A team including UW BioE full-time Lecturers Karen Thickman and Molly Blank, Senior Lecturer Alyssa Taylor, Associate Professor Daniel Ratner and Elizabeth Nance, the Clare Booth Luce Assistant Professor of Chemical Engineering, has received a College of Engineering Strategic Instruction Initiative (SII) award. The SII program aims to reimagine engineering education by identifying, developing and accelerating innovative best practices for teaching and learning:

  • Improve first-year and second-year student engagement and learning
  • Encourage large-scale innovations that move the curriculum towards more project-based learning
  • Broaden access to and improve retention in engineering programs

The selected teams will receive $25,000 per year for up to two years to implement innovative educational ideas. The projects are also supported through matching funds from departments and other colleges.

BioE/ChemE’s team will launch an interdepartmental health engineering course for first year direct to college (DTC) students that explores multidisciplinary engineering approaches to improving and promoting human health. The overall motivation is to provide DTC students with a high quality educational experience in which they can become better informed about the alignment between COE’s degree programs and their personal interests.  Bioengineering plans to collaborate with other departments in the COE, including Chemical Engineering and Mechanical Engineering, to enable students to explore engineering from an interdisciplinary and interdepartmental perspective.

Leveraging the engaging context of solving unmet needs in human health, this course will explore the different research and educational opportunities in a subset of COE majors strategically selected based on an alignment of prerequisite requirements. It will teach students fundamental engineering and professional skills, facilitate development of their identities as engineers, and help them identify and learn about multiple engineering programs in which they might major. In addition to major exploration, this course provides an important opportunity for first-year students to learn communication skills, teamwork skills, and the engineering design process, including key language and concepts, to provide a toolset for future work. This course will help DTC students identify complementary pathways for engineering majors relevant to health and medicine, and prepare for future engineering studies.