(48e) Enhancing Collaborative and Inclusive Skills Development to Foster Effective Chemical Engineering Capstone Design Teams | AIChE

(48e) Enhancing Collaborative and Inclusive Skills Development to Foster Effective Chemical Engineering Capstone Design Teams


Pfluger, C. - Presenter, Northeastern University
Hauser, A. - Presenter, University of Kentucky
Rivera-Jimenez, S. M. - Presenter, University of Florida
Capstone design is one of the quintessential courses in an undergraduate student’s curriculum that requires effective teamwork skills to be successful. Effective teams foster innovation, empathy, safety, and belongingness while clearly communicating goals and distributing effort in order to solve a problem. These team attributes are learned skills that employers specifically look for when hiring engineers in the workforce so it is critical that effective teamwork skills are taught in the classroom, as emphasized in the 2020 ABET criteria. This presentation will discuss the application of inclusive and collaborative team pedagogies at three different institutions. These strategies include but are not limited to team charters/community agreements, project management, defined roles and responsibilities set by the teams, activities on effective and inclusive discussions, team peer assessments, and meaningful feedback. The effectiveness of these pedagogical strategies is evaluated using the Team Learning Beliefs and Behaviors Model, adapted into a questionnaire. In this model, team effectiveness is shaped by the individual's beliefs about the team's interpersonal context, leading to their willingness to engage in learning behavior. The five attributes of effective and inclusive team behaviors measured by the questionnaire are Interdependence, Social Cohesion, Group Potency, Psychological Safety, and Task Cohesion. The questionnaire was administered in all three universities before and after the capstone course. The results found that the students thought interdependence (leadership, delegating responsibilities, communication, and clear team roles as essential to effective teamwork), psychological safety (feeling safe and open to address team issues and project ideas), and task cohesion (setting goals and performing tasks to achieve a final project) were the most important attributes of effective teams. These results may indicate that instructors are effective at preparing students to be on task and to provide inclusive discussions within teams. However, it may also indicate that pedagogical methods to enhance team social cohesion and group potency with more targeted group team building activities could benefit team effectiveness.