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Welcome to our New Group of Faculty

A new First-Year Experience Team has been formed. This is the team of faculty identified by their department heads to lead the effort of examining the first year of all Technology majors and to redesign it using the Polytechnic Incubator experience as a springboard. This group will be meeting throughout the fall semester to create a cohesive team, to define their mission, and then to redesign Technology’s first-year studies.

The team includes the following faculty:

  • Aviation Technology: David Stanley
  • Building Construction Management: Daphene Koch, Emad Elwakil, and Jessica Anderson
  • Computer Graphics Technology: Pat Connolly and Ray Hassan
  • Computer Information Technology: Guity Ravai and Vic Barlow
  • School of Engineering Technology: Nancy Denton, Eddy Efendy, and Jeff Richardson
  • Technology Leadership & Innovation: Christy Bozic and Linda Naimi
  • English: Michael Smith
  • Lamb School of Communication: Marifran Mattson

We recently held our second meetings. The faculty reviewed their mission, were reminded of the resources available to them, and then assessed their mindset relative to Polytechnic Educational Research and Development by stating what they liked and what they wished they saw or knew. We summarize here the collective input from this exercise which took place over two different meetings.

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Likes

Here is what the faculty stated they liked.

General concepts: The ideas and general path; the idea of transforming the learning environment; the idea of the project and how we could help the student and the program to raise a different generation of students.

Students’ intrinsic motivation: It is highly motivating to students; it breaks traditional boundaries; learning through exploration and discovery.

Students’ autonomy with their learning: The self-directed aspect of learning (need to see it in action); the idea of a mission rather than a major; students could customize their College of Technology four-year experience without departmental restrictions; the student-designed plan of study; “students in charge of their own education.”

Faculty as mentors: The mutual selection by student and faculty for mentorship; faculty mentoring.

Cross disciplinary and integrated: Collaboration between departments for similar courses; interdisciplinary studies; team approach to guided learning; integrated design and communications; cross-disciplinary skills/faculty/problem sets.

Competency-based: The concept of competency-based education.

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Wishes

These were wishes expressed by the faculty.

Exemplars and additional information: To see some document helping with understanding of what has happened by the other groups who implemented Fall 2014; to see something like this in practice and tested by other schools; to meet with some of the Incubator faculty to chat about what works for them.

Resources and scalability: Scaling up the Polytechnic Incubator; well-equipped space; to know how to do this for large groups of students; what are the resources available to deliver or create the learning environment; what mentoring process is available for faculty to balance between delivering traditional programs and innovating without overloading faculty.

Feasibility: To see how the first-year experience can meet all obligations, given the wide range of courses in the college; to see how a crammed plan of study can incorporate requirements.

Competencies: To better understand the term competency; what competencies have we identified for Year 1; there is a worry that keeping students in one group may slow some students down.

Employability: To understand the match between expected Polytechnic Incubator outcomes and industry/employers needs; there is a worry that students with a Purdue Polytechnic Institute degree will not be accepted by industry.

Diffusion/buy-in: There is a wish that faculty in one’s department were more open to Polytechnic Educational Research and Development ideals; what incentives are there for encouraging faculty engagement?; please explain Incubator vs. Accelerator.

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Dialogue, Answers, and Resources

Exemplars: There are several exemplars that we have used as inspiration; you might identify others. Please let us know if you would like to organize a visit.

Visiting classes: You are all invited to visit classes. Please contact Stephanie Schmidt (sjschmid@purdue.edu) to schedule a visit individually or (even better) in small groups.

Books: If there is any book that you would like to acquire, please contact Stephanie Schmidt and she will email it to you.

Resources and scalability: You were selected for your passion and commitment through the recommendation from your department head as the faculty who can take the work done in the Incubator and create something new at a large scale. We are here to support your efforts and provide you with what you need to make this a success.

Feasibility: We believe it is feasible to create a common learning first-year experience for all of our students. We trust your group to determine the nature, scope, etc.

Competencies: For reading on this topic, please see Roadblocks to Creating a Competency-Based Program, which links to two articles at The EvoLLLution, and “Tugged in Two Directions: Accreditors’ role in the expansion of competency-based education” from Inside Higher Ed.

Employability: One of the major motivators of the creation of Purdue Polytech’s education is to respond to common message seen in all recent surveys by employers. For example, see “It Takes More than a Major: Employer Priorities for College Learning and Student Success: Overview and Key Findings” by the Association of American Colleges and Universities.

Diffusion/buy-in: The diffusion and participation of the highest number of faculty are critical to the success of the Purdue Polytechnic Institute. We all have a key role to play in this. Growing the size of the faculty participating in the Incubator / First-Year Experience Team / Accelerator is one such mechanism. Providing information is very important. We are open to all suggestions for how to promote debate and transparency.

In conclusion, I think this is an excellent start. I am thrilled to work with this new group of enthusiastic and dedicated faculty. This is a research project for all of us. We need the brain power and dedication of all of you and I am certain the journey will be as momentous as the outcome. This is a transformative experience that will change us and reshape our careers and view of how much we can accomplish with and for our students.

  1. competency based education
  2. Diffusing Innovation
  3. faculty buy-in

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