Free ticketed event
All of our students learn within their disciplines. However, their formal education rarely discusses disciplinary identity explicitly. The identities that do form suffer from being developed within disciplinary silos - few students are aware of the relationships between their discipline and those of their peer engineering students.
Engineers, and engineering students, are increasingly being asked to work in multidisciplinary design teams. They are also being asked to contribute to innovative design through both their disciplinary and unique individual identities. When their teams form, few students are able to co-construct a team identity that leverages the disciplinary expertise, skills, and identities of its members. The students see their team mates as expertise to be leveraged and skills to be applied - not as providers of different and valuable design perspectives, alternative modes of communication and evidence, and different forms of team process. The result is a student experience that is diminished, not enhanced, by the presence of multiple disciplines. The teams that do form are not the multidisciplinary teams we intend.
In this workshop, participants will experience an abbreviated set of activities that explicitly scaffold multidisciplinary team development. These activities support articulating and leveraging disciplinary identities and have been refined in our multidisciplinary capstone course at the University of Toronto. Through the lenses of design, communication and teamwork, participants will explore their and others’ identities across a combination of bias and stereotype elicitation, values prioritization, identity formation exercises, and contextual drama. Participants from as many disciplines as possible are invited to make a rich multidisciplinary experience.
Having completed this workshop, participants will depart having:
1) reflected on, and expressed, their disciplinary identities;
2) gained a deeper appreciation of other disciplinary identities;
3) framed disciplinary identity from differences in design, communication and teamwork;
4) practiced forming and negotiating a multidisciplinary team; and,
5) obtained strategies and approaches to bring these experiences into their own classrooms.
Jason Foster is the Associate Professor of Engineering Design, Teaching Stream within the Division of Engineering Science at the University of Toronto. He has developed eight engineering design courses, spanning the first through fourth years of study and class sizes from 10 to 300 students. A systems design engineer by training, has has been researching the theory, practice, and teaching of engineering design throughout his career. His pedagogical focus is on the praxis of engineering design.
Patricia Kristine Sheridan is a PhD candidate at the Institute for Leadership Education in Engineering at the University of Toronto where she has been a team-effectiveness researcher and engineering design educator for 4 years. She has researched student behaviour in over 300 different teams, following some teams in depth for up to 4 months, and has designed an on-line system to facilitate the development of team-effectiveness behaviours in student teams. Her teaching and course development focus on creating interactive learning activities at the intersection of design, leadership, teamwork, and identity formation. She holds a BASc and MASc in Mechanical Engineering, and has previously worked on large plant design teams in industry, and on algorithms to develop co-operative multi-agent systems in robotics.
Deborah Tihanyi is an Associate Professor, Teaching Stream, and the Director of the Engineering Communication Program at the University of Toronto. While her academic training is in Drama/Theatre (BA, 1989, York University; MA, 1994, University of Alberta; PhD, expected 2015-16, University of Toronto), her time as a dramaturge, working with playwrights to develop new plays, was excellent preparation for teaching communication. She has taught across all departments in the Faculty of Applied Science and Engineering, from large classes to one-on-one tutoring. Her research for the past 10 years has focused on engineering education, including the development of professional identity, the creation and use of professional portfolios, the integration of disciplinary knowledge and communication and the role of communication in multidisciplinary design teams.