(552f) Progressive Development of Students’ Capacities to Engage in Functional Teaming

Authors: 
Mallette, N., Oregon State University
Koretsky, M. D., Oregon State University
Bothwell, M., Oregon State University
Engineering work relies on effective collaboration and communication among diverse groups of people in many roles, including: engineers, scientists, managers, technicians, end-users, among others. While all engineering educational programs require student teamwork, instruction on effective and inclusive practices are often missing. When present they may be ad hoc and only addressed in the senior year. Moreover, outcomes are rarely assessed. As part of our unit’s efforts to revolutionize the undergraduate learning environment, we are strategically designing and implementing a scaffolded and progressive approach to growing students’ capacities to engage in inclusive teaming, where diverse perspectives are encouraged and valued. We call this approach functional teaming. We utilize a studio model where students regularly work in teams in ten courses in their first three years. By coordinating student team experiences in these courses, we aim to develop productive interaction practices. The studio teaming experiences prepare them to engage in more comprehensive team work in the senior year laboratory and design courses.

In this paper, we will report on preliminary implementation of functional teaming, identify key aspects that frame functional teaming, with particular attention given to identifying: (i) the role status plays in group interaction, i.e., to what degree does an idea depend on who is saying it rather than the idea itself; and (ii) work that is “team worthy,” i.e., is the problem / issue presented to the student team challenging enough to benefit from multiple perspectives and various slices of understanding? This work is supported by the National Science Foundation pilot program Revolutionizing Engineering Departments (RED) that is aligned with the NSF Engineering (ENG) Directorate’s multi-year initiative, the Professional Formation of Engineers, to create and support an innovative and inclusive engineering profession for the 21st Century.

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