Student and Faculty Perspectives on Effectiveness of an Interdisciplinary Graduate Engineering Program
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© 2018 IEEE. This Innovative Practice Full Paper presents findings from a qualitative analysis of student and faculty perspectives on activities designed to contribute to interdisciplinarity in a newly designed graduate engineering program; incorporating transferable skills (i.e., competencies needed to be successful in professional settings) throughout the curriculum. Current national trends suggest that materials development lags behind the technological needs of today. To address these concerns, an interdisciplinary graduate engineering program was designed, integrating transferable skills instruction alongside multi- and interdisciplinary coursework. Designed to emphasize the core principles of transformative learning theory (e.g., critical reflection, creative problem-solving, effective discourse, and authentic relationships), required program activities, like development of an ePortfolio, foster transferable skills acquisition in students. Continuous evaluation of program effectiveness is crucial in maintaining optimal program implementation and output. The current evaluation utilized qualitative analyses of student ePortfolios to better understand student and faculty perspectives of student outcomes based on interdisciplinary assessments of a cross-discipline design project. The results suggest that students acquired both transferable and technical skills through several unique program components and activities; further, skills acquisition appeared to contribute to successful completion of broader program learning outcomes. Implications for practice and future directions are discussed.
author list (cited authors)
Lavadia, C., Chang, C., & Fowler, D.