Taking all findings into account, we then defined our graduate profile to include scientific and engineering knowledge, personal skills, engineering skills, languages, ethics and broad knowledge.
• We divided each skill in the graduate profile into three levels of acquisition (beginner, intermediate and advanced) and then incorporated them into our courses as learning outcomes. This resulted in a continuous educational process during which students acquire the skills.
• Finally, to help achieve these learning outcomes, we created change-inducing platforms that support the adaptation of relevant in-class pedagogy and encourage the formation of extracurricular activities out of class. We also created new learning, teaching and working environments that allow these changes to flourish.
Currently, at Afeka, we are focused on locating tools for evaluating skills in a robust and scalable manner so that student skill levels can be measured after each course, semester and year—and in the future, possibly as an additional admissions criterion for new college candidates.
This unique methodology allowed us to transform the educational process of our students for the purpose of producing graduates that are equipped to thrive in the modern workforce.
I think what we learned from this process can serve other academic institutes interested in transforming their own educational processes.
• First and foremost, aim to understand the importance of defining an engineering graduate profile as a mutually agreed-upon goal by all internal stakeholders to serve as a compass. The process of defining the graduate profile together with the relevant management team leads to a commitment of all involved to reach the desired results. But this is not enough—the entire organization needs to be on board with the process. For this to occur, establishing communities based on mutual interests is crucial. Communities around shared activities and goals provide platforms for exchanging ideas and sharing different approaches to coping with the change process—both at the personal and organizational levels.
• Internal communications are also an important tool in advancing change. Constant communication on the part of the administration, along with clear and consistent interdepartmental and cross-departmental messaging and sharing of successes, help engage faculty and staff and encourage internal initiatives that align with the goals of the change process.
• External collaboration is also a must. Higher education is only one link on the educational continuum. Forming an ecosystem that promotes ongoing dialogue and cooperation between all links—from early education through tertiary and higher education and up to and throughout industry employment—is the basis for a coherent lifelong learning process that improves the output at each link and serves national goals.
• Finally, it is important to keep in mind that this type of systemic change takes years to implement and is an ongoing joint learning process. Encouraging trial and error and embracing failure as part of this learning process will lead to faster and better results in the long run—and will ultimately enable engineering education and higher education as a whole to fulfill the essential objective of meeting the industry’s needs.