Engineering Education AfterNext Call for Proposals

As the engineering graduates of 2020 work their way through our undergraduate programs, engineering educators and engineering education researchers are starting to come to terms with the work we’ve left unfinished.

Looking ahead to 2050 and beyond from the standpoint of our present moment, we are taking stock of all we have achieved, and all we have taken for granted. As we continue to seek to provide a broad education for engineers with key professional skills for the 21st century, we are facing eroding support for higher education, liberal education, and critical thinking itself. This is acutely felt in the United States, but the same trends are readily identified throughout the world.

Camp Engineering Education AfterNext: Provocation, Reflection, and Action

West Lafayette, Indiana
July 23-27, 2018

Most human beings have an almost infinite capacity for taking things for granted.
— Aldous Huxley, Brave New World
AfterNext logo

We find we must return to first principles to make the case again for the value of institutions of higher education and the knowledge they produce; we must make the case again for publically funded universal primary and secondary education; and we must make the case again for public investment in a reliable and accessible engineering infrastructure. Recognizing that climate change is our new reality with increasingly devastating effects worldwide, including decreased access to potable water, increased risk of natural disasters, and mounting food insecurity, we need to retool engineering education to address needs for maintenance and resilience of sociotechnical systems. In the midst of shifting demographics, we recommit ourselves to the imperative to broaden participation of underrepresented groups in engineering fields, and to address the root causes of inequality in engineering education. We can no longer take for granted the durability or stability of democratic institutions, economic systems, or nation states, which have typically dictated engineers’ priorities.

Thus we ask: what is the engineering education after next? What do we need to do now and in the coming decades to prepare for (and to shape) the realities of 2050 and beyond? What do we need our engineers to be able to be, feel, think, and do, and how can we best design teaching and learning experiences to those ends?

Call for Proposals

This is a call for provocateurs and reflectors along themes related to the dystopian futures of our present moment, employing a “back to basics” approach that articulates first principles, arguing again, before a new generation of learners, for those things we value and seek to preserve and maintain — those things that will sustain the generations of engineers coming of age in and grappling with our brave new world.

Camp AfterNext will take place in West Lafayette, Indiana July 23-27, 2018. With a relaxed and informal feel, the event will open up time and space for deep reflection and contemplative action that will refresh and refocus our work ahead. We do ask that teams commit to being present at Camp AfterNext the entire time.

We request 1- to 2-page proposals (Deadline: March 15, 2018) from teams of 3-5 people assembled from within and beyond the space of engineering education researchers. We especially encourage participation from outside the field, including academics from other fields, people who work in industry, government, or non-profit sectors, community members, and others. The proposal should lay out plans for the following:

  • The provocateur will author a 5000 word-limit white paper along a theme responsive to the prompt above (Deadline for the white paper: July 1) and attend the AfterNext meeting. Submit proposal online.
  • Two to four respondents will agree to spend time in deep reflection on the white paper over the space of the conference (July 23-27) and craft responses (individual or joint) to the white paper. Response length is no more than 1000 words. (Deadline for responses: September 1)

Travel will be supported by Purdue’s School of Engineering Education.

About the Camp

Planning teaching and learning experiences for the AfterNext requires experiencing teaching and learning outside of our expert comfort zones!

Structured like a summer camp, participants will experience activities from days long ago. The agenda will include group and team* work time, fun breakout activities (eg. swimming, obstacle course, hiking, arts and crafts, participant-led activity**), local industry tours, and dinner field-trips around the greater Lafayette area.

*Example Team Threads

  • Learning in New Cyber-realities
  • The Case for Public Education
  • Climate Change and Sustainability in Engineering Formation
  • Educating Engineers to Design Physical and Virtual Infrastructures AfterNext
  • Diversity, Inclusion, and Social Justice by 2050

**Do you have a trade or skill you would like to teach for a breakout activity? You know, things like underwater basket weaving, macramé, woodworking, donut making, home brewing, or honey production. Let us know when you submit your proposal.