Influence of Multidisciplinary Educational Experiences on Engineering and Nutrition Student Perceptions on Collaboration and Soft Skill Development

Crosby, Caroline Kay (2019) Influence of Multidisciplinary Educational Experiences on Engineering and Nutrition Student Perceptions on Collaboration and Soft Skill Development. Undergraduate thesis, under the direction of Georgianna Mann from Dietetics and Nutrition, The University of Mississippi.

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Solutions to most real-world challenges require collaborative efforts by multidisciplinary teams to provide the breadth of perspective and expertise needed to create effective solutions. Interprofessional education is a pedagogical practice used to provide students with opportunities to broaden their professional perspective by encouraging students to work as a part of a diverse team to solve complex problems. This process strengthens discipline-specific skill development, problem-solving skills, and appreciation for other disciplines while providing experiences that are attractive to potential employers. Many students are interested in food science, but no food science courses are offered at the university where this study took place. To prepare students for this career field, an interprofessional product development project was created. This collaboration, between nutrition and chemical engineering, simulated a product development process. Nutrition students started with product design and then interacted with chemical engineering students to design a system capable of producing of 10 million units per year. Students were provided opportunities for meaningful reflection to enhance development of teamwork and communication skills. This multidisciplinary project provided students with an authentic experience of product development, from concept to shelf. The study objective was to analyze educational effectiveness of a seemingly unrelated collaboration between two disciplines and provide feedback for future courses. A mixed methods approach was used including course surveys and analysis of student reflections. Results indicated that students had a self-reported increase in communication skills, growth in leadership roles, improved decision making, and better understanding of their own and other disciplines. Common themes among students and classes included effective communication, successful collaboration, conflict resolution, diverse perspectives, student expectations, and an understanding of group roles. The findings suggest that the implementation of interprofessional education in college curriculum can effectively expose students to new perspectives and provide a unique avenue to promote skill development. Keywords: Project-based learning, Multidisciplinary, Product development

Item Type: Thesis (Undergraduate)
Creators: Crosby, Caroline Kay
Student's Degree Program(s): B.S. in Dietetics and Nutrition
Thesis Advisor: Georgianna Mann
Thesis Advisor's Department: Dietetics and Nutrition
Institution: The University of Mississippi
Subjects: Q Science > Q Science (General)
T Technology > TA Engineering (General). Civil engineering (General)
Depositing User: Caroline Crosby
Date Deposited: 10 May 2019 19:11
Last Modified: 10 May 2019 19:11

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