Experiencing the Campus Culture at Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology

When people say the name Rose-Hulman, they often associate the institution with unique characteristics—a caring family, educators who are connected to their students, and educators who put their students at the center of their teaching practice. On my visit to Rose-Hulman, these characteristics were evident in every conversation I engaged in with educators to staff and even to students. On my two day visit, I had the wonderful opportunity to meet with a number of individuals and the conversations in these meetings included: what is reflection, how do we implement reflection into our teaching, how do we evaluate reflection in our teaching, is this [insert activity name] a reflective activity , how do we implement reflection into an already full curriculum, how can I get involved in CPREE activities, and many more thought provoking topics. The evidence of dedication and passion for teaching and learning was evident through the deep questions educators, staff, and students engaged with me about.

While all of these conversations included many meaningful highlights, I want to emphasize a few of these interactions in-depth: (1) engaging with engineering undergraduate students about their engineering education research and connections with the CPREE efforts; and (2) observing CPREE activities come full circle to impact classroom activities.

Historically, it has been less common for Rose-Hulman undergraduate students to be involved in engineering education research. More recently, students have become more interested in the topic and actively involved in engineering education research. On my campus visit, I met with Katelyn Stenger, Mechanical Engineering senior, and Chris Gewirtz, Physics Engineering senior. First, what stood out to me about my discussions with Katelyn and Chris was their understanding of highly intellectual topics—metacognition and reflection. Next, these two students described their research in knowledgeable, meaningful, and passionate ways. Throughout our conversation, I enjoyed helping them make connections between their research and the CPREE efforts. In the end, the connections that Chris and Katelyn were making between the engineering education research and the CPREE efforts at Rose-Hulman were quite sophisticated in nature. I am excited to see the mark both of these fantastic engineers will make!

Another highlight from my trip was seeing CPREE efforts impact classroom activities. The first evening I went to dinner with campus PI’s Patrick Cunningham, Ella Ingram, and Jay McCormack. During our conversation, Patrick talked about a reflection activity he wanted to implement the next day in class. During this conversation, we gave him suggestions about the activity, even pointing him to a relevant CPREE field guide entry. (Note: Field guide entries represent a reflection activity an educator has used in the classroom. By the end of year 1 of CPREE, each campus partner will have a field guide with at least 10 field guide entries.) Before the class session in which Patrick planned on implementing the reflection activity, he read the field guide entry and adjusted his reflection activity based on what he learned. The next day, I had the opportunity to observe Patrick’s class and his implementation of the reflection activity. It was an exciting to see CPREE come full circle to impact classroom activities!

Another characteristic of Rose-Hulman that stood out to me was the nature of the questions asked—deep, thought provoking, and passionate questions. In every conversation I had, educators, staff, and students engaged me in meaningful conversations about teaching and learning.  I now know that the next time I visit Rose-Hulman, I better have my thinking cap on! I look forward to my next visit to Rose-Hulman.