In 2009, Creighton University received a federal grant to create a program in Energy Technology. In the early stages of the program’s development, Dean Robert Lueger asked Professor Michael Cherney whether he knew anything about Olin’s innovative approach toward Olin. In fact he did as his son, Raphael, was currently a student at the college. After attending a Summer Institute workshop, Creighton engaged Olin faculty as consultants to work with the University during the 18 months leading up to the program's launch. Cherney hired an Olin grad, Tess Edmonds, as the assistant director for the program. Below is a testimony from a Creighton faculty member teaching students in the new Energy Technology program.
Barbara Dilly, Professor of Sociology, Anthropology and Social Work, Creighton University
I had a powerful experience in my intro class this morning confirming the success of the new Energy Technology Program. Brianna Baca (our first graduate from the program this year) spoke to the class about the program. She was articulate and passionate about how much she valued her experience. She spoke mostly about the value of team-based learning and team-based teaching. She said the process helped her feel more confident to tackle difficult problems and to embrace her future in terms of unknowns and a commitment to life-long learning.
Fellow student, Steven Maytum, responded to her comments with strong emotion. He said that he would not have been able to master all of the math and physics in the course without the teams. He was motivated to do what he had to do because he liked the hands-on experience but he was able to do it because other students in the team helped him while he helped them with what was difficult for them.
Several students in the class (mostly freshmen) also commented on how difficult Creighton is compared to high school, which they found to be easy. They said that their fears of academic failure often move them away from thinking they can make a difference in the world. We had a great discussion about that and how we can all work together to encourage each other to take on difficult issues, regardless of their majors.
From my perspective, having Energy Tech students in my classes allows me to call attention to the fact that Creighton is responding to some real needs in our society in a concrete way. We need more programs like this. The program is not only giving students a skill set and a way to see the world, it is giving them confidence.