The Zealots and the Old Guard


Wolverton, Mimi   (1996, ASQC)   Washington State University, Pullman, WA

Quality Progress    Vol. 29    No. 1
QICID: 13058    January 1996    pp. 65-71
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Article Abstract

Fundamental changes to the content and process of undergraduate engineering education are occurring at Arizona State University and a consortium of six other institutions. The changes come about because traditional graduates enter the workplace with inadequate skills, knowledge, and attitudes. Elements of the new program include peer assessment, teamwork, total quality management, and overcoming resistance to change. A centerpiece is an evaluation system based on cognitive and affective educational objectives. A matrix that links the objectives with competency categories enables students to assess their own performance. Student performance has increased in the new program; lower student attrition rates are evidence of this. Many faculty in the new program have learned how to: build courses around the cognitive and affective objectives; maintain focus in class; allow time for after-class comments; adhere to a code of conduct for classroom management; and to translate educational goals into educational outcomes. But there is resistance from some faculty, who are concerned about time commitments, the role of theory versus application, and a threat to academic life. One way to overcome resistance is to train faculty in teamwork and active learning techniques.


Assessment,Cultural change,Education,Engineering,Total Quality Management (TQM)

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