University News

WNE Hosts Successful "Making with EM Across the Curriculum" Workshop for Engineering Educators

Published: July 27, 2023 | Categories: All News, Engineering, Faculty
"Making with EM Across the Curriculum" workshop participants.

Western New England University proudly announces the resounding success of its recent faculty development workshop, "Making with EM Across the Curriculum," which was designed and facilitated by College of Engineering faculty members, Devina Jaiswal, Andi Kwaczala, and Rob Gettens. The workshop, held in partnership with the KEEN / Engineering Unleashed Faculty Development program, brought together engineering educators from prestigious institutions nationwide to engage in transformative maker activities. 

The workshop aimed to empower engineering educators with training on implementing the entrepreneurial hands-on makerspace experiences, including 3D printing and laser cutting, fostering an innovative approach to teaching and course development. The team worked hard to create a makerspace community fostered on inclusion, active participation, and curiosity. This helped the faculty participants to experience the benefit of a makerspace community that learns through failure, and uses iterative rapid prototyping. The goal was to help faculty generate making activities to bring back to their home institutions to allow student-centered experiences that can transform classrooms and lab spaces into innovation centers. 

Hosted on the campus of Boston College’s state-of-the-art Design and Innovation Hatchery, the workshop had an impressive turnout of approximately 32 participants, comprising dedicated faculty and staff from renowned engineering programs such as the South Dakota School of Mines, The Citadel, Bradley University, Pennsylvania State University, among others. The support from BC’s Sunand Bhattacharya, Lucas Ewing, and Will Gotanda helped the participants utilize the campus makerspace facilities seamlessly. After a 3-hour intensive training session, newly minted makers were up and running on toy design, constructing models of condos, and rapid prototyping prosthetic arms. The week of making concluded with a comprehensive design competition to show off faculty participant’s innovations. 

Throughout the duration of the workshop, participants delved into immersive sessions led by the expert facilitators, exploring the potential of maker activities in transforming traditional engineering courses into dynamic and interactive learning experiences. The focus on implementing entrepreneurial mindset into experiential learning allowed educators to explore novel methods of integrating practical design projects within their respective curricula. Participants worked to develop their own personalized classroom modules, thereby enriching the educational journey for their students. 

WNE Assistant Professor Devina Jaiswal expressed her enthusiasm for the positive response received from participants, stating, "It was truly inspiring to witness the passion and dedication of our fellow educators as they embraced the maker culture and explored innovative ways to elevate engineering education. This workshop was an exceptional platform for collaboration, and we are excited about the ripple effect it will have on our institutions and, most importantly, on the students we serve." 

Associate Professor Andi Kwaczala, said, “Running this workshop for educators from innovative engineering schools across the country allowed us to spread our ideas within the maker community, and we gained a lot of insight from them as well. It was validating to see how the making with purpose modules we have developed were immediately impactful for our participants. This workshop has encouraged us to continue to grow our own making community at WNE, to continue to push for inclusion and access for all students, and faculty who want to participate and learn together. This is a place we can build a university-wide community of innovation.” 

The "Making with EM Across the Curriculum" workshop is an exemplary representation of Western New England University's commitment to fostering excellence in engineering education and hands-on learning, and real-world applications that focus on the entrepreneurial mindset and value creation.