Department chairs, deans, and other academic administrators have the important responsibility of leading their unit to achieve high educational standards and institutional objectives. Improving undergraduate engineering education for the 21st century requires an innovative approach and reflection can be one way to help achieve the high expectations for the next generation of engineers.
Many faculty and professional staff are already asking students to reflect on their academic work, professional skills, and goals for the future. Reflection complements many approaches to teaching and learning that are already being implemented in engineering education, such as: problem based learning, design throughout the curriculum, and other active learning techniques. The range of reflective activities that CPREE embraces are accessible, and allow educators to choose an approach that works for their context. Activities may only take a few minutes, or an entire semester to prompt students to reflect.
Implementing reflective practices both in and outside of the classroom will assist in the development of lifelong learning, one of the more elusive skills that engineering departments are charged to developing in students. Program, college, and university missions encompass lofty definitions of student success, such as developing critical thinkers, leaders, and innovators; all of these can be demonstrated through reflective activities.