One More Thing: Faculty Response to Increased Emphasis on Project Teams in Undergraduate Engineering Education

Persistent Link:
http://hdl.handle.net/10150/196119
Title:
One More Thing: Faculty Response to Increased Emphasis on Project Teams in Undergraduate Engineering Education
Author:
Hunter, Jane
Issue Date:
2009
Publisher:
The University of Arizona.
Rights:
Copyright © is held by the author. Digital access to this material is made possible by the University Libraries, University of Arizona. Further transmission, reproduction or presentation (such as public display or performance) of protected items is prohibited except with permission of the author.
Abstract:
Tenured and tenure-track faculty members at institutions of higher education, especially those at Research I institutions, are being asked to do more than ever before. With rapidly changing technology, significant decreases in public funding, the shift toward privately funded research, and the ever increasing expectations of students for an education that adequately prepares them for professional careers, engineering faculty are particularly challenged by the escalating demands on their time. In 1996, the primary accreditation organization for engineering programs (ABET) adopted new criteria that required, among other things, engineering programs to teach students to function on multidisciplinary teams and to communicate effectively. In response, most engineering programs utilize project teams as a strategy for teaching these skills. The purpose of this qualitative study of tenured and tenure track engineering faculty at a Research I institution in the southwestern United States was to explore the variety of ways in which the engineering faculty responded to the demands placed upon them as a result of the increased emphasis on project teams in undergraduate engineering education. Social role theory and organizational climate theory guided the study. Some faculty viewed project teams as an opportunity for students to learn important professional skills and to benefit from collaborative learning but many questioned the importance and feasibility of teaching teamwork skills and had concerns about taking time away from other essential fundamental material such as mathematics, basic sciences and engineering sciences. Although the administration of the College of Engineering articulated strong support for the use of project teams in undergraduate education, the prevailing climate did little to promote significant efforts related to effective utilization of project teams. Too often, faculty were unwilling to commit sufficient time or effort to make project teamwork a truly valuable learning opportunity because those efforts were not perceived to be valuable and were rarely rewarded. Few formal professional development opportunities were available and few incentives were in place to encourage other informal efforts to develop the necessary skills. Those who committed significant effort to project teams were challenged by concerns about team composition, student accountability and assigning individual grades for group teamwork.
Type:
text; Electronic Dissertation
Keywords:
ABET; Collaborative Learning; Engineering Education; Faculty Workload; Teamwork
Degree Name:
Ph.D.
Degree Level:
doctoral
Degree Program:
Higher Education; Graduate College
Degree Grantor:
University of Arizona
Advisor:
Milem, Jeffrey
Committee Chair:
Milem, Jeffrey

Full metadata record

DC FieldValue Language
dc.language.isoENen_US
dc.titleOne More Thing: Faculty Response to Increased Emphasis on Project Teams in Undergraduate Engineering Educationen_US
dc.creatorHunter, Janeen_US
dc.contributor.authorHunter, Janeen_US
dc.date.issued2009en_US
dc.publisherThe University of Arizona.en_US
dc.rightsCopyright © is held by the author. Digital access to this material is made possible by the University Libraries, University of Arizona. Further transmission, reproduction or presentation (such as public display or performance) of protected items is prohibited except with permission of the author.en_US
dc.description.abstractTenured and tenure-track faculty members at institutions of higher education, especially those at Research I institutions, are being asked to do more than ever before. With rapidly changing technology, significant decreases in public funding, the shift toward privately funded research, and the ever increasing expectations of students for an education that adequately prepares them for professional careers, engineering faculty are particularly challenged by the escalating demands on their time. In 1996, the primary accreditation organization for engineering programs (ABET) adopted new criteria that required, among other things, engineering programs to teach students to function on multidisciplinary teams and to communicate effectively. In response, most engineering programs utilize project teams as a strategy for teaching these skills. The purpose of this qualitative study of tenured and tenure track engineering faculty at a Research I institution in the southwestern United States was to explore the variety of ways in which the engineering faculty responded to the demands placed upon them as a result of the increased emphasis on project teams in undergraduate engineering education. Social role theory and organizational climate theory guided the study. Some faculty viewed project teams as an opportunity for students to learn important professional skills and to benefit from collaborative learning but many questioned the importance and feasibility of teaching teamwork skills and had concerns about taking time away from other essential fundamental material such as mathematics, basic sciences and engineering sciences. Although the administration of the College of Engineering articulated strong support for the use of project teams in undergraduate education, the prevailing climate did little to promote significant efforts related to effective utilization of project teams. Too often, faculty were unwilling to commit sufficient time or effort to make project teamwork a truly valuable learning opportunity because those efforts were not perceived to be valuable and were rarely rewarded. Few formal professional development opportunities were available and few incentives were in place to encourage other informal efforts to develop the necessary skills. Those who committed significant effort to project teams were challenged by concerns about team composition, student accountability and assigning individual grades for group teamwork.en_US
dc.typetexten_US
dc.typeElectronic Dissertationen_US
dc.subjectABETen_US
dc.subjectCollaborative Learningen_US
dc.subjectEngineering Educationen_US
dc.subjectFaculty Workloaden_US
dc.subjectTeamworken_US
thesis.degree.namePh.D.en_US
thesis.degree.leveldoctoralen_US
thesis.degree.disciplineHigher Educationen_US
thesis.degree.disciplineGraduate Collegeen_US
thesis.degree.grantorUniversity of Arizonaen_US
dc.contributor.advisorMilem, Jeffreyen_US
dc.contributor.chairMilem, Jeffreyen_US
dc.contributor.committeememberLee, Jenny J.en_US
dc.contributor.committeememberDeil-Amen, Reginaen_US
dc.identifier.proquest10341en_US
dc.identifier.oclc659751947en_US
All Items in UA Campus Repository are protected by copyright, with all rights reserved, unless otherwise indicated.