Iron Range Engineering is an innovative learning program using project-based and work-based pedagogies. The Bell Academy (BA) is a semester-long bridge experience between the first two years of STEM foundation and the final two years spent in full-time industry co-op placements. The curriculum within the academy is delivered within three domains: technical, design, and professional. The transformation to thriving as a student engineer in an industry placement is intentionally embedded in each stage of the program as students develop higher levels of self-awareness, professional responsibility, and self-directedness. Students not only gain technical engineering knowledge, but also apply that knowledge within team-based, ill-structured design projects, acting as engineering consultants to industry clients. Technical learning is delivered in one-credit modules, which supports both the development of the individual as a student engineer and the execution of the project. Professional competencies are learned in-situ as teams encounter natural struggles. Development is supported through workshops, which cover topics such as conflict management, leadership, technical writing, data science, public speaking, inclusive action, etc. Through iterative assignments and practice, such as resume development, negotiation, and interviewing, students develop a skills portfolio to identify and acquire a position to begin and maintain their career. Through more than a decade of implementation, several unique learning strategies have been developed and refined. The paper will briefly describe the model used and provide the strategies as potential tools for adaptation and implementation in engineering programs worldwide.
Christensen, D., Singelmann, L., Mann, C., Johnson, B., & Ulseth, R. (2023). The Bell Academy: A Bridge Semester Where Engineering Students Transform Into Student Engineers Who Thrive In Industry Placements. European Society for Engineering Education (SEFI). DOI: 10.21427/BXVQ-XR47
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