The National Science Foundation has awarded a $1-million grant to the UCLA Samueli School of Engineering’s Bioengineering Department to integrate evidence-based organizational change strategies into the undergraduate curriculum.
The proposed Revolutionizing Engineering Departments Adaptation and Implementation will focus on project-based learning, real-world problem solving, industry and clinical partnerships, as well as promotion of equity, diversity and inclusion in education. By doing so, the department seeks to create a learner-centered environment that fosters innovation; improves the learning experience for students, instructors and researchers; and aligns undergraduate education with industry and research demands.
The 2023-2027 initiative will be led by Bioengineering Department chair and Chancellor’s Professor of Bioengineering Song Li and bioengineering professor Jacob Schmidt, vice chair of undergraduate studies and the faculty director of the UCLA Samueli Makerspace — a 9,000-square-foot space in Boelter Hall for students to design, build and create projects using 3D printers, a virtual reality system, electronics fabrication tools and more.
“By sharpening the educational focus and increasing access to resources, we hope to broaden undergraduate students’ career opportunities and equip them with the knowledge, skills and mindset needed to tackle evolving societal challenges,” Song Li said.
The new program will center around three primary objectives: integrating practical projects and skill training into the undergraduate curriculum, building partnerships across the university —and with the medical center and industry, and fostering an inclusive community for bioengineering education at UCLA and beyond.
“By sharpening the educational focus and increasing access to resources, we hope to broaden undergraduate students’ career opportunities and equip them with the knowledge, skills and mindset needed to tackle evolving societal challenges,” Li said.
The UCLA team comprises bioengineering faculty and Assistant Director of Data Analytics Hannah Whang Sayson at the Center for Educational Assessment, as well as education professor and UCLA Associate Vice Chancellor of Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Mitchell Chang. The project is also supported by the leadership of engineering, medicine, life sciences, research centers and the SEA Change program at UCLA — the American Association for the Advancement of Science’s STEMM (science, technology, engineering, mathematics and medicine) Equity Achievement Change program.