Objective 5: Sharing with the Engineering Community
 

Each partner institution will assist their Affiliate campuses to transfer the curriculum modules and educational innovations developed by the Foundation Coalition to those campuses. In addition, a "virtual repository" will be established, which will enable users, via the World Wide Web, to obtain information on any topic related to Foundation Coalition activities.

Active dissemination of information regarding the Foundation Coalition (FC) has always been a priority among the partner institutions. During the first five years, dissemination was identified as a strategic objective of the FC, and a national Strategy Director for dissemination was appointed. This individual worked with the partner campuses to establish a national presence for the FC. Dissemination efforts included the development of printed literature on the FC, a World Wide Web (WWW) presence for the FC, and high visibility of the FC at national meetings and conferences related to engineering education (FIE, ASEE, etc.).

While we believe that the FC did an admirable job of marketing itself to the engineering education community during the first five years, we feel that both our dissemination content and our dissemination methodology should be significantly refocused during Years 6 through 10. First, we will shift our dissemination paradigm from a one-way "push" of information to a true sharing of information regarding engineering education reform issues. We believe that effective communication of FC products involves not only the distribution of information to other parties but also accepting input from these parties. This is reflected in our renaming of the strategic objective from dissemination to sharing. Second, our sharing efforts will be proactive, rather than reactive. We will identify new mechanisms to provide information, mechanisms that reflect different needs of different customers. Third, we will focus on directed dissemination/sharing through an expanding network of Affiliate campuses, a concept new to the Foundation Coalition in Years 6–10. Partner and Affiliate campuses will equally share the responsibility associated with the transfer of FC concepts and ideas. Affiliate campuses are discussed in more detail in Section 5, where the Year-6 Affiliates are listed.

In order to better reach the engineering education community at large, we will establish a FC "virtual repository." Using search engines on the FC Web site, users will be able to obtain information on any topic related to Foundation Coalition activities. Users can identify one or more contact people who are available to provide assistance, advice, and expertise. We will be able to track the use of the repository to see what questions people are asking in order to continuously improve our sharing mechanisms. The groundwork for such a repository began in Years 1–5 through our Foundation Coalition Activity Sheet (Appendix G).

The obvious avenues of sharing (conference papers and presentations, WWW site, etc.) will continue to be utilized by all partner institutions. Emphasis will shift, however, from conference-based papers to papers published in archival journals. The FC Web site (http://www.foundation.ua.edu) will be continually refreshed, ensuring current information. Linkages will be made not only with campus FC Web pages, as is currently the case, but with additional campus Web sites, such as the University of Wisconsin (UW) Learning Center (http://www.engr.wisc.edu/elc).

We have identified a number of projects directly related to sharing that will take place on each campus.

  • Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology (RHIT) will focus efforts on the construction of texts to accompany the first two years of the integrated Foundation Coalition curriculum.
  • UW has several nationally recognized Centers and Programs associated with undergraduate engineering education: Learning Communities, Wisconsin Emerging Scholars, LEAD Center, and CCLE. The products of these efforts and Web sites will be supplemented by FC-based materials.
  • Arizona State University (ASU) will continue its focus on the delivery of workshops for faculty interested in FC-based innovations, as well as disseminating the successes of their relationships with the community colleges, building off the relationships established with the Maricopa Community College District in Years 1–5.
  • Texas A&M University (TAMU) will provide a model for the relationships between partner institutions and international Affiliate campuses.
  • University of Massachusetts Dartmouth and TAMU Kingsville will design a set of workshops and seminars for engineering faculty in their geographical area.
  • University of Alabama will remain the central distribution site for the FC, and the backbone of the virtual repository will be established at this site.

Finally, as mentioned previously, we envision our sharing initiative as one that is proactive in nature. We will actively solicit input via workshops, surveys, telephone calls, and personal conversations. These include, but are not limited to, other coalition institutions, Affiliate institutions, engineering education conference participants and attendees, and industry. Through direct interaction with these potential customer bases, our dissemination efforts will focus on information that is truly valuable to these individuals. The FC Sharing Director, whose responsibilities are detailed in Section 5, will coordinate sharing activities.

Last updated: October 24, 1998.

 

For information or questions, contact
Jeffrey E. Froyd