This academic year, Tech joined the Consortium to Promote Reflection in Engineering Education (CPREE) in an effort to improve the educational experiences of first and second year engineering students. The consortium, which is comprised of 12 universities and headed by the University of Washington, is funded by a $4.4 million grant from The Leona M. and Harry B. Helmsley Charitable Trust and aims to improve learning through reflection methods in class settings.

“It’s for advocating reflection in engineering education, so basically, we want our professors to have their students adopt reflective practices similar to what is done in the profession of engineering,” said Esther Jordan, Assistant Director of Programming at the Center for Enhancement of Teaching and Learning (CETL). “The consortium defines it as giving meaning to prior experiences and determining how that meaning will guide future actions.”

The program emphasizes reflection as the main method for reinforcing learning for first and second year engineering students, and the program will attempt to focus on faculty who instruct introductory courses as well as engineering courses.

At Tech, Jordan and CETL plan to observe the faculty’s current teaching methods and exercises that promote reflection and, through the consortium, compare the best practices through discussions and planned events over a two year period. In general, the program will follow two steps to find the best methods of reflection.

“The first year, we will map what faculty are having their students do already on campus and look at the best practices and uses of reflection on campus,” Jordan said. “We are then going to report our findings to the consortium which will work together to create what they are calling a field guides to help best use reflection in your classes. Then with the second year of the grant, we will focus on promoting reflection.”

Once the field guide has been made, CETL will hold workshops for faculty to get Tech’s instructors to adopt the practices and ideas laid out in the guide. Another promotional idea is to maintain faculty learning communities where groups of 10 faculty members will meet every week or other week to discuss themes in teaching and learning.

“We will primarily reach out to instructors who are connected with first and second year engineering students in chemistry, biology, mathematics and basic engineering classes,” Jordan said. “Also, we will be participating [in] Teaching Day 2016 in March where we will involve faculty reporting on what they are doing and trying to promote reflective practices at that event. Usually, approximately 200 faculty attend that event.”

Jordan stated that the long term goal of the program is to better prepare student for professional settings, achieve their academic goals and successfully receive their degrees, and she believes that reflection is an important way to enhance those possibilities.

“The whole point is to improve their learning experience and better prepare them for professional practice in a career setting.”, said Jordan “Also, much of the literature shows that, through reflection, students are more likely to achieve learning that endures over time because you sit back, reflect and make connections which deeply affects memory and creates more enduring learning.”

program will follow two steps to find the best methods of reflection.

“The first year, we will map what faculty are having their students do already on campus and look at the best practices and uses of reflection on campus,” Jordan said. “We are then going to report our findings to the consortium which will work together to create what they are calling a field guides to help best use reflection in your classes. Then with the second year of the grant, we will focus on promoting reflection.”

Once the field guide has been made, CETL will hold workshops for faculty to get Tech’s instructors to adopt the practices and ideas laid out in the guide. Another promotional idea is to maintain faculty learning communities where groups of 10 faculty members will meet every week or other week to discuss themes in teaching and learning.

“We will primarily reach out to instructors who are connected with first and second year engineering students in chemistry, biology, mathematics and basic engineering classes,” Jordan said. “Also, we will be participating [in] Teaching Day 2016 in March where we will involve faculty reporting on what they are doing and trying to promote reflective practices at that event. Usually, approximately 200 faculty attend that event.”

Jordan stated that the long term goal of the program is to better prepare student for professional settings, achieve their academic goals and successfully receive their degrees, and she believes that reflection is an important way to enhance those possibilities.

“The whole point is to improve their learning experience and better prepare them for professional practice in a career setting.”, said Jordan “Also, much of the literature shows that, through reflection, students are more likely to achieve learning that endures over time because you sit back, reflect and make connections which deeply affects memory and creates more enduring learning.”

Jordan hopes that the Tech faculty will be onboard to accomplish the goals of CPREE.