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Designing Inclusive Approaches in Intensive Team-Based Engineering Learning Environments

Jan Peters, Ines Direito, Kate Roach, Emanuela Tilley


Engineering education is rapidly changing. The adoption of active learning in all its forms requires educators to keep abreast of the pedagogical changes whilst at the same time supporting staff and students in moving away from stereotypical behaviours and encouraging inclusive approaches to interactions in order to ensure an equitable education for all. As part of the design of a new integrated framework at UCL, the Integrated Engineering Programme (IEP),[i]the design team took steps to ensure that inclusion was considered at every stage, from the themes of group Challenges to consideration of design and professional skills. The intent was to help all students engage as widely as possible with the technical challenges and ensure that no group of students was adversely affected by any of the changes that would be introduced. The move to a more intensive team-based learning environment was considered a possible threat, in particular to women students. Specifically the design team did not frame any of the measures as being for women students, but focused on creating inclusive team environments. A widely used assessment tool, StrengthsFinder 2.0 (Rath, 2007), was introduced for all students in week one of term one. Over the five years of the IEP a series of feedback surveys, focus groups and reflections from staff and students have contributed to the refining and development of the IEP. This paper presents insights into the programme and the introduction of STRENGTHS, and first results from the team working focus groups. In particular the paper considers how inclusion and the professional confidence of women (and men) is being addressed and evaluated. This is a work in progress and the programme is subject to ongoing review and adjustment.

[i] Further information on the Integrated Engineering Programme can be found at http://bit.ly/2HYis86 


Women; engineering, problem-based learning; strengths coaching; inclusion, CliftonStrengths

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