Abstracts 2014

8:30-9:00

BREAKFAST (Wold Atrium)

9:00-10:20

Special Session I: The Role of Liberal Education in Increasing Participation of Women in STEM-C
(Lippman Hall 016)

Moderator: Valerie Barr, Ph.D.,Union College, Chair ACM-W (Assoc. for Computing Machinery Council on Women in Computing), barrv@union.edu

Despite many efforts over the last several decades, the percentage of women in some STEM-C (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics, including Computing) fields remains low. This session will explore how integrating liberal arts with computer science and engineering course work has succeeded (or can potentially succeed) in encouraging women to pursue work in STEM-C fields.

10:20-10:45

Break (Wold Atrium)

10:45-12:00

General Sessions (2 Parallel Sessions)
(Olin 106) & (Wold 128)

12:00-1:00

Lunch (Wold Atrium)

1:00-2:15

PLENARY TALKS: MODULES FOR LIBERAL STUDIES IN ENGINEERING
(LIPPMAN HALL 016)

Louis Bucciarelli, Ph.D., Emeritus Professor of Engineering and Technology Studies (STS), MIT, llbjr@mit.edu
Donna Riley, Ph.D., Associate Professor, Picker Engineering Program, Smith College, driley@smith.edu
Dean Nieusma, Ph.D., Associate Professor of Science and Technology Studies, RPI, nieusma@rpi.edu

This session will present and critique “modules” – proposed or already deployed in the classroom – for use in a “Liberal Studies in Engineering” program. The idea is to take exemplary, substantive content of the “traditional” undergraduate engineering program – the engineering sciences, the laboratory tests, the design projects – and subject this to study from the perspectives of the humanities, arts, and social sciences. The method is to build on the content and form of instruction in today’s engineering program but dramatically transform both content and form to achieve the goals of a liberal arts program – “critical thinking” is the key phrase in this regard – while preparing students inclined toward engineering with a solid basis in the fundamentals of the traditional engineering course of study. To do this, “fundamentals” must necessarily be redefined. An example of a module “Science and the Courts” gives an idea of how a laboratory experiment can be made the focus of liberal studies in a social science course.

2:15-2:30

Break (Wold Atrium)

2:30-3:45

SPECIAL SESSION II: MODULES FOR LIBERAL STUDIES IN ENGINEERING
(Wold 128) 

Workshop Part I - Goethals’ Infrastructure Challenge: From concept to functional prototype (Wold 010)

Speaker: Maj. Berndt Spittka
Coauthor: LTC Steve Hart & Dr. Chris Conley

Students will do just about anything that is asked of them, if their professors are willing to ask.  The Goethals’ Infrastructure Challenge (GIC) was designed to inspire students to envision a better future, unleash their creativity, and apply their social, technical, political, and economic skills to address a “wicked problem.”    The inspiration for developing this new competition was an identified gap in the currently offered Civil Engineering Student competitions and the need to foster interdisciplinary dialogue between engineering and the social sciences.  The developers formulated the competition based on proven motivational and education theory.  This academic year, West Point in conjunction with several other organizations completed the small and large scale pilot tests the GIC with stellar results.  The focus of these pilots was to prove the concept of an online based, open-ended question competition’s ability to inspire students to achieve unique and applicable solutions to some of our most complex infrastructure problems, while meeting some of the most challenging ABET student outcomes required of Civil Engineering programs.  Using proven metrics for evaluating student performance, the GIC pilots have shown that the nature of Civil Engineering student competitions is only limited by the creativity of those who are asking the students the questions.  During these pilots, the students were able, in a four day competition, to create a solution to a wicked problem that encompassed not only a technical solution, but also address the problem’ s , political, social and economic aspects.  The results show that once the students are asked the question they will try to (and do) rise to whatever challenge is presented to them.  With successful pilots completed, the GIC will be offered nationwide starting in the spring of 2015.

3:45-4:00

Break (Wold Atrium)

4:00-5:30

General Session
(Wold 128)

Workshop Part II - Goethals’ Infrastructure Challenge: From concept to functional prototype (Wold 010)

Speaker: Maj. Berndt Spittka
Coauthor: LTC Steve Hart & Dr. Chris Conley

Students will do just about anything that is asked of them, if their professors are willing to ask.  The Goethals’ Infrastructure Challenge (GIC) was designed to inspire students to envision a better future, unleash their creativity, and apply their social, technical, political, and economic skills to address a “wicked problem.”    The inspiration for developing this new competition was an identified gap in the currently offered Civil Engineering Student competitions and the need to foster interdisciplinary dialogue between engineering and the social sciences.  The developers formulated the competition based on proven motivational and education theory.  This academic year, West Point in conjunction with several other organizations completed the small and large scale pilot tests the GIC with stellar results.  The focus of these pilots was to prove the concept of an online based, open-ended question competition’s ability to inspire students to achieve unique and applicable solutions to some of our most complex infrastructure problems, while meeting some of the most challenging ABET student outcomes required of Civil Engineering programs.  Using proven metrics for evaluating student performance, the GIC pilots have shown that the nature of Civil Engineering student competitions is only limited by the creativity of those who are asking the students the questions.  During these pilots, the students were able, in a four day competition, to create a solution to a wicked problem that encompassed not only a technical solution, but also address the problem’ s , political, social and economic aspects.  The results show that once the students are asked the question they will try to (and do) rise to whatever challenge is presented to them.  With successful pilots completed, the GIC will be offered nationwide starting in the spring of 2015.

5:30-5:45

5:45-6:30

6:30-8:30

Closing Remarks (Wold Atrium)

Break

Dinner

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