POWERING ENGINEERING EDUCATION
It's sometimes tough to see things from another's perspective. But in the work environment, that skill is critical to problem-solving and innovation.
At the University of Louisville, engineering students learn that beginning in their first year, thanks to a new required course that puts them in multi-disciplinary teams. They work together on a series of hands-on projects, such as building a working small-scale power plant and connecting it to a computer to collect and interpret data.
"The class is unique, in that it brings innovation and creativity into the classroom," said Dr. Brian Robinson, lead instructor for the course. "We provide a better opportunity to set students up for success down the road in their academic career and their professional career."
By working on projects, mostly in the Institute for Product Realization's Engineering Garage, students can take what they learn in the class room and apply it to the real world. This teaches them practical work skills, such as project management, critical thinking, ethics and teamwork.
The teams are made of students from all engineering disciplines, from computer to mechanical, with each lending his or her own expertise. Bailey Florek, a freshman studying bioengineering, said working in cross-functional teams now is good practice for her future career.
"As a bioengineer, I'm going to be working with other engineers in the future to collaborate on projects," she said. "So, I think knowing what they're doing will help me to better myself, too."