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Developing a Model for Integrating Professional Practice and Evidence-Based Teaching Practices into BME Curriculum


Undergraduate biomedical engineering (BME) programs typically consist of courses from several different academic departments combined with BME-specific courses taught by faculty trained in a variety of disciplines. While some students embrace this diversity in courses and disciplinary perspectives, many students struggle with how to translate these experiences into career opportunities. BME students are often concerned that they are perceived as a “jack of all trades, master of none.” In 2016, our department sought to find new ways to integrate BME professional practice into our curriculum. Informed by organizational change theory, we asked: (1) is there potential for change; (2) what strategies facilitate change; and (3) how can these strategies be implemented? As a result, we developed an Instructional Design Sequence, a new approach to instruction in which students, post docs, and faculty create short Modules that use evidence-based teaching practices to expose BME students to BME professional practice. This paper describes how the Sequence was conceptualized and demonstrates how theory can be used to inform practice. The resultant Sequence is a transferrable model for transforming engineering education, offering a mechanism for integrating new career relevant curriculum into undergraduate curriculum, while training future educators in instructional evidence-based practices.

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The authors would like to thank Charles Henderson and Julie Libarkin for their thoughtful feedback in the process of strategizing how to approach instructional change. The authors would also like to thank Jaqueline Handley for her contributions to the initial implementation of the Incubator. The Instructional Design Sequence is now funded by NSF-EEC-1825669. Finally, the authors would like to thank the BME community, students, faculty, alumni and advisors for engaging in the process of identifying a change strategy.

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Correspondence to Aileen Huang-Saad.

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Associate Editor Stefan M. Duma oversaw the review of this article.

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Huang-Saad, A., Stegemann, J. & Shea, L. Developing a Model for Integrating Professional Practice and Evidence-Based Teaching Practices into BME Curriculum. Ann Biomed Eng 48, 881–892 (2020).

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  • Undergraduate education
  • Biomedical engineering
  • Organizational change
  • Professional formation