One of the best things about blogging over multiple years is that sometimes, you really do end up writing for your future self. Case in point: around my senior year of college, I had an epiphany that I should study "Engineering:Education" that came while I was...
...posting a two-page dense ramble of engineering education resources in response to Nikki’s innocent query to the metaf07 list for thoughts on ways to do a 2-credit independent study on pedagogy at Olin. “Mel, you covered 10x more material than any 2-credit independent study could cover in a semester,” said Marco. (April 30, 2007)
Flash forward almost 4 years, and I'm in the first year of my PhD in engineering education, hunting for good books to read deeply. I've been flat-out sick this weekend and have a next-revision of my lit review due today. So I go dig up that email, curious about what my younger self found so fascinating, and...
Warning: this email shows the tip of the iceberg of my obsession with engineering education. I can go on about this stuff for hours.
I think Andy's suggestion is great. Your list looks awesome. One thing I'd make sure to do is look at what other schools are doing, as well as getting some outside readings on pedagogy/educational theory, since it's helpful to have various frameworks for looking at these kinds of things. (imo, that's one of the great things about Meta; you learn how to apply rigorous frameworks from different disciplines to a subject you're interested in - in this case, Olin).
So get some readings on, for instance, different schools' grading philosophies (Chris Morse has some readings on grading and evaluation - I've cc'd him here, hi Chris! and one book that totally spun my head around was "Punished By Reward" by Alfie Kohn, which Gill gave me Junior year.) Zhenya, Stolk, Somerville, Allen, Lynn, Raymond, Debbie, and Rob have thought a ton about this stuff over the years too. Talk to them! Our faculty came here because they're really into the whole "teaching" thing as well as the whole "engineering" (or math or science or whatever) thing. They are your best resources EVER.
The IEEE Education Society and the ASEE (American Society of Engineering Education, which Sherra Kerns used to be president of) have some good journals and resources, as does the NSF (although you'll have to dig a little harder for the NSF stuff, which is mostly "oh noes, students becoming less interested in technology, must find out WHY!")
Another helpful thing may be to learn about research methods in the humanities and social sciences (esp. education) because their "way of thinking" and how they run their studies, form their theories/ideas, analyze data, what's important to them, the terminology, etc. is very different from the way engineers talk. Arthur Applebee's "Curriculum as Conversation" may help clarify some of this a little, but also read at least one research paper written by an Education PhD (maybe a thesis from the Harvard Grad School of Education? Nick Tatar's predecessor in OSL, Zach First, attends HGSE now; ask Nick or Rod if they can get you in touch with him) and compare it - and its research methods - to an article in, say, the ASEE or IEEE pubs written by an engineer on education.
Caryn Park (Mark Chang's wife) is doing her PhD dissertation in Education and has some fascinating stuff on multicultural education (mm, discussions on diversity in college admissions!) and also some very important stuff on imperialism that y'all should read (imperialism = "dude, we Know Better so we're going to go Help Out all these Poor Unenlightened People and make them Happier.")
OSL [student life] people - Rod and Nick et. al - can give you a completely different view of higher education - the bird's eye view of why we have Trustees, the history of colleges (did you know we stole the idea of grad school from Germany, or the idea of a residential college - as in, dormitories - from England? Or that the first US colleges were made exclusively to train priests? Did you know that the lecture method of teaching comes from pre-Gutenberg days when monks copied down Bibles by listening to another monk read the Bible from a lectern? Replace "Bible" with "lecture notes" and you'll get the idea.) They also have some very interesting perspectives on education in higher education... notice how NOBODY at Olin except for some folks in OSL actually have education degrees. Typically, faculty and administration at schools past the secondary level have received no training in education whatsoever! This has some very, very interesting consequences.
Read "Teaching Engineering" and "The Torch And The Firehose," two classics on how engineering classrooms can be/should be/are run. (Rebecca may have interesting stories on "The Torch And The Firehose.") It's sort of like a manual for new engr profs. Also read "Understanding By Design" which is THE classic on curriculum design, and compare it to some of the classes you've been through.
Read a few of Piaget's papers (he was the one who started the line of thought that, y'know, what students do is kind of important to their learning - previously everyone was operating under the assumption that kids were blank slates and that education was moving memorized facts from the prof's brain to the students)'. I also like Papert's stuff (he was the first person to propose that kids could learn about computers from -- gasp! -- playing with computers). Then again, theory might not be your cup of tea; that's totally cool, the rest of the readings are definitely "more fun" than the ones in this paragraph. (note: I'm the kind of person who gets a kick out building up the notion of multiplication through through agonizingly painstakingly slow moves through abstract mathematics, this stuff is the education equivalent, you have been warned.)
Do an IEEE search for papers written on Olin by Olin (and non-Olin!) faculty - there is some interesting stuff on how the original curriculum was designed, a paper on competencies from when competencies were started, about Olin's CS curriculum, etc. There's also a book "Educating the engineer of 2020" which has an entire section on Olin. In terms of the history of engineering education, try to find some stuff on MIT, which is where the idea of "engineering science" (teaching engineering as a science and a discovery process) got started. It's also where the academic field of electrical engineering got started (after WWII, the government gave MIT's research labs 6 months after their research ended to write down everything they've learned; the newly displaced researchers then proceeded to take these ready-made lecture notes to colleges across the country and set up EE programs there).
Also look at past Olin material - the ABET binders we've collected in the conference room by Ozgur's [design professor Ozgur Eris] office are a good start. [now-retired director of institutional research] Ann Schaffner can point you towards all sorts of statistics. (Look at ABET's accreditation criteria, btw; everyone goes on about how they're "restricting us" but they're like 18 pages long - ~2 pages on general engineering programs, and a half-page each for each degree, so only ~3 pages are actually relevant to Olin.) Look at ABET reviewer comments and external Expo evaluator comments if you can get them; look at exit surveys from the classes of '06 (and soon '07 - I feel old now) on how well they think their Olin education has prepared them.
Other good "general public" education books: "In Schools We Trust" by Deborah Meier, anything on multiple intelligences by Howard Gardner ("Frames of Mind" or "Multiple Intelligences" seem to be the classics - he was the one who came up with the ideas of
kinesthetic/visual/mathematical/etc. intelligence instead of just one measure of IQ; "Disciplined Mind" is also good), check out the TLL (Teaching & Learning Laboratory) at MIT [now in 2012, former TLL-er Sanjoy Mahajan is on the Olin faculty] and the HGSE (Harvard Grad School of Education), and look at the Futurepaths study [by Susan Silbey at MIT] (which is looking at Olin, among other places). For an interesting view on gender in engineering education, check out Smith (and talk to Zhenya). Also talk to Gill & Brian about the engineering certificate program at Wellesley.
On teaching: "What The Best College Teachers Do" is good, "Stuff You Don't Learn In Engineering School" is a little hokey so don't actually read past the table of contents but it's fascinating to see what they include (ironically, their chapter titles match up reasonably well with stuff we cover in our competencies), and "Thinking Like An Engineer" is long and dense (so pick one chapter of it, if anything) but has some cool stuff on how one can think about ethics in engineering (and teaching students about such), and also on the Philosophy of Engineering (yes, it's actually a field [which, in 2011, I learned drives me nuts to read]) which is the tacit stuff we absorb but don't usually think about - for instance, why are we supposed to dislike bureaucracy and like action and hacking? Why do we value idiosyncratic individuals instead of folks who "fit in"? (the "great man" theory of science and technology) How are these values passed on, consciously and unconsciously, to students as they go through engineering school?
Also on Competencies, try to get the Big Conversations video featuring Woodie Flowers' talk, and then after your minds have been sufficiently blown by his speech, go hunt down the research study he mentions in his talk. (And let me know if you find it. I'm still looking.)
If you want to get into the more new/subversive/radical educational philosophies check out Neil Postman (esp. "Teaching as a subversive activity"), "The Saber-Tooth Curriculum" (hilarious parody of the modern education system), "The Teenage Liberation Handbook" (on unschooling), anything by John Holt or John Taylor Gatto (also on unschooling - Holt is the founder of the movement, but Gardner has a semi-relevant book also called "The Unschooled Mind").
Look for material on the Open Courseware movement and on the rising trend of adult education (University of Phoenix, etc.) because much of the "let's involve the learner!" trends have been pushed forward by adult students who, after years of working as professionals, wanted to have control over their own educations. Chomsky (who is pretty much provocative no matter what he's saying) has written a book called "Chomsky on MISeducation" but it's not the most readable thing in the world. I'd do a chapter at most.
Also, look at how other fields educate their students - one thing I've heard over and over again from engineering faculty is how teaching is like acting, so I'm trying to learn how drama students learn theatre in college. How do musicians learn? Historians? English majors? Dancers, studio artists, athletes, skateboarders?
Phew. I'm undoubtedly missing stuff here, but that should give you a starting point... and again, I'm totally happy to talk to people about this stuff anytime. Aaaaanytime.
I am now terribly intimidated by my 20-year-old self. And... I think I have a few more books to put atop that lit review of mine now. Yes.