H Anaya, Celena Arreola, Pedro A Espinoza, Crystal Fernandez, Hugo Gomez, Hecto E Lugo, Kelsi M Oyler, Michael T Pitcher, Joan M S Golding, Paul E Hotchkin

Social Responsibility in the K-12 Liberal Arts and Engineering Education

David Gillette, Michael Haungs, Thomas Fowler

Renewing Liminal Space: 2 Towns & the Troubling Tales of an Urban Tunnel

4:30

5:00

Break (Wold Corridor)

5:00

6:00

Reception (Nott Memorial)

6:00

7:15

Keynote Presentation (Nott Memorial)

Dr. Lynn Pasquerella, President of the Association of American Colleges and Universities                      

Title: Escaping Westworld

7:30

9:00

Dinner (Hale House)

 

Saturday, June 2, 2018  

 

From

To

Activity

8:00

9:00

Breakfast (Hale House)

9:00

10:30

Oral Presentations (Art & Technology) [Karp 105]

Nicole Theodosiou

The power of observation; integrating art + science in the classroom

Barbara Neumann

Leading High-Performance Teams in Technology: Using Design Thinking for Collaboration

Ari Epstein, Erin Kraal, Laura Guertin, George Sirrakos

Student-Produced Audio Narratives as a Pedagogical Tool

Eric Schatzberg

Art’s Lost Child: The Conceptual History of Technology and Art

Kevin Bruckner

Art with IBM Watson

10:30

11:00

Break (Karp first floor Social Lounge)

11:00

12:30

Oral Presentations (Ethics) [Karp 105]

Jonathan Dickstein

Narrative Theory and the Ethics of Recursive Forms

Joseph Lombardi

Triadic Control Theory for a Holistic Engineering Education

Wade Robison

Ethics and the Grand Challenges

Michael Lachney

Before Social Justice: What does Answerability Mean for Liberal Engineering Education?

Ashraf Ghaly

Unified International Code of Ethics? Good Luck!

12:30

1:30

Lunch (Hale House)

1:30

3:00

Oral Presentations (Engineering & Liberal Education) [Karp 105]

Alison Wood

Engineering Student Motivations to Engage with Liberal Arts

Theresa Hans

Importance of Community

Atsushi Akera, Jennifer Karlin, Alan Cheville, Donna Riley, Thomas De Pree

Who Controls Engineering Education?: Early Results from an NSF Sponsored Study on Engineering Education Reform

David Gillette, Michael Haungs

Contracting for Grades in an Agile system: Managing Cross-disciplinary Project-Based Learning for Better Group Cohesion and Effective Individual Assessment

Timothy Stoneman

The Blast Furnace in the Classroom: The Place of Site Learning in International Engineering Education

3:00

3:30

Break (Karp first floor Social Lounge)

3:30

4:30

Wrap-up and Discussion (Karp 105)

David Hans

Symposium Retrospective

4:30

5:30

Open Air Discussion, Mrs. Perkins’ Garden

6:30

8:30

Post Symposium Dinner

ABSTRACTS

Friday – June 1, 2018

 

Workshop 1 (Wold 010)

1:00-2:30 PM

From Damascus, AK to Pyongyang, NK: Nuclear Weapons Accidents, Chemical Process Safety, and Global Politics as a Catalyst for Integrative Learning

David DiBiasio (WPI), Kris Boudreau, Leslie Dodson, Curtis Abel

 

Both the NAE and ABET call for an engineering education that resembles liberal education. The NAE’s The Engineer of 2020: Visions of Engineering in the New Century report urges educators to produce engineers possessing strong analytical skills, practical ingenuity, creativity, communication skills, and professional/social skills. ABET requirements for student learning outcomes include “an ability to recognize ethical and professional responsibilities in engineering situations and make informed judgments, which must consider the impact of engineering solutions in global, economic, environmental, and societal contexts.” These mandates closely mirror the AAC&U description of liberal education as “an approach to learning that empowers individuals and prepares them to deal with complexity, diversity, and change.” Liberal education outfits students with “broad knowledge of the wider world” as well as deeper disciplinary study. This combination of disciplinary and integrative learning “helps students develop a sense of social responsibility . . . and a demonstrated ability to apply knowledge and skills in real-world settings” (AAC&U, “What is a Liberal Education?”). In many cases, engineering students are expected to learn these wide-ranging abilities through general educational requirements that separate humanistic or social science learning from STEM content. Thus, however lofty the goals of both the NAE and ABET, the burden of making connections between courses and disciplinary learning often falls on the students, with few opportunities for integration. This is the challenge that our transdisciplinary team of educators addressed. In our workshop, we’ll demonstrate how a post-cold war era nuclear weapons explosion, a current chemical process accident, and the combative dialog between the US and North Korea were used in a team-based project to introduce sophomore engineering students to the connections among social responsibility, human interactions, and engineering principles. This example of integrative teaching and learning will provide the catalyst for a participatory workshop.

 

 

Workshop 2 (Olin 106)

1:00-2:30 PM

Engineering and the Liberal Arts in a Time Fomenting Social Justice

Christy J Adame, Nikki T Donegan, Helen E Geller, Diane E Golding, Peter Golding, Celena Arreola, Crystal Fernandez, Krishnan S Iyer, Kelsi M Oyler, Michael T Pitcher (The University of Texas at El Paso), Joan M S Golding (Johns Hopkins University), Paul E Hotchkin (El Paso Community College)

 

The age-old intertwined push and pull at the technology and society interfaces is pronounced in new ways. The world of AI (artificial intelligence) and WE (we the “critically thinking” people) appears to collide. For example, philosophy, business, engineering and the liberal arts of our lives, are sliding toward being, respectively, controls, opportunities, societal re-design and architecture. How can we make endearing and engaging engineering and the liberal arts education accessible to all students? How do we do it functionally, retaining our system of education and our values, imbibed in age old university-centric higher education structures? How can we lead in synthesizing the education of the future that inspires, influences and innovates change as it proactively advances the good society, with social justice for all?

 

Presently, both locally and globally, we seem ever further from some balance point. How do we deal with the dichotomy between Brave New World and Orwellian technology and that good society? Is this a critical thinking question for those of us seeking the bridge Engineering and Liberal Arts in the 21st century? Moreover, in a society that becomes overwhelmed by the sheer volume of social media trivia pushing us away from critical issues, how do we advance confidence and spirits of engineers and liberal artisans?

 

How do we cross the chasm and teach technology (engineering) and values (liberal arts)? It is this forum that is a bright light in this pathway to the future. Union College has led informed and critical thinking across disciplines, and we join our colleagues at this workshop to have an informing and valuable conversation about what we are seeking to achieve through education and how we are going to approach getting there.

 

 

Session: Social Justice (Olin 115). Moderator: Shane Cotter.

3:00-3:15 PM

Beyond Engineering Ethics: How to Integrate Social Justice and Social Responsibility in the Engineering Curriculum

Jessica Smith (Colorado School of Mines)

 

In our HE program at Mines, we are attempting to establish socially responsible engineering as a field of practice and scholarship that encompasses both social justice and corporate social responsibility – concepts that are often viewed as being in tension if not antithetical to one another. In this talk, we will share both the opportunities and challenges that have arisen in this work, including in our teaching, program development, fundraising, and research. We will also share the criteria we have developed for engineering for social justice (E4SJ) and engineering for social responsibility (E4SR) to facilitate the integration of SJ and SR in engineering courses and student projects through faculty development workshops, in-class problem rewrite exercises, and capstone design projects.

 

 

Session: Social Justice (Olin 115)

3:15-3:30 PM

A Design-Thinking Model for Developing Socially Responsible Engineers

Sara Atwood (Elizabethtown College)

 

Studies have found that engineering majors are amongst the students least likely to vote or participate in social activism. This lack of civic and social justice engagement is anathema to the goal of a liberal education to nurture an informed and engaged citizenry with a contextual understanding of people and systems that play an interconnected part in shaping society. A stand-alone activity was created to use the language and skillset of the engineering design process to frame a discussion about gun violence. Engineering students had previously expressed discomfort and lack of confidence in their ability to have productive conversations about social issues. The activity was introduced as a way to use skills the engineering students already possessed through their project work – the design process, critical thinking, teamwork, and communication – but applied to a civic or social justice issue. On March 14, 2018, on the one-month anniversary of the Parkland school shooting, approximately 70 engineering students and 6 multidisciplinary faculty participated in a design thinking activity in place of a class session. In groups, students and faculty discussed empathy with the victims, defined a problem statement, ideated solutions, and used design matrices to evaluate tradeoffs for proposals such as raising the age limit, banning assault weapons, arming teachers, etc. Brief students reflections at the end of the activity indicated that students reacted positively and were willing to participate in more activities on various social topics. This stand-alone activity provides a model for connecting engineering education, civic engagement, and social justice in a meaningful way, without requiring substantial time or resources. It is also an opportunity to engage faculty across STEM, social science, and humanities disciplines. We hope to implement the activity approximately once per semester to address the most recent issues facing society.

 

 

Session: Social Justice (Olin 115)

3:30-3:45 PM

Engineering Social Responsibility

  1. David Kent (Milwaukee School of Engineering)

 

One of the ABET learning outcomes is an understanding of professional and ethical responsibility. Without question, engineering programs address this outcome in a variety of ways. Here at the Milwaukee School of Engineering, the most obvious way we attempt to meet this outcome is through requiring all our students to take a course called Ethics for Professional Managers and Engineers (or Bioethics, which our Nursing students take). But some of us who teach here believe that it is possible, and appropriate, to begin to address this outcome during the student’s first year here. In our interdisciplinary, first year Freshman Studies classes, I attempt to address this outcome in a variety of ways, including having students read and critique Engineering code of ethics and having them read about issues of social responsibility in the textbook we use for the fall class. In addition, the writing assignments that students complete in the fall and winter quarter classes ask students to grapple with issues of social responsibility. Finally, in the spring Freshman Studies III class, students give oral presentations on a variety of topics, including some that deal with social responsibility. Moreover, students in the Freshman Studies classes have an opportunity for experiential learning by partnering with a community organization–often a non-profit organization–for service learning, with a focus often on some aspect of social responsibility. In addition, MSOE has an office of Servant Leadership which helps all our students, including our freshmen, find community partners. I would like to share more details about how I incorporate social responsibility into our first year classes at MSOE.

 

 

Session: Social Justice (Olin 115)

3:45-4:00 PM

Social Responsibility in the K-12 Liberal Arts and Engineering Education

Helen E Geller, Diane E Golding, Christy J Adame, Nikki T Donegan, Peter Golding, Randy H Anaya, Celena Arreola, Pedro A Espinoza, Crystal Fernandez, Hugo Gomez, Hecto E Lugo, Kelsi M Oyler and Michael T Pitcher (The University of Texas at El Paso), Joan M S Golding (Johns Hopkins University), Paul E Hotchkin (El Paso Community College)

 

Social justice is the vehicle from which equity can be pillared. If our societal goal is for every student, no matter their race, socioeconomic status, or identity, to have access to educational excellence then we must find improved ways to advance this noble goal. The truth is that millions of children in the US go to bed hungry, while studies have found that about a third of the food we produce in the United States is ultimately thrown away. Also, nearly half of the nation’s children between the ages of 5 and 17 attend schools in communities where a large chunk of families struggling to get by. It would seem that if sustainability is something we seek – “sustainable cities” technological-fixes do not address this problem. Or do they?

 

We fill our schools with the latest technology, but we fail to feed the minds that matter with life-changing education. Our educational achievements and standards of attainment are on overall decline, while our expenditures on gadgets are astronomical. There is something wrong, is there not, about this picture? Similarly, we are missing the boat on engineering and the liberal arts in K-12. We are losing our way in pushing to advance educating our youth, our opportunity and responsibility to provide deeply inspiring and motivating, quality teaching and learning for all students. How do we then hope to beat the poverty cycle that forces them to drop out of school to work to feed their families? How can we resolve this social issue that students deal with all over our country? Forget technology, feed the lives of our children! We discuss one pathway to approaching this dichotomy, whereby we are advancing a Tech-E program at the University of Texas to provide inspiring liberal arts and engineering education to 40,000 students in 9 school districts in west Texas. The approach to and results of this effort and the impact is shared.

 

 

Session: Social Justice (Olin 115)

4:00-4:15 PM

Renewing Liminal Space: 2 Towns & the Troubling Tales of an Urban Tunnel

David Gillette (California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo), Michael Haungs, Thomas Fowler

 

The Cal Poly Liberal Arts and Engineering Studies (LAES), Architecture, and Computer Science programs are working with the Downtown Sacramento Partnership to redesign a pedestrian passageway connecting historical Sacramento California with modern Sacramento. The goal is to create an inviting space for visitors and locals that fills the passageway with interactive light displays celebrating the history and culture of Sacramento. This passageway will also provide a continually changing venue for engaging, family-friendly artworks connected to community festivals, fairs, and markets.

 

With the support of an education grant from the Hearst Foundation for 2017-2018, the Cal Poly team is researching the social and political history of the area, creating an augmented reality version of existing tunnel artwork that can be viewed through visitor’s phones, designing and testing lighting structures, and building a network of local providers who will eventually install all these systems in collaboration with the city of Sacramento.

 

This pedestrian passage has a long history of being associated with assault, robbery, homelessness and aggressive pan-handling. The city’s goal for many years has been to “clean up” this space, making it safe for tourists and locals. While there have indeed been a number of troubling incidents in the passageway in the past, the Cal Poly team discovered that this liminal space connecting two different downtown environments is defined by many urban myths that overshadow the reality of how the passageway is actually used. With this discovery, the Cal Poly team set an additional goal of helping the city see this transitionary space with a more welcoming light, changing its liminality from troubling to celebratory. Our presentation will discuss how a practical, project-based learning and development process in a complex urban environment can teach students the power that fact-based narrative and spatial re-invention can have on community planning and development.

 

 

Session: Social Justice (Olin 115)

4:15-4:30 PM

General Discussion

 

 

 

Saturday – June 2, 2018

 

Session: Art & Technology (Karp 105). Moderator: Doug Klein.

9:00-9:15 AM

The Power of Observation; Integrating Art + Science in the Classroom

Nicole Theodosiou (Union College)

 

Scientists, engineers and designers need strong observation skills to become experts. As educators in STEM, we presume the power of observation is an innate skill, but become frustrated when students look down a microscope and ask “What am I looking for?” Students’ ability to observe can be inadequate and must be taught like any other skill. In STEM fields, the skills of observation develop over an extended time and after the acquisition of highly technical laboratory skills. Lacking observational skills disadvantages the acquisition of technical skills. In contrast, the artist is trained to see and observe concurrently while acquiring the skills of their profession. A painter cannot render what she does not observe. A simple pencil drawing comes to life with details provided by mark making and shadowing. The technical skills of an artist require acute observation before being mastered. Students in the sciences should benefit from learning how to make observations early in their training. Last spring, I designed and co-taught an interdisciplinary course combining biology and the visual arts. Here I present how we approached designing the course, how class activities enhanced students’ ability to make observations, and how students used reflective writing to articulate and develop metacognition. Medical schools are moving to a more holistic approach to admissions that emphasizes self-awareness and empathy in candidates. Tech companies are recruiting students with skills that “reimagine and reshape a technological world, not just assemble it.”1 Designing art and science interdisciplinary courses is an effective and fun way to build the power of observation and cognitive skills for future leaders in science and technology fields. 1 Michael Litt, 2017. Why this tech company keeps hiring humanities majors. Fast Company.

 

 

Session: Art & Technology (Karp 105)

9:15-9:30 AM

Leading High-Performance Teams in Technology: Using Design Thinking for Collaboration

Barbara Neumann (IBM)

 

A recent study conducted at the Human Dynamics Laboratory at MIT and reported in the Harvard Business Review indicated that using analytics on team member interactions can accurately predict team success. In my talk, I plan to present research and provide examples from industry of how teams can be motivated to produce accomplishments, in the face of resource constraints and time pressures. I will also show how the current emphasis on blending art and technology with the Design Thinking process enhances team collaboration. Specifically, I will describe experiences at IBM as the product owner for a content design and development squad in a flexible Agile environment, using insights from Design Thinking sessions. I will include anecdotes about corporate teamwork and collaboration internationally and will share the results of scholarly studies of the new and evolving science of high-performing teams. Recent business books also discuss the impact of an iterative design process on individual and team performance. Having worked recently with local academic groups including the Women in STEM at Vassar College, building several Toastmasters public speaking clubs in the Dutchess County, NY area, and lecturing and mentoring graduate students in computer science at the University of Rochester, Marist College, and SUNY New Paltz, I will share my observations and tips on how to collaborate successfully to meet project goals. I will draw on my experiences in bringing out the best in team members and inspiring colleagues in different geographical areas to work together with enthusiasm.

 

 

Session: Art & Technology (Karp 105)

9:30-9:45 AM

Student-Produced Audio Narratives as a Pedagogical Tool

Ari Epstein (Massachusetts Institute of Technology), Erin Kraal (Kutztown University), Laura Guertin (Penn State Brandywine), George Sirrakos (Kutztown University)

 

In response to a severe lack of diversity in the geosciences, and a predicted undersupply of geoscience graduates, the authors have initiated a project in which geoscience faculty at two-year colleges and minority-serving institutions each replace one of their conventional assignments with one in which students create audio narratives. Based on our prior work, we believe that creating an audio narrative about a topic helps students to see that topic as being relevant to their own lives and interests. It is our hope that through this project students at these institutions will be induced to consider the possibility of continuing in the geosciences, an area many of them do not initially see as personally relevant or interesting. Changes in students’ attitudes during the project are being measured using a specially-developed instrument, as well as interviews and other methods. We present here a progress report after the project’s first year of existence. We are grateful to the National Science Foundation for supporting much of the work on which this talk is based, as part of the “Student Produced Audio Narratives (SPAN) Collaborative Research Grant,” awarded by the Division of Undergraduate Education under the “Improving Undergraduate STEM Education: Education and Human Resources (IUSE: EHR)” program, award number 1709359.

 

 

Session: Art & Technology (Karp 105)

9:45-10:00 AM

Art’s Lost Child: The Conceptual History of Technology and Art

Eric Schatzberg (Georgia Institute of Technology)

 

Art and technology are often viewed as antithetical concepts. Many engineers and historians of technology have opposed this antithesis, insisting that aesthetic values are inextricably linked to technology, especially in the design process. Yet the false antithesis persists. In this paper, I examine the historical origins of the opposition, and explain how the opposition is rooted in a particularly problematic definition of technology as instrument, mere means to an end. Until the late nineteenth century, the broad concept of art encompassed the liberal, mechanical, and fine arts. A continuous history of discourse connected this broad concept of ars with the Latin art and the Greek techne. Until the 18th century, all forms of art were seen to have both creative and instrumental aspects. But the rise of the concept of fine art (les beaux arts) in the mid-eighteenth century planted the seeds for a divorce between the aesthetic and mechanical sides of art. This divorce occurred gradually and in all major European languages. By the late-nineteenth century, the term art, when unmodified, almost always meant fine art. Art in effect became unavailable as a concept for understanding industrial modernity, despite the brief popularity of the phrase industrial arts. Technology only emerged as a replacement for the concept of mechanical or industrial arts in the early 20th century, when American social scientists grafted the meaning of the German term Technik onto the older but obscure English term technology. But the agents of this semantic shift remained almost completely unaware of the new meanings they had created for technology. This obliviousness in effect sundered the new concept of technology from a 2500-year history of discourse about art.

 

 

Session: Art & Technology (Karp 105)

10:00-10:15 AM

Art with IBM Watson

Kevin Bruckner (IBM)

 

The fusion of art and technology has been a driving force of innovation for decades. IBM is building on that innovation with its artificial intelligence (A.I.) platform, Watson. Named after IBM’s first CEO, Thomas J. Watson, the question-answering computer system has not only made strides in the healthcare, weather forecasting, teaching, and tax preparation fields, but also in art. Through the analysis of vast amounts of data, Watson has helped artists create portraits, music, stories, clothing, and even sculptures. It’s a testament to the idea that A.I. should not be viewed as man v.s. machine, but rather a dynamic and accelerating partnership between man and machine. Want to know how possible it is to preserve creative integrity while pushing the boundaries of art-making? In this presentation, I’ll show you how artists are turning data into art with IBM Watson.

 

 

Session: Art & Technology (Karp 105)

10:15-10:30 AM

General Discussion

 

 

 

Session: Ethics (Karp 105). Moderator: Atsushi Akera

11:00-11:15 AM

Narrative Theory and the Ethics of Recursive Forms

Jonathan Dickstein (Clark University)

 

Reflecting on what literary studies is capable of offering to students and also to scholars of engineering, my paper aims to think through how one of the most technically refined methods of literary studies (narrative theory) corresponds with what seems to be an essential component of modern engineering (recursion). To begin, I review what I deem to be the foundation of the American educational system today – – a not unproblematic though nonetheless instructive distinction between fields supportive of technical competencies and fields supportive of emotional intelligence. Channeling my own ostensibly humanistic orientation, I proceed to consider what narrative theory is and how it may prove to be part and parcel of the latter. Using certain visual supplements to explore an illustrative application of this theory to Geoffrey Chaucer’s “The Wife of Bath’s Tale” from his longer The Canterbury Tales, I determine the connection between this theory and the mathematical notion of recursion in terms of related technical topics (e.g., transfer functions). Finally, to inspire a collaborative discussion about this connection, I conclude with a series of observations and questions regarding what the value of knowing about narrative theory is for literary studies itself and also what it might be for literary studies in conjunction with engineering.

 

 

Session: Ethics (Karp 105)

11:15-11:30 AM

Triadic Control Theory for a Holistic Engineering Education

Joseph Lombardi (Independent Scholar)

 

My paper reflects on my robotics engineering undergraduate experience at Worcester Polytechnic Institute and poses the notion that triadic control theory should be applied to modern engineering education. I first discuss the cultural and philosophical grounding of triads from Plato and Descartes to Aldous Huxley, and then the application of PID (proportional, integral, derivative) cybernetic control in robotic systems. I synthesize the two systems and abstract out a common structure to be used as a guide for judging the education process. I reflect on project-based learning and the ‘WPI-plan’ in the context of engineering, use the triadic structure as a benchmark, and call for an increase in the amount of project-based instruction as well as a return to stated values. I investigate the relation of engineering to the liberal arts as the creative/innovative application of natural philosophy, and the tripartite system in the greater context of the education experience as distinct from singly engineering. I conclude with a development of diagrammatic tools to aid in the creation of holistic engineering instruction and discuss the expected results of varying different coefficients in the control function (both in mathematical and humanistic terms).

 

 

Session: Ethics (Karp 105)

11:30-11:45 AM

Ethics and the Grand Challenges

Wade Robison (RIT)

 

The “new engineering education paradigm” of the Grand Challenges emphasizes competencies engineers need if they are to address such societal problems as providing fresh water and inexpensive power for all. These goals are ethical, but the new paradigm fails to emphasize the skills required to achieve them and, in particular, achieve them ethically. An engineer and I have designed an introductory course on Fresh Water that emphasizes those skills, especially those involving ethical considerations. Central to the course are articles from various disciplines emphasizing the ethical aspects of engineering. Students write one-page essays on each, stating the thesis and arguments for it. We discuss these in class. The articles cover a variety of ethical issues engineers will encounter, including, but not limited to, the fair distribution of resources and the ways in which engineering problems are embedded in social and political settings and so require more than the skills engineers learn from STEM courses to solve. For example, the students read a number of articles on the problem of distributing water from the Colorado, including ones on the tragedy of the commons, on whether water ought to be a commodity, and on just distributions of resources. We also examine the decision to use Flint River water to emphasize the ethical obligations of engineers, as professionals, to uphold the standards of the profession and not give in to political and social pressures.

 

 

Session: Ethics (Karp 105)

11:45-12:00 PM

Before Social Justice: What does Answerability Mean for Liberal Engineering Education?

Michael Lachney (Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute)

 

In the field of engineering education there are departments, journals, and societies that seek to develop visions of social justice for engineering disciplines. Just as this growing acceptance for engineering educators to forefront issues of social justice has started to take root within the field, educational researchers have started to draw attention to the fact that the label of social justice has become so ubiquitous that it often reproduces the very colonial and racist logics that many social justice projects aim to overcome. This has led Patel (2016), among others, to call for those committed to projects of decolonization and abolition to pause, stop, and be still in an effort to be “answerable”–responsible and accountable to each other and the communities we aim to represent during knowledge exchange and production–not only in our current context but also those that have come before and the futures we may wish to propose. Given the uphill battles that many educators have taken and continue to forge in their goals to bring social justice into engineering curricula and practices, is pausing to be answerable even appropriate? If so, what might answerability look like in the engineering classroom? And, how might an ethics of answerability be integrated into engineering practice with general attention to the history of engineers in U.S. military expansion and specific case studies (e.g. the role of the Army Corps of Engineers in approving the Dakota Access Pipeline)? To begin answering these questions, this presentation will survey the various intersections of social justice and engineering in an effort to understand what calls for answerability may mean for engineering education research and practice. I argue for grounding answerability in engineering education classrooms through cases where students can understand and respect the “refusal” (Simpson 2014) of socio-technical projects by marginalized communities.

 

 

Session: Ethics (Karp 105)

12:00-12:15 PM

Unified International Code of Ethics? Good Luck!

Ashraf Ghaly (Union College)

 

With a world made of many countries, cultures, religions, races, and ethnicities, the challenge of developing a unified international code of ethics acceptable to all is monumental. With modern methods of communications and the advent of the internet, interaction between people anywhere in the world has increased significantly. This made it easier to do business and resulted in the increase of trade and transfer of knowledge between nations. Although the increased interaction between people introduced many to the variety of cultures and the different ways of thinking of other humans, it has also created sharp conflicts between those that look at the same issue from different angles. There are numerous examples of issues that stir sharp controversies when discussed by people from different cultures. For example, in the field of engineering, rebuilding after a natural disaster could become a hot subject of debate between those that want to rebuild fast to shelter the homeless and those that want to ensure that rebuilding is done to superior standards to avoid similar destruction in the future. Such an issue is ever present on the international scene because donor countries that help with the rebuilding effort in a developing country oftentimes adopt a view point different from that of the receiving country. It seems that each side on such an issue has a point but more important than making a good argument is trying to find a common ground to move forward. Humans are products of their cultures and traditions, and in absence of an ability to develop a sense of understanding as to why other people think differently, conflicts and disagreements will continue to exist.

 

 

Session: Ethics (Karp 105)

12:15-12:30 PM

General Discussion

 

 

 

Session: Engineering & Liberal Education (Karp 105). Moderator: Ashraf Ghaly.

1:30-1:45 PM

Engineering Student Motivations to Engage with Liberal Arts

Alison Wood (Olin College of Engineering)

 

The purpose of this research is to observe and understand students’ motivations behind engaging with the humanities, particularly by taking classes focused on the intersection between STEM and humanities. Despite only granting degrees in engineering, Olin emphasizes liberal arts education, requiring students to take a minimum of seven of arts, humanities, or social science (AHS) classes in order to graduate. Additionally, Olin develops students’ agency in determining their own education by requiring students to propose an AHS concentration: a self-designed grouping of three classes, one of which can be a capstone, around a single topic or discipline. This flexibility puts Olin students in a position to choose how to engage with the liberal arts and integrate them with their engineering education. In this context, understanding how Olin students view their liberal arts education will allow for design of experiences that encourage more students to reflect on their education and authentically engage with the liberal arts. Graduating seniors at Olin College of Engineering will be interviewed about their experiences and engagement with the liberal arts, including curricular and non-curricular experiences. Questions will gather information about students’ educational background and personal context as well as their time at Olin College. At the Symposium, we will present our initial analysis of data gathered in our study, including qualitative analysis of factors impacting students’ engagement with liberal arts. Themes and constructs identified in coding will help inform possibilities to explore in curricular design. Beyond Olin, this research will help build an understanding of how engineering students engage with the liberal arts, which factors contribute to different modes of engagement, and how this engagement impacts them during their education and beyond. Encouraging engineering students to reflect critically and consider the context of their engineering work helps to create ethical engineers who are more aware of the societal impact their actions have on the world. Insights from this study can help inform discussion about liberal arts education in engineering curricula and the role of the arts in creating well-informed, socially-aware engineers.

 

 

Session: Engineering & Liberal Education (Karp 105)

1:45-2:00 PM

Importance of Community

Theresa Hans (IBM)

 

A community can mean many things. Your professional community, your physical community, your social community, even the internet community you are probably a part of. I’ve always found that it’s important to not only lean on these communities in order to build yourself up, it’s important to let these communities lean on you in order to build them up. Community relationships are a give and take. You can’t have a community without the help, advice, and thoughts of many people. No community can grow without diversity of thought, hands that are happy to be helping, and a sense of enabling each other to grow. I’ve been lucky to be a part of many communities, including professional ones like, AIGA, student led programs, like P-Tech and many technical communities across IBM. This talk will highlight the importance of not only giving back and getting involved with your many communities, but the importance of doing it no matter what skill level or years of service you have in any one field. It will discuss the many relationships to be fostered through community service, and how those relationships can help anyone in their personal and professional lives.

 

 

Session: Engineering & Liberal Education (Karp 105)

2:00-2:15 PM

Who Controls Engineering Education?: Early Results from an NSF Sponsored Study on Engineering Education Reform

Atsushi Akera (Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute), Jennifer Karlin (Minnesota State, Mankato); Alan Cheville (Bucknell University); Donna Riley (Purdue University); Thomas De Pree (RPI)

 

Who controls the transformation of engineering education to meet our ever-changing economic environment? This paper reports on the earliest findings of an NSF sponsored research project designed to study the governance—the administrative control—of changes in engineering education. Recognizing that there is no single answer to this question, our broad gauge study is designed to utilize both historical and contemporary sources—especially semi-structured interviews at professional societies and over two-dozen universities of different type and rank—to document how the diverse institutions that make up our engineering education ecosystem cooperate, collaborate, and draw upon each other’s work to bring about both local and national transformations in engineering education. In this talk, we will be describing our study, our research questions, and some of our earliest findings. Given the early stage of our research, as well as our need to uphold the confidentiality of our subjects, all data reported during this talk will be general, with no individual identifiers. This said, we should be able to demonstrate how the loose pattern of coordination that occurs within engineering education maps onto the distributed structure of the engineering profession, and how this both enables and limits our capacity for carrying out engineering education reform.

 

 

Session: Engineering & Liberal Education (Karp 105)

2:15-2:30 PM

Contracting for Grades in an Agile System: Managing Cross-disciplinary Project-Based Learning for Better Group Cohesion and Effective Individual Assessment

David Gillette (California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo), Michael Haungs

 

The Liberal Arts and Engineering Studies (LAES) program at Cal Poly has been using a contract grading process for assessing the individual and team-based work in our project-based learning courses for the last four years. We find that this process helps to encourage collaboration and positive group cohesion. Each year we revise the process a bit, trying to improve upon how we capture and fairly assess the work produced by individual students as members of quarter-long development teams. In the last two years we have integrated this contract grading process with the extensive use of Agile project management systems that guide how our student teams create the end products for our courses, working in two-week-long sprint cycles inside a ten-week-long quarter. We believe that this mixture of contract grading with adaptive Agile system management creates a compelling method for assessment for a complex teaching and learning environment that is difficult to assess using standard models that are often designed for lecture and/or discussion-based courses. As our program is about to undergo a comprehensive program review, we are eager to discuss our course assessment process with other faculty who teach in similar cross-disciplinary programs and courses to learn how our methods could be improved. In return, we want to share some of what we have discovered from our assessment process that may be of use for other, newly-formed programs with curriculums similar to the design of LAES. We will present a quick, but detailed overview of how our contract grading and Agile management system works in our project-based learning courses, and then will open a discussion with the audience about how this system could be improved.

 

 

Session: Engineering & Liberal Education (Karp 105)

2:30-2:45 PM

The Blast Furnace in the Classroom: The Place of Site Learning in International Engineering Education

Timothy Stoneman (Georgia Tech Lorraine, Metz, France)

 

The current paper reviews a unique course opportunity in order to query the role of experience-based learning in international engineering education. The course Industrial Regions: Engines of Europe takes place at Georgia Tech Lorraine, the European campus of Georgia Institute of Technology. Offered by Georgia Tech’s history and sociology department, the course combines history of technology with economic geography and industrial heritage studies, fulfilling social science and ethics requirements for undergraduate engineers. The main iron mining and steel region of France, Lorraine experienced massive deindustrialization in the 1980s, similar to the American Rust Belt, and is currently undergoing transformation into a post-industrial service-based economy. The course features day-long visits to local industrial sites in the greater Lorraine area, linked with leading multinational firms – including blast furnaces, hot rolling mill, automotive factories, nuclear power plant, etc. Appreciating local industrial sites means understanding the historical development of Western industry. The challenge in an experience-based course is to encourage examination in order to facilitate education rather than mere pleasure (Kilgore, Sattler & Turns, 2013). The paper will review various approaches to critical thinking in engineering education, including Project-Based Learning (Itasca Community College, MN), Iron Range Engineering (Minnesota State University – Mankato), the Consortium to Promote Reflection in Engineering Education and the professional portfolio (CPREE and CELT, University of Washington), and a new course on artisanal skill (Steven Lubar, Brown University). Currently, the class encourages examination through assigned texts in various social science disciplines, coupled with personal written reflections on readings and site visits and presentation of key course concepts. Rather than providing an answer, the current paper hopes to conduct an open-ended dialogue with the audience: how can one best incorporate critical thinking, grounded in the liberal arts, into site-based learning on an international scale? An answer must include sensitivity to various dimensions: appropriate intellectual contexts, primacy of student discovery, and local realities on the ground.

 

 

Session: Engineering & Liberal Education (Karp 105)

2:45-3:00 PM

General Discussion

 

 

 

Session: Wrap-up and Discussion (Karp 105)

3:30-4:30

Symposium Retrospective

David Hans (IBM)

 

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