Credentialing in the CSET Education Change Process

Document Type

Conference Presentation

Publication Date



Efforts have been made to improve technical and professional skills in engineering graduates, but little widespread change in pedagogy has occurred within U.S. engineering education institutions. Our group studied the genesis and implementation of an innovative engineering curriculum (Iron Range Engineering) through a series of interviews with a wide range of stakeholders. Using a grounded theory approach, we found that to “shoehorn” an innovative curriculum into a traditional university setting required ad hoc solutions - almost akin to hacking a system. The findings in the study of this process also showed that the most common barriers to widespread educational innovation can be framed as credentialing issues, whether as excuses for not implementing change or as legitimate obstacles. At the root of the credentialing issue is the ubiquitous standard unit of effort-the credit hour, which was originally designed simply to measure faculty workload rather than student learning. This paper seeks to describe the breadth of credentialing in terms of scope and groups involved. Finally, we propose conversations that change agents in CSET education can use to turn credentialing into a lever for systemic curricular transformation.


Integrated Engineering

Publication Title

2016 IEEE Frontiers in Education Conference (FIE)