I would like to propose a workshop for FYEE 2022 on Student Success Beyond Covid, Teaching The Workforce Of 2026
I am completing my 11th year as a teaching professor in the Fundamentals of Engineering Program in the Statler College of Engineering and Mineral Resources at West Virginia University. Some of the courses that I teach include our 2-semester sequence in our common first year program. The first course is mostly professional skills such as teamwork, project management, report writing, presentations, data collection and analysis. The second course is a Matlab programming fundamentals course also including projects, teamwork, and presentations. I have taught both of those courses over 40 times, making improvements to teaching and assessment materials, new projects, and hands-on labs. I also teach and have developed courses in history of engineering, systems engineering, new product development, and business analytics. I also conduct a study abroad to Germany every year – suspended for now but planning a return. I have won teaching awards at both the college and university levels. I participate in our teaching and learning community with webinars, peer support, and information sessions designed to share my experience and learn from others. One such session can be viewed here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qHL95O9EktI. I started my teaching career after 22 years in industry where I worked in manufacturing doing process improvement, product design and development, sales, and much more, bringing that practical experience to my classroom. In my free time I mentor an award winning FIRST robotics team.
The past two years have been challenging to say the least. There is still much uncertainty about the next academic year and how the changes brought on by the pandemic will influence teaching and the workplace in the years to come. The pandemic is a persistently disruptive event, meaning that the disruptions that it caused will persist long after the event itself. Our students will be the workforce of the future, and they will graduate into a world different than any that we could have imagined only two years ago. Some of the changes were quick pivots, while others were an acceleration of existing trends. This workshop will explore not just the 2022-2023 academic year, but 2026 and beyond when the students of today are the engineers and leaders of tomorrow.
The workshop will begin with a presentation of about 20 minutes, with about 30 minutes devoted to breakout group work and discussion. The final 15 or 20 minutes will bring the breakout groups back together for a summary and reflection. Participants should come away with a longer view of the changes that are likely to persist into the future, and some ways that we can help students to develop the tools that they will need to be successful in it.
The presentation is based on a similar workshop that I conducted at my home university in summer of 2021 and will be updated and conducted again in May, 2022 at WVU’s CELEBRATE workshop. The content is based on experience and research into changes that the corporate world has made, and how we in academia can best prepare our students to succeed in it. Sources include works by Harvard Business school on collaboration, Mackensie consulting, Chronical of Higher Education, and others.
When I conducted the similar webinar last year we were still in the middle of the pandemic, but there were many predictions. As the pandemic eases and evolves into its later phases, the post-pandemic world is becoming clearer. Some companies are re-thinking their approach to the new landscape, and many workers are re-evaluating their relationships to their employers. The post-pandemic world is beginning to take shape.
The presentation will discuss topics such as
• Perspective on persistently disruptive events
• Changes that are expected to persist and some which won’t
• Evolution of skills based performance and hiring metrics
• Expected changes to corporate culture
• Changes in remote, partial remote, and face to face interactions
• Mentoring and collaboration relationships in a more distanced work environment
• Remote work life balance
• Effects of remote work on under-represented groups
Participants will be able to join one of several topic-based breakout sessions which I expect to include; Preparing students for performance-based metrics, Remote work mentoring and collaboration skills, and Work/life balance. Discussion points will include not just that things are changing, but how they are changing. We will address what we as educators can do to prepare students with the right skills to succeed when they enter a workforce between now and 2026. We need our engineers now more than ever and they need us to prepare them for the technical and leadership challenges ahead.
I have a great deal of experience and passion for teaching and student support and would like to bring that it to FYEE in a workshop format to help engineering educators to find practical solutions for adapting to our new world.
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