NSF TUES (#1245635), “Infusing Creative Thinking Into STEM Education”,
PI- DiLuzio, active September 2013 - February 2016.
Innovation, discovery, invention and the ability to develop or construct new bodies of knowledge are the direct result of the creative act: creative thinking, problem stating and problem solving. The unsaid mandate, of almost, any educational institution is to develop students’ creative potential to their fullest. The problem with achieving this aspiration is that the creative process itself is not taught nor included across the widest spectrum of an institution’s curriculum as an independent discipline. For the most part, the teaching of creativity is done under the purview of the Fine Arts and Design and in specific areas of the Humanities, such as Creative Writing. The premise of this proposal is to expand knowledge of the creative thinking process and increase the effectiveness of faculty in delivering a curriculum that reinforces creative thinking as an integral part of undergraduate Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) education.
The goal of this pilot project is to infuse creative thinking teaching into existing STEM courses at the University of Southern Maine (USM). The major objective to achieving this goal is to engage STEM faculty in workshops to introduce them to techniques used by faculty in creative thinking disciplines and to help them develop modules for incorporation into existing courses. The project will bring together one cohort of 8 faculty from the Departments of Applied Medical Sciences; Environmental Science; Exercise, Health and Sports Sciences; Biology; Computer Science; Mechanical Engineering, and Technology for 5-day summer institutes, where STEM education and creative thinking processes and strategies are outlined and related teaching modules are designed by the faculty cohorts for incorporation into their already existing curricula during academic years 2014-2015. The chosen faculty cohort will participate in the 2014 Summer Institute, and then develop their modules and incorporate the modules into one of their scheduled classes in their 2014 and 2015 course loads. We anticipate these participating faculty's students will be exposed to creative thinking processes and strategies during the 30-month project period.