Faculty-led Inquiry into Reflective and Scholarly Teaching (FIRST)


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Course portfolio developed as part of the UNL Peer Review of Teaching Project (peerreview.unl.edu)

Copyright (c) 2013 Karen Schurr


Course Background: Over recent years, the careers of professional civil engineers have become increasingly collaborative, multidisciplinary, entrepreneurial and focused on sustainability. With that comes an expectation from the profession to adequately prepare work force entrants for such challenges. In addition to traditional foundations in math, science, engineering fundamentals and an understanding of professional ethics, graduates now need interdisciplinary depth, critical thinking ability, ingenuity, creativity, leadership, multifaceted communication skills, flexibility and a broad understanding of civil systems in global economic, environmental and societal contexts. The UNL Civil Engineering Department strives to meet the profession's expectation with the capstone design course, CIVE 489, Senior Design.

In 2012, the Civil Engineering Department faculty with input from undergraduate students and the Civil Engineering Advisory Board (comprising public, private and industrial professionals) approved qualities expected of graduates several years into their civil engineering careers. My reason for choosing this course for portfolio development is ultimately the recognition of the impact student success in this course has upon its stakeholders who range from the students themselves to the employers that hire them to the civilians who depend so critically on the systems they will ultimately design. My key goals to be accomplished are: Improving my teaching methodology to achieve my objectives; Development of student educational assessment tools to recognize both shortcomings and highly effective learning aids; and Development of a process for myself to implement changes for continual improvement of the course content by effectively using assessment tools for reflection and sharing outcomes with undergraduates, departmental faculty, advisory board members and accreditation reviewers. The goal of this course portfolio is to identify methods to assist inexperienced engineers in the following ways to develop a framework for solving complex infrastructure system problems