As part of an NSF grant to transform Purdue’s School of Mechanical Engineering, we are forming faculty – student – staff teams. Each team is focused on a different dimension of the student experience outside the classroom. So, for example, we have teams looking at improving faculty/student interactions around office hours; opportunities to strengthen relationships between students and faculty at lunch; and alternatives to improving the exposure of undergraduates to research opportunities. All totaled, we have five teams.
We began the process of thinking about how to map the system more clearly around a range of undergraduate experiences with research. Added introductory level, for example, students could be exposed to research through student teams. At a higher level, students could be supervised by graduate students. There may also be opportunities for students to engage in research with industry. Finally, students could join a faculty lab. Yesterday, er began mapping this system. You can see an early version of a map here.
We are continuing to explore how to expand the range of choices by creating new, innovative options, as well as linking and leveraging the initiatives currently underway.