Electrical and Computer Engineering collaborates on curriculum questions

ECE is committed. Approximately fifteen faculty members of the Curriculum Action Team (CAT) and the FIC department coordinator convene at least weekly to tackle tough questions about how well their curriculum serves students. Last fall, under the leadership of Professors Christine Julien and Mattan Erez, they examined different pathways students take to meet degree requirements and, with help from Project 2021’s research group, surveyed alumni and employers to understand graduates’ experiences. Armed with this information, the team created a vision document in January that outlined significant challenges and what it would look like to successfully address them. Faculty approved two changes to the curriculum almost immediately: 1-hour pass/fail “bites” courses on technical topics (e.g. Python programming) to boost students’ skills, and redefining 14 credit hours of the “required ECE core” to allow for more student flexibility while maintaining rigor. They’ve also analyzed all required courses in the first two years, including topic areas and the depth at which they are covered, and are identifying connections and alignment between courses. As faculty have raised questions—how do we integrate disciplinary writing and teach teamwork? How do we incorporate divergent thinking?—the FIC has helped identify strategies and models to address them. The conversations have not been easy, and the solutions will not be simple, but the outcome will be a curriculum that is cohesive, efficient, and prepares students for the jobs of the future.