(for more information, please contact the reporter)
- How do we address the extraordinary inter-disciplinary breadth of
materials science today in courses and curricula? (reporter: Philip Ball)
- Keep the core strong--does not need radical change.
- Incorporate new areas via group assignments, team design-oriented
projects on new materials. Shave students teach this material to their
colleagues (their only exposure)
- Use historical perspective in intro. courses--save specialization for
the next tier, explored using group assignments as above.
- As the courses progress, the required assignments are stepped up and
include industrially and socially relevant issues, including cost,
economics, environment, etc. Increase challenge of assignments towards
real constraints and standards of engineering practice. Also, increase
the focus on new/advanced materials as the curriculum progresses.
- How do we introduce new materials (biomaterials, composites, polymers)
into the standard introductory course and still do justice to the
"basics"? (reporter: Blair London)
We still must teach the strong relationship between STRUCTURE and
PROPERTIES (almost everything else will follow from this). Many of us
really do include information on new materials in the intro. course, the
question/challenge is can we change our thinking around how/what we present
in this course in light of these new materials? That is, along the lines
of Philip Ball's book which really talks about designing in the properties
we want as we process the materials. For example, MBE growth of
multilayer structures. There was a lot of sentiment that to even in presenting
something like MBE structures that the students would have to know quite a
bit of background.
Most of the groups time was spent on looking at the goals for the
intro. course: are we teaching MSE majors, non majors, do we use this
course for recruiting, do we present information so that they think like
MSE people OR do we provide information on what they need to know for
their major? The group became fairly splintered here... there was
not a true consensus on what people needed to know in the intro. course.
This led to our discussion about leaving out dislocations (or even steels
or other "basic" materials things) in the course. We were dealing with the
question: does the typical (blank) engineer really need to know about
dislocations? Again, not much consensus, but lots of good discussion.
- Should our introductory courses be doing more with soft/biological
materials? If so, how and what? (reporter: Jordan Poler)
Yes, need to cover these materials in the intro. course. Suggest trimming
some older, less applicable topics. Soft and biological materials should
be approached through their properties and their processing. Synthetic
and natural fibers and membranes have special properties, that should be
incorporated into discussions of mechanical, electrical and optical
properties. Biological materials are even more interesting because of the
ways they are synthesized--and this should be discussed in contrast to
processing of hard materials. An effort to collect introductory
instructional materials in this area would be helpful to all.
Discussion: Should students need to take organic chem.? No, not
needed--too detailed. Should students take biology? No, cant get enough
biology to make a difference. However, both could be important in the
students future career development.
A coherent story line is important regardless of what is covered.
Oscar Wlide said: Education is what you have left over after you have
forgotten everything you have learned.
- What strategy should be used to incorporate new instructional ideas and
methods into our classes? What backup/training is needed to accomplish
this? (reporter: Charles McMahon)
Primary discussion had to do with the need of institutional support to
enable faculty to participate in developing multimedia teaching materials.
The recommendation was to urge institutions to set up funds for
competitive proposals by faculty to develop such materials, along with
setting up centers of expertise on the campus to facilitate in selection
of equipment and applications software, as well as to provide instruction
to get projects started.
We also recommend that clustering of institutions could help those
that were short of funds, but have faculty who have the time and
inclination to develop such materials. Ideally, a cluster would include a
larger institution that had the funds to get things started.
- What new materials are needed for our new, enhanced introductory
classes? Laboratories? Demonstrations? Other? What specific approaches
should be used? Should there be a central source of experimental and
demonstration materials? (reporter: Jim Clum)
This group considered an intro. course for non-majors and concluded that a
lab should be included. This could be done using experimental kits. A
central repository is needed for kits and introductory experimental ideas,
labs and demos.
- How do we convince current faculty that using new ideas and new
teaching materials and methods is worthwhile? How do we retrain them?
(reporter: Chester van Tyne)
- Need top-down decisions to make a difference--post tenure review,
promotions, pay/reward structure, awards, respect, prestige. Motivate
using assessment tools which all parties agree are valid and reliable.
- Evolution, not revolution.
- Choose techniques and ideas for more efficient preparation (i.e.,
disseminate pre-prepared tools) [See also question 4]
- There needs to be ways to make people aware of deficiencies in their
teaching. Use student evaluations, self and peer assessments, mentoring.
Use external ratings--government ? underground evaluations. Must be aware
of the link between teaching and research.
- How do we convince current faculty that using new ideas and new
teaching materials and methods is worthwhile, at least for younger
faculty? How can we be sure that teachers using new methods and ideas
with not be punished at tenure time? Can we make this a real scholarly
exercise that will be recognized as such? If so, how? (reporter: Jed
Young faculty are not the problem--just older faculty. Need to make tools
available and reward their use. We cannot be assured that faculty using
new methods wont be punished by tenure time unless such use is written
into the reward structure. The need is for good mentoring to insure that
the appropriate amount of time is spent developing new methods. We can
make sure that real scholarly activity in educational materials
development is rewarded by making sure that we have peer review and
publications. Need to establish other assessment methods than those used
by US News and World Report. Assessment needed for rigor in
publication--need quantitative assessment data. Prestige of journal is
important. In research universities, young faculty need to be careful in
spending too much time on education vs. research--need a good mentor for
Discussion: Should there by a separate teaching tenure track in
research universities? Response: no, teacher types would be second class
- How do we excite the best students to study MSE? Should we start
earlier with outreach programs? If so, what type? How can we best reach
the students at the incoming college level? (reporter: Bob Hilborn)
- Short term approaches--
Improve MSE 100. Recruit first year students in ENGR 100 by providing
MSE design problems, demos, guest lecturers. Careful with calculus. Work
also on transfer students. Use scholarships as incentive.
- Long term approaches--
Outreach to HS teachers--a multiplier effect. Also K-8 teachers. HS
student activities include visits to campus, demos, movies; MSE Olympiad;
distance learning; science fairs. Find ways to get to pre-service
teachers. Continuing Ed--look at NTU, masters program in materials
- How can we effectively communicate the new ideas discussed and
developed at this conference to our peers (both within the standard MSE
community and those in related, peripheral areas)? (reporter: Jacqueline
Audience should include educators for engineering and MSE as well as K-12,
jr. college, 4 year non-majors. Available resources should be sold as
ways to motivate student interest. Includes traditional MSE as well as
newer materials, lab modules, in class demos, group excursions, improved
lecturing techniques, use of multi media as appropriate. Need a
repository from which information can be accessed. Dissemination of new
ideas via the resource center needs to be as broad as possible, with ads
in professional journals on a continuous basis, faculty workshops, short
courses at annual meetings, exhibitor booths at national conferences. We
all need to make sure that word of mouth works too!!
Discussion: How does a resource center and related activities survive
in the long term? Use publishers? The materials community must provide
- What sort of long range strategy can we recommend that will encompass
all of the above and effect real change in the materials education
community? Can we make this a national agenda? (reporter, Gerald Liedl)
This discussion involved developing the identity of MSE as a field,
coordination of professional society activities, and marketing of MSE.
- Sloan foundation has funded a careers brochures and web site, with
interviews and information on MSE careers. Well done. Brochure available
from TMS for $2 each--check their web site or call them at (724) 776-9000.
The careers web site is given below; a CD ROM will also be available.
- Coordination of educational activities among the various professional
organizations is essential. This will be facilitated by Linda Vanasupa
(who will develop a web site for this purpose) and representatives from
the various organization.
- Ideas presented on marketing include developing a MSE toolkit for
outreach to present a coordinated picture of MSE whenever the opportunity
is available; developing a set of faculty who would provide lectures and
information, "Experts on Call;" K-12 outreach program coordination and
development of an outline on how best to proceed in this manner; and
outreach to the general population on MSE. Sign-ups and appropriate web
sites for these activities are given below.
- A collection of MSE curricular materials has been funded recently by
NSF. PIs are Tom Stoebe, Rustum Roy and Gerald Liedl. This will provide
a web site listing available curricula with a classification system to
make it easy to use. A request for submissions will be sent out in the
Fall; current and former NSF and other educational projects will also be
listed if useable curricula were developed. This will include both
college-level and secondary level curricula.