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Engineering of Self: Twenty-Five Years of Experience Developing New Skills and Expanding Boundaries for Chilean Engineers

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Engineering of Self:
Twenty-Five Years of Experience Developing New Skills and
Expanding Boundaries for Chilean Engineers1
Carlos Vignolo and Sergio Celis, Universidad de Chile
“Few institutions are so conservative as the universities about their own aairs while their members
are so liberal about the aairs of others”
- Clark Kerr (1963)
Accelerating the rate of change in engineering education is an urgent need that is unquestioned today (Watson 2010), but achieving
change is not at all an easy task (Kotter 1995). Introducing changes is particularly dicult in conservative organizations, as is the case with
universities (Menand 2010).
Introducing new objectives, disciplines, and methodologies in an engineering program challenges its curriculum, teaching skills, infra-
structure, and power structures, among other things. Some areas have to yield credits, resources--and power! This task is much harder
when new elements represent ideas that go beyond and challenge established paradigms (Kuhn 1962).
Historically, many of the new initiatives are resisted and not adopted. Others overcome resistance and are adopted, only to be reversed
later (Williams 2003). Only a fraction of them advance and become part of the curriculum. Here, we present an experience we believe be-
longs to the last category, an innovative initiative started in 1986 in the Industrial Engineering Program (IEP) at the University of Chile that
is still alive and slowly expanding into other areas of the School of Engineering and Science (SES).
Twenty-ve years ago, biology of cognition and radical constructivist theory were introduced as epistemological components of the theo-
retical debate about pedagogical improvements among a faculty group in the Department of Industrial Engineering (DIE), the academic
unit in charge of the IEP. Since then “Learning to Learn” has been included as a central learning objective in the IEP introductory course.
These twenty-ve years did not follow a planned program. At the moment of initiating these pedagogical experiments, there was not a
clear vision of the repercussions and necessary timing to implement these new theoretical perspectives. It is now clear that the rst Biol-
ogy of Cognition elective course in 1986 had a great impact on what followed.
In the 1990s, learning and entrepreneurship learning objectives were combined to give rise to the “Learning to Start Starting by Learning”
concept and pedagogical orientation at the undergraduate level. Going beyond traditional technical capacities was understood to produce
not only new professional competencies in the medium term--after graduation--but also new learning competencies in the short term. In
1999, all this eort lead to the creation of the “Programa de Habilidades Directivas (PHD)” (Management Skills Program) as an attempt to
include in all the educational levels in the DIE--undergraduate, graduate, and continuous--a wide variety of social, management, and lead-
ership skills required by engineers to deal with what Peter Drucker called “New Realities” of the twenty-rst century (Drucker 1999).
This paper is a reexive retrospective of these twenty-ve years of introducing new perspectives, paradigms, disciplines, objectives,
methodologies, practices, and courses with a radical constructivist orientation in the DIE. We present a working hypothesis aimed at
understanding why this innovation program was successful. Thus, we reconstruct the evolution of the PHD and reect on its successes and
failures, its turning and tipping points, and its weaknesses and strengths. An immediate, clear, and robust conclusion was that not having
1 Paper prepared to be presented to Global Colloquium in Engineering Education, Singapore, October 2010, and 15th NCIIA Annual Conference,
Washington D.C., March 2011.
©NCIIA 2010
established systematic assessment methods from the PHD’s beginning was a serious mistake. This is one of the areas in which this paper
aims to simultaneously help and benet from others involved in similar eorts of innovation in engineering education.
The paper presents a historical and contextual background to understand the PHD’s genesis. Then it describes the theoretical framework
and its instructional model. It also explains three dierent approaches used to evaluate this historical reconstruction, followed by the main
results. Finally, it discusses some suggestions learned from experience, especially from the mistakes, about how to sustain changes that
expand the boundaries of engineering education, inviting the formulation of ideas on how to evaluate and assess these ambitious initia-
tives in the long-term.
Cultural, Social, and Historical Context
Culture matters (Harrison and Huntington 2000), and history and social contexts matter too (Latour 1987). Engineering education is not an
exception (Godfrey and Parker 2010). Its evolution is related to historical, social, and cultural contexts (Emmerson 1973). In this section, we
give an overview of the context in which this twenty-ve years program was designed and implemented.
Unlike other countries, since the nineteenth century engineering has been one of the most prestigious professions in Chile. Moreover, in
recent decades its relevance has increased further. Engineering programs attract and enroll the best students from the secondary school
system, and engineers’ salaries rank at the top of salary scales. It is not rare to see engineers as captains of industry, leading public institu-
tions, and in high political positions.
Founded in 1842, the School of Engineering and Science (SES) at the Universidad de Chile was the rst school of engineering in Chile, and
has always been one of the leading research institutions of the country, receiving the largest proportion of public R&D funds in com-
parison with other academic units. The SES has about 200 full-time faculty members and approximately 4,000 students. More than 700
students are admitted each year, all students with the highest scores on the national university entrance test (PSU).
All SES freshmen are enrolled in a common core” program that lasts two and a half years. Then they choose among nine engineering or four
science programs. Most students (more than 30 percent) nowadays choose the Industrial Engineering Program (IEP), created in the 1950s.
This program, which has been paradigmatic and inuential for most universities in Chile and some others in Latin America, was the result
of a rst, pioneering, and relevant educational innovation: the introduction of economics and management as a central and distinctive
component of the IEP’s curriculum.
Another important feature of the growing success of SES engineers, especially industrial engineers, is the crucial value that autonomy
and independent thinking has played in the development of the academic and student community. Historically, the capacity of critical
thinking and a dialectical and constructive relation with the surrounding environment, both public and private, has been a very proudly
defended characteristic of the SES. As a matter of fact, this allowed the SES to be one of the very few places where Pinochet’s regime could
not rule during the 1973 to 1990 dictatorial period. This fact is one of the reasons why some people refer to this academic community as
“The Independent Republic of Beauchef (Beauchef is the name of the street in which the SES is placed).
In 1986, an innovation process started in this cultural, historical, social, and emotional context. The rst named author of this paper and
the famous Chilean biologist, Professor Humberto Maturana (National Science Prize in 1994) initiated a dialogue and began to collaborate
professionally. The interaction led to a rst milestone in the design and implementation of the Biology of Cognition course that has been
oered as an elective course to undergraduate students since 1987. It is important to note that a group of full-time faculty fully or partially
attended the rst version of this course. They were the ones that ten years later succeeded in introducing the constructivist approach to
education as part of the compulsory program of the IEP.
Also in 1986, Fernando Flores, former Minister of Finance during the government of Salvador Allende, and at the time living in exile in Cali-
fornia, was creating radical innovative theories about underdevelopment and management. Conversations with him led to the introduc-
tion of entrepreneurship and ontology of language as two new elements in the IEP curriculum.
The next two sections describe the theory and instructional framework developed along these lines in the twenty-ve years that followed
those foundational moments.
Theoretical Framework
A central element of the biologically based radical constructivism proposed by Maturana and Varela (1973/1984) is that human beings are
structurally determined, which implies that anything that happens to them (us) is not determined by external perturbations but only trig-
gered by them. This assumption means that human beings can never know how things really are; they can only know how they see them.
Reality is not independent of the observer but created by the observer in the process of observing. Each person creates dierent realities
depending on their paradigms, moods, and interests, which are unique and socially and historically determined.
©NCIIA 2010
This epistemological assumption, which is the basic element of any constructivism, is accompanied in the radical versions of constructiv-
ism by an ontological assumption: human beings are also a construction of human beings. We can never know who and how we really are.
We can only know how we observe ourselves. And we observe--and thus construct ourselves--according to the paradigms, moods, and
interest through which we observe ourselves.
These two assumptions have radical implications for education. Not only there is no teaching but only learning, which is the most well
known constructivist proposal. Besides, there is no immanent and permanent self that learns. The self is also the result of the process of
learning. Students construct simultaneously and interdependently the external reality and the self. We human beings engineer reality and
ourselves in a continuous and never ending process.
If we adopt these premises, then students have to be allowed, empowered, and helped by their instructors in the task of continuously
designing, leading, managing, assessing, and redesigning their process of inventing reality and inventing themselves at the same time.
Instructors become designers and facilitators of contexts aimed at allowing students to do this in an ecient and autonomous way. But in-
structors are also human beings that create reality and themselves depending on their own paradigms, moods, interests, and the context
in which they live (Vignolo, Celis, and Ramirez 2007). Thus, in this model, all actors involved in education are subject to an evolutionary
and transformational process. The key factor of this learning and transformation process is the level of awareness and self-control of each
actor involved in it.
This radical constructivist approach has several benets. First, it lowers the pressure on instructors to spend more of their scarce and costly
time in improving their teaching abilities, which is, especially in traditional research universities, an almost impossible task for some of
them. Second, it helps in the process of improving the design of educational experiences (Sheppard, Pellegrino, and Olds 2008). Third, it
makes students more responsible for the design and management of their learning program, allowing the development of entrepreneur-
ial and innovative capacities as a parallel and related pedagogical goal.
Later, in the 1990s, inuential management thinkers strongly emphasized managers’ self-awareness. Peter Drucker argues that the most
crucial management now is managing oneself (Drucker 1989). In December 2001, the Harvard Business Review broke new ground by pub-
lishing a special issue entitled “Breakthrough Leadership: Why the Best Strategy Today is Knowing Yourself” (Harvard Business Review 2001)
It is important to realize that this was the rst special issue of this prestigious and inuential journal in its 79 years of existence. The special
issue did not focus on marketing, nance, strategy, sales, production, operations management, technology, quality service, or other main
management topic. Rather, it drew attention to the human side of management. The following sentence, extracted from the editor’s letter,
is particularly revealing of this crucial shift in management:
The term “breakthrough leadership”, as we dene it, is multivalent – it points in several directions at
once. Certainly, it involves breaking through old habits of thinking to uncover fresh solutions to pe-
rennial problems. It also means breaking through the interpersonal barriers that we all erect against
genuine human contact (Harvard Business Review 2001).
Through time, this view has matured, consolidating the focus on increasing self-awareness. When these ideas are developed within an
engineering environment, the idea of an engineering of self begins to take hold. Assuming the radical constructivist approach consistently
and to its nal consequences--what we call the radical-radical constructivist approach--implies assuming the inescapable role of individu-
als as engineers of their lives. This approach led to the launching of the course “Design and Management of Self” as an elective in 2000.
These theories, mentioned above, are structured in a basic instructional model of four phases:
Cognitive phase or knowing the content1) . Participants are invited to learn about the philosophical, psychological, sociological, and man-
agement developments on which the PHD is based. This rst phase is particularly important in an engineering educational context
because students usually have been trained and perform well in a cognitive sphere. Therefore, they know how to argue and defend
themselves from the risks of manipulation and dependency that appears when the emotional and spiritual components of individual
formation emerge.
Attitudes and skills. 2) Having achieved a good understanding of the cognitive side of the constructivist proposal, students are invited
to immerse in a set of exercises and recurrent practices with the goal of experiencing the attitudes, skills, and emotional side of living
and learning.
Increasing self-awareness. 3) The main goals of the exercises and practices are not so much for students to improve in these dimensions,
which is not an easy task in short periods of time, but to improve as observers of themselves and increase consciousness of their com-
petency levels, and the consequences in terms of their performance as students, citizens, and future professionals.
Redesign. 4) In the last phase of the learning chain, students are invited to go back to the cognitive sphere, in which they are usually
highly competent, to redesign the way in which they are designing and managing their learning process and their behavior in general.
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The use of this model during these twenty-ve years has strengthened the PHD in two dimensions: the role of emotions in educational
context, and the relevance of a continuous evaluation. According to a radical constructivist perspective, emotions modulate the way in
which we perceive and construct reality. Because emotions are present in each step of a learning process, a battery of instruments and
practices were developed to increase the capacity to identify, acknowledge, accept, and modify emotions. Some of these instruments and
practices are presented in the next section. Regarding continuous evaluation, each step of the model requires a highly developed ability
to constantly self-asses and self-evaluate personal progress. Here, the participation of classmates, instructors, and other external observers
is fundamental.
Instructional Activities
After the rst courses, the PHD was growing inorganically (or in an unstructured way), and dierent strategies and dimensions were tested
and implemented. Thus, the program expanded its actions to undergraduates, graduates, and continuing education, in addition to certain
workshops and short-programs for adolescents and community leaders. Courses, workshops, and conferences were constantly oered. In
this section, we describe the main components of these activities, starting from the more specic elements.
Basic practices
Although to expose students to a cognitive understanding of the courses’ content and theoretical proposals was part of the learning
objectives from the outset, the central focus always was on the acquisition of certain emotional and corporal attitudes and skills. Thus,
practical and hands-on activities, rather than cognitive or passive activities, were the program’s cornerstone. The following four exercises
were the most frequently used and relevant to the program:
Tuning in• . Exercise used at the beginning of any course or workshop session. Its main objective is to set the participants’ mood and
emotion. Through this exercise, participants are trained to identify their moods and emotions and realize its inuence on the reality
that they “construct” at each moment. In addition, an improvement in student focus on the session is expected. Specically, through
the “Tuning in” each participant is invited to indicate their moods, emotions, interests, questions, and worries upon arrival. This exer-
cise consists of a one-page questionnaire that includes a list of twenty-seven moods of which each participant has to select three that
best represent their moods and emotions upon arrival. This list includes positive and negative moods and emotions (See Appendix A).
Stretching• . Exercise used at the end of every course or workshop session. Its main objective is to improve participants’ capacity to as-
sess their learning and increase awareness of themselves as active participants in the course. This exercise is also a one-page question-
naire that includes the same moods and emotions list of the “tuning in” (See Appendix B).
What I learn essay.• Weekly practice in which students must write a one-page essay about their insights, learning, and specic changes
observed during the week.
Ship’s log book.• Following Drucker’s proposal on the importance of feedback, students are invited to initiate the use of daily notes on a
sort of “Diary of Learning and Living”, registering emotions and moods, insights, questions, concerns, breakdowns, etc. Although this
activity is not reviewed nor graded, a signicant percentage of students adopt and value this practice.
The exercises described above are focused on self-observation and evaluation. In recent years, new exercises that include evaluations and
observations from the students’ networks have been included. For example, the students’ families and friends are asked to complete a
questionnaire about students’ practices and behaviors.
The PHD has oered many courses for undergraduate students during these twenty-ve years. Here, we describe ve courses. Although
only one course was mandatory, and the other four were electives, the elective courses have had full enrollment almost every semester.
Biology of Cognition• : The rst version of this course was oered in 1986 by Humberto Maturana and was considered the PHD’s genesis.
Since then, the course has been oered continuously each fall semester. This is a content-driven course that presents the basic theo-
ries and principles of the Biology of Cognition. Usually, advanced students that want to obtain a deeper understanding of the PHD’s
foundational knowledge take this course.
Introduction to Industrial Engineering• : This course was the most important course directed by the PHD and the rst compulsory course
for those students that, after the engineering common core,” choose the IEP. The course’s main objective was to induce and allow
students to become designers and managers of their personal learning program while they discover the industrial engineering world.
Thus, the course promoted an active student attitude toward their undergraduate studies. Exercises aimed at self-observation, self-
awareness, and self-management were core activities of this course. The rst version was oered in 1997 and the last one in 2008.
After 2008, the objectives of this course were split into three courses called Industrial Engineering Workshops I, II, and III. These new
courses maintain the main orientation of the Introduction to Industrial Engineering course and are framed within an important cur-
ricular reform at the University of Chile that places students at the center of the learning process.
Entrepreneur Skills Development• : Elective course opened to students in their last two years (of six years required to obtain the profes-
sional engineering degree). The main objective is to immerse students in a real experience of designing and attempting a start-up
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project. In this course, the main focus is also on the student learning process rather than on content or on the student project itself.
This course was oered for the rst time in 1991.
Management Skills Development• : This elective course is designed to promote students management skills, such as organizing, delegat-
ing, communicating, leading, team building, and time-management. This course is almost completely based on active learning. Each
session involves exercises and practice; lectures and content are almost absent. An important feature of the course is that, during the
rst part, students have to identify those management skills in which they are strong and those in which they are weak. Each student
has the opportunity to explore and improve a particular skill. This course was oered for the rst time in 1998.
Design and Management of Self• : This course is intended to reect on the dierent aspects of professional and personal life, to increase
self-awareness, and to explore the possibilities, costs, and limitations of the design and management of self. Humberto Maturana and
the rst named author of this paper oered this course for the rst time in 2000.
Saturday workshops
A large series of workshops has been designed and oered by this program. Most of these workshops were day-long Saturday sessions
to ensure participants’ emotional involvement. These workshops were usually aimed at introducing students to the radical constructiv-
ist approach through a sequence of individual and group activities. A well-known version of these workshops was the “Business Game.”
This game, which simulates the real business world, was used to trigger students’ insights and conversations about self-awareness and
management skills.
Graduate and continuing education
The PHD has had a large impact on the graduate and continuous education programs, and has enjoyed fast growth. The PHD became one
of the most distinctive components of the University of Chile’s MBA and oered many post-graduate diplomas and programs for dierent
Chilean companies and regions, enrolling many political, business, and community leaders (Vignolo et al. 2004). Although graduate and
continuing education is not the paper’s focus, we acknowledge a strong inuence from this experience on undergraduate education, and
vice versa. This inuence and the overall impact of the PHD on graduate and continuing education need further research.
Because this paper reconstructs the PHD history and reects on it, we analyzed historical documents (i.e., rst versions of course syllabi)
and data, and also we summarized a series of papers that have described and evaluated various aspects of the program. We must point
out that the paper’s rst named author was one of the leaders and founders of the program and the co-author was a student and later be-
came instructor in the program. This familiarity with the PHD has the advantage of providing rst-hand access to the program’s history and
evolution, but it also has the limitation of not ensuring an objective and neutral evaluation and assessment of the impact of the program.
We classify the methods into three dierent strategies: an analysis of the curriculum evolution, the collection of cases of students’ projects
inuenced by the PHD, and surveys answered by current and former students. First, we collected old versions of the PHD’s course syllabi
and analyzed the evolution of the credits oered by the PHD in the IEP. We also speculate regarding some aspects of the PHD inuence
on the SES’s curricular reform. Secondly, we collected from past course evaluations and reports some successful initiatives, projects, and
programs created and led by students inuenced by the PHD. Finally, we summarize a series of papers that analyze and evaluate quanti-
tatively and qualitatively dierent aspect of the PHD’s courses. These papers systematized data only since 2000. Unfortunately we do not
have systematized data for the period ranging from 1986 to 2000.
Inuences on the curriculum
A way to measure how a new initiative grows in an undergraduate program is looking at the amount of credits oered to the students.
Figure 1 presents the total amount of course credits oered by the PHD per academic year since its beginnings in 1986. In the SES, one
credit means one hour (60 minutes) of study per week. For example, in the SES a normal mandatory course has 10 credits, which means
that students have to allocate 10 hours per week to the course, including lectures, labs, personals study, and any related activity. A normal
student is expected to achieve 100 credits per year. In 1986, the six-credit course Biology of Cognition was oered in fall and spring,
adding 12 credits for that year. Then, this course was oered only in the fall semester. Since 1990, other courses were included in the cur-
riculum. The peak of the PHD was in 2001 when 68 credits were oered through one mandatory course and four electives. The number
of credits represents the relevance that the PHD had at the time in the IEP’s curriculum. In total, twelve professors have been trained and
have taught in the PHD. Half of them were engineers, and four have received the award as best IEP’s professors.
©NCIIA 2010
The PHD also contributed to the undergraduate education through other courses that are not included in Figure 1. Some “Thesis Project”
sections, the last course in the IEP sequence, and some “Design Project Seminar” sections, a course oered to engineering sophomores,
have been conducted by PHD instructors.
In 2002, the School of Engineering (SES) started a discussion process on its curricula that concluded in a large curricular reform implement-
ed in 2007. This reform puts the students at the center of the learning process and incorporates active learning methodologies and other
innovations from the engineering education’s state of the art (Poblete et al. 2007). The PHD was aligned with the reform’s learning objec-
tives, and made a contribution to the discussion process in two important ways. In 2005, the PHD promoted, designed, and conducted
large parts of the rst “induction week” for the more than 600 SES freshmen. This activity aimed at inviting students to learn engineering
through hands-on activities from the rst day of class (Poblete et al. 2005; Poblete et al. 2006). Also, the papers’ second-named author was
the SES coordinator of the last design phase and of the implementation of the engineering reform. Currently, the entire SES, especially the
IEP, is moving toward a view of engineering education that places a strong focus on students as the main drivers of the learning process.
We suggest that one of the main benets of the PHD’s courses has been an increase in students’ willingness and ability to initiate and con-
duct a wide variety of ambitious and relevant projects (Vignolo and Celis 2007; Vignolo, Celis, and Guggisberg 2008). Among the various
students’ initiatives, two were selected that are emblematic due to their national impact and their direct connection with the PHD.
One of the most relevant organizations and source of pride in the Industrial Engineering Department at the University of Chile is the
Industrial Engineering Student Union (IESU). The PHD collaborates with the empowerment and reactivation of the IESU, encouraging
student participation, providing room for discussions, and mentorship. The IESU has promoted various initiatives that have not only local
but also national impact. For example, in 2003, the IESU organized the rst version of the World Class” Conference for Chilean industrial
engineering students, with great success in its rst and following versions. In that year, the IESU’s president and leader of this initiative
was Guido Pierattini, a student who was an active beneciary and later instructor of the PHD program. This IESU leadership initiated a new
more active IESU, and Pierattini received, in 2006, the award “Outstanding Young Engineer” from the Chilean Institute of Engineers. See and
In 2001 a group of students of the Introduction to Industrial Engineering course established “Construyendo Mis Sueños” (“Building my
Dreams”) CMS program, one of the most innovative socially oriented programs conducted by young Chileans. The CMS’s main objective
is to design, develop, and transfer tools and technologies that allow low-income micro entrepreneurs to increase their managerial and
productive capacity. To date, more than 2,300 micro entrepreneurs and more than 700 volunteers (mostly engineering students) have par-
ticipated in the CMS program. The CMS’s rst four years were closely tied to the Introduction to Industrial Engineering course. See http://
Systematization of data
During the past ve years, some limited attempts to evaluate and assess the PHD impact have been made. The most signicant eort was
a survey sent to 1,000 former students of the Industrial Engineering course asking about their perception and evaluation of the inuence
©NCIIA 2010
of the course in their subsequent studies and rst professional experiences (Vignolo, Celis, and Ramirez 2007). Responses to the survey
were in the 30% range, which is very high for Chilean standards.
Nearly 50% of former students selected the “High” or “Very High” response to the Your general evaluation of the impact of the course in
your training as an industrial engineer” question (the scale included: Very Low, Low, Regular, High, and Very High).
At the end of each semester, students complete a course evaluation in several dimensions.
In seven out of ten semesters between 2001 and 2005 the Introduction to Industrial Engineering course obtained an evaluation that
exceeded the average of all IEP courses. This seems to be a particularly important achievement given the bad reputation of “soft” courses
among engineering students.
The current work describes and reects on the twenty-ve years of a program that has survived promoting an innovative approach within
a conservative and traditional engineering and scientic environment. The PHD has inuenced the industrial engineering curriculum, en-
gaged hundreds of students in social and entrepreneurial programs and projects, making them active agent of their own learning process
and slowly but steadily has expanded into other areas of the SES.
We believe that the survival and expansion of its inuence justies an eort to assess the program to identify the key factors explaining
this success. To start this enquiry, we propose four hypotheses for which we have partial evidence.
A robust theoretical framework. • We believe that to make changes in an academic environment a strong theoretical framework is crucial,
both to gain space among academics and to make it attractive to students. The fact that a National Science Prize was behind our con-
structivist proposal was certainly an important supporting factor.
Internal Leadership• . The PHD program was led by an engineer graduated from the SES as an outstanding student that started his aca-
demic career at age 22, and played a signicant role in the ght against the dictatorship’s attempt to intervene the SES. We propose
that both the academic and political leaders’ ascendance are crucial success factors for pedagogical innovation in university contexts.
Freedom and openness of the organizational culture.• The success of the PHD was not based only on its merits. It was possible because
the SES was a place that, while as conservative as any traditional and prestigious university, is open to exploring new initiatives when
they are put forward with passion and conviction. Without the long tradition of respect, admiration and promotion of plurality, aca-
demic liberty, critical thinking and pioneering thought, the PHD would have not succeeded.
Patience and perseverance• . Relevant changes take time, especially in higher education contexts. It took ten years to make the rst
signicant change and, at that moment, three DIE full-time faculty members –out of a universe of 25- were involved in the initiative.
Patience in facing up to challenges, opposition, criticism, and assuming and correcting mistakes was a crucial component of the PHD
We believe these 25 years of experience are also an opportunity to learn from many mistakes that were made in the attempt to change
the traditional educational setting in engineering education. Among the mistakes, we clearly identied four:
Not having systematic assessment methods until the program was well advanced. This absence of methods is the result of not having •
designed nor seen the program as such until recently.
Not having exposed the program and its results to academic scrutiny since the beginning. •
Confusing invention with innovation. In its undergraduate courses, the PHD tended to permanently test new activities instead of •
improving the originals (even those that had some success). Because of this, during some periods, we missed the focus on our “clients”,
the students, which is an especially serious mistake when arguing from a constructivist stand view.
Fundamentalist temptation. The constructivist approach is attractive. Instructors and students are tempted to adopt this approach as •
the “New Truth. Nothing is more contradictory with the radical constructivist approach than this fundamentalist position.
We strongly believe that most of these developments – especially the exercises aimed at increasing observation and modulation of moods
and focus of attention- are applicable to engineering education in other cultural and economic contexts. This belief is the main reason for
exposing it to rigorous academic scrutiny, responding to the call in recent journals to enhance an engineering education research com-
munity that includes valuable international experiences.
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©NCIIA 2010
Name: _________________________ Date: _____________________
1. Which are your moods (or emotions) at the beginning of this session?
Select three from the following list or add other distinctions
___ Enthusiasm ___ Interest ___ Confusion
___ Acceptance ___ Peace ___ Restlessness
___ Ambition ___ Resentment ___ Gratitude
___ Expectation ___ Optimism ___ Skepticism
___ Condence ___ Apathy ___ Anger
___ Indierence ___ Tranquility ___ Impatience
___ Curiosity ___ Preoccupation ___ Prudence
___ Hope ___ Happiness ___ Anxiety
___ Euphoria ___ Resignation ___ Distrust
OTHERS: _____________________________________
2. Do you think these are good moods to obtain the best from this session?
If not, what can you do here and now to improve them?
3. What Interests, Breakdowns and Worries will you bring to the construction of this session?
4. What question or proposals would you like to make now to the facilitator?
©NCIIA 2010
Name:_____________________________ Date:_____________________
1. - ¿Which are your moods (or emotions) at the end of this session?
Mark the three options that most accommodate you
___ Enthusiasm ___ Interest ___ Confusion
___ Acceptance ___ Peace ___ Restlessness
___ Ambition ___ Resentment ___ Gratitude
___ Expectation ___ Optimism ___ Skepticism
___ Condence ___ Apathy ___ Anger
___ Indierence ___ Tranquility ___ Impatience
___ Curiosity ___ Preoccupation ___ Prudence
___ Hope ___ Happiness ___ Anxiety
___ Euphoria ___ Resignation ___ Distrust
OTHERS: _____________________________________
2. - What new possibilities do you see for yourself as a result of this session?
4. - In a phrase: ¿which is your balance of this session?
5. - Put a mark to this session from 1.0 to 7.0
6. What mark would you put to yourself as responsible and constructor
of your learning process in this session?
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This paper presents a model to expand the positive effects of active learning to the process of continuously assessing and improving a course. Main practical and theoretical foundations, as well as recent results of the model, are exposed.
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Background Calls for culture change as key to systemic reform in engineering education implicitly assume the existence of common elements of a distinctive culture. The landscape for engineering education studies that invoke the concept of culture is complex and multi-faceted, yet still ill-defined and incomplete. Purpose (Hypothesis) The aim of this study is to develop a conceptual framework of cultural dimensions that has the potential to guide the understanding of culture in the context of engineering education to demonstrate “where we are” and “how to get where we want to go.” Design/Method Ethnographic methods within an overarching interpretivist research paradigm were used to investigate the culture of engineering education as manifested in one institution. Adapting Schein's cultural framework, the data were collected and analyzed to distil from observable behaviors and practices the essence of the culture in the form of tacitly known cultural norms, shared assumptions, and understandings that underpinned the lived experience of staff and students. Results The findings are discussed within six cultural dimensions which emerged from the data as: An Engineering Way of Thinking, An Engineering Way of Doing, Being an Engineer, Acceptance of Difference, Relationships, and Relationship to the Environment. Conclusions The detailed findings from this study, combined with evidence from other studies, support the view that the proposed six dimensions have the potential to be transferred to other institutions as a practical tool for evaluating and positioning the culture of engineering education.
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The July 2008 issue of the Journal of Engineering Education is based on an engineering design approach to identifying ways and means for creating more vital engineering programs. It focuses on the primary customer of engineering education and students. A team of authors were challenged to look at educational issues that are not typically explored. The result is nine papers that cover three key questions, including who are today's and tomorrow's engineering students, what does engineering leaning look like, and how can the students be helped to better learn about engineering. This team of authors used two large student databases to explore persistence of engineering students compared to other majors, looking at factors such as gender and ethnicity and grade distribution as well. This special issue is expected to motivate many to act and provide some helpful guidance regarding considerations of who, what, and how in many aspects of engineering education.
Businesses hoping to survive over the long term will have to remake themselves into better competitors at least once along the way. These efforts have gone under many banners: total quality management, reengineering, rightsizing, restructuring, cultural change, and turnarounds, to name a few. In almost every case, the goal has been to cope with a new, more challenging market by changing the way business is conducted. A few of these endeavors have been very successful. A few have been utter failures. Most fall somewhere in between, with a distinct tilt toward the lower end of the scale. John P. Kotter is renowned for his work on leading organizational change. In 1995, when this article was first published, he had just completed a ten-year study of more than 100 companies that attempted such a transformation. Here he shares the results of his observations, outlining the eight largest errors that can doom these efforts and explaining the general lessons that encourage success. Unsuccessful transitions almost always founder during at least one of the following phases: generating a sense of urgency, establishing a powerful guiding coalition, developing a vision, communicating the vision clearly and often, removing obstacles, planning for and creating short-term wins, avoiding premature declarations of victory, and embedding changes in the corporate culture Realizing that change usually takes a long time, says Kotter, can improve the chances of success.
276 p. The New Realities is an incisive and challenging examination of the central issues, trends, and developments of the next decades and the questions, problems, and opportunities they present to America and the world. Full of acute and perceptive ideas about politics and economics, business and society, Drucker shows how the future began with the end of the belief in salvation by society, the disappearance of Roosevelt's America, the unraveling of the Russian Empire, and the increasing impotence of arms politically as well as militarily He analyzes the new limits and functions of government and the changing demands on political leadership; discusses the transnational economy and ecology, the paradoxes of economic development, the postbusiness society, information-based organizations, management as a social function, the shifting knowledge base; and describes a new world view of a perceptual universe. Peter Drucker has been rightly called "the founding father of the science of management" (Los Angeles Times). His management books are recognized classics. He is also renowned for his prophetic books analyzing politics, economics, and society beginning with his first book, The End of Economic Man (1939), followed by Landmarks of Tomorrow (1960), The Age of Discontinuity (1969), and culminating in The New Realities. "A foremost philosopher of American society" Kenneth Boulding said of Drucker who, in the words of Fortune is "in a class by is impossible to read the man without learning a lot.".