Systemic reform in undergraduate engineering education: The role of collective responsibility

TitleSystemic reform in undergraduate engineering education: The role of collective responsibility
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2003
AuthorsFisher, DP, Fairweather J, Amey M
JournalInternational Journal of Engineering Education
Volume19
Pagination768-776
Keywordscollective responsibility, faculty autonomy, reform adoption, systemic reform, Teaching and learning models
AbstractTraditionally, members of a department facultyvalue their autonomy. But their home department has a setof collective responsibilities involving other departments inthe college, the university, and external constituent groups.Consider the following scenario. In a certain departmentfaculty are judged individually to be very well qualified.Each person’s academic and other scholarly achievementscan clearly be documented as meritorious. However, thecollective activities and achievements of these individualsfall measurably short of their department’s collectiveresponsibilities. More specifically, an individual might bringhighly innovative concepts into an existing engineeringcourse that are highly valued by external funding agencies,by peer institutions, and by the employers of thedepartment’s graduates. Yet these innovations are lost oncethis person is no longer the course instructor. This paperexamines the relationships among faculty autonomy, thecollective responsibility of the department faculty, andsystemic reform in undergraduate engineering education.
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