The Academic Leadership Team (ALT) has had four meetings this semester to discuss our graduation requirements. The requirements haven’t been modified in many years, and it’s an appropriate time to take a look at them since everyone is working on updating our curricula. The meetings are half a day long. Usually, there is homework to be done beforehand to facilitate the conversations and to make sure that everyone has the same information and data to review.
At the January meeting, we discussed implementation of the new curricula and re-prioritized the graduation requirement topics.
The Curriculum Implementation Timeline is attached as a pdf file. The important milestones are the initiation of the curriculum reviews in Spring 2012, final reviews of the modified curricula by the Institute Curriculum Committee (ICC) by December 2012, and implementation of the new curricula in Fall 2013. As of 18 May 2012, 6 curricula have been reviewed and approved by the ICC including computer science, computer networking, electromechanical engineering, applied math, construction management, and facilities planning and management. Key criteria to keep in mind when developing the new curricula include interdisciplinary project-based learning (IPBL); keeping operations within the current resources, including personnel, finances and space; and insuring that the curricula are consistent with the Institute’s graduation requirements.
After discussion by the entire group, the ALT agreed that implementing modified curricula with the milestones described above was feasible. To no one’s surprise, however, people, space, time and money are limiting factors and might (will?) affect some of the decisions and processes that need to be put in place. The ALT also pointed out that additional discussion about the balance between the engineering and engineering technology programs was required, since some departments must teach these curricula in parallel.
Interdisciplinary project-based learning was also a topic of much discussion. The planning required to include IPBL in the curricula is extremely important, and sensitivity to student workload is a must. IPBL should be integrated into the curriculum and not just added on top of the other requirements since the credit hour and contact hour requirements of our degree programs are already quite large. The ALT also said that the time has come to actually implement IPBL and that we need to move from “talking the talk” to “walking the walk.” As I discussed in my previous blog posting, we have implemented two projects since that time to directly support IPBL. The first is funding for IPBL by the Provost’s office. Contact Associate Provost Chuck Hotchkiss if you have an idea that needs some support. The second is the Accelerate Innovation and Entrepreneurship Challenge which had its kickoff networking meeting for students last night, 17 May 2012. More information on Accelerate can be found at www.wit.edu/accelerate.
I’ll be posting commentary about the other ATL meetings in the next few weeks.