Announcing the 2022 Olin College Summer Institute!


We are pleased to announce that the 2022 Olin College Summer Institute will take place in a new remote format the week of June 13–17, 2022.

The Summer Institute has provided participants from around the country and around the world with the opportunity to conceive and catalyze change in engineering education. Past attendees have included new and experienced faculty members, institutional leaders, professional staff, and students.

In recent years, the Summer Institute has been a weeklong interactive workshop exclusively for teams of educators. This year, in response to your requests, we are excited to offer the opportunity for both individuals and groups to engage with us.

All are invited to join us virtually June 13–15 for a set of three Foundation Workshops. Through interactive presentations and immersive exercises, participants will discover, experience, and practice effective, engaging approaches for designing student-centered learning experiences. Workshop topics are as follows:

Monday, June 13:  Participatory Design
Faculty Facilitators: Tim Ferguson Sauder, Lynn Andrea SteinSara Hendren

Involving students in the design of their own educational experiences can improve classes, motivate students and result in a more fair and just experience for everyone in the classroom. This is the power of participatory design — designing WITH and not just FOR stakeholders — in education. In this workshop, we will overview the student-centered design process used to create educational experiences at Olin and give you a chance to “try out” the first steps of that process. We will step through exercises together, organizing observations to create understandings and insights that can guide our design of educational experiences. Attendees will follow along as a team of Olin students works through this process on screen and discusses their evolving work with the presenters. Participants will then have an opportunity to apply these tools to a project at their own institution.

Tuesday, June 14:  A Goal-Driven Approach to Projects
Faculty Facilitators: Jean Huang, Rob Martello, Steve Matsumoto

In this workshop participants will learn frameworks, tools, and examples to aid the development of courses and project-based learning experiences, using cases and examples from the Olin curriculum.  We will work with the “GAPA” (Goals, Activities, Products, Assessments) framework as a suggested model for curricular change efforts, large and small, and apply design tools and frameworks towards development of curricular projects at your own institution.

Wednesday, June 15:  Student and Faculty Assessment
Faculty Facilitators: Joanne Pratt, Jessica Townsend, Alessandra Ferzoco

When we teach, we seek to make students’ thinking visible to both instructors and themselves in order to assist learning and to measure progress towards achievement of learning goals. In an innovative engineering or STEM curriculum, assessment of student learning must incorporate learning modalities including projects, teaming, and hands-on work. We will introduce a framework for assessment, with a rich set of examples and case studies from the Olin curriculum, to show how student assessment is integrated into the design of the student experience. We will also provide an adaptation of the framework to faculty development and assessment with a look at Olin’s faculty assessment system.


After each workshop, participants will engage asynchronously with materials created to further explore the workshop topics, including individual assignments, group discussion prompts, and optional team challenge activities. The registration fee for these three days is $1,500 per person.


On June 16 and 17, we will offer a selection of half-day Focus Workshops. The topics for these intensive explorations are below.

Thursday, June 16:

How to Critique
Faculty Facilitator: Tim Ferguson Sauder
We’ll explore and try out resources designed to help people give and receive effective critique in order to improve their work, their process and their workplace. We’ll also look at examples and discuss how to introduce critique into a class or studio. 


Using Computation to Teach Everything Else
Faculty Facilitator: Allen Downey

Programming is not just a way of translating well understood ideas into code; it is a tool for communicating, teaching, learning, and thinking.  Students with basic programming skills can use coding as a "pedagogic lever" to learn other topics in  engineering, math, natural and social science, arts and humanities. In this workshop we explore eight ways to use computation in the STEM curriculum and beyond.  We present examples from Olin and other colleges; participants report on their current activities and design new experiences, classes, and curriculums.  We'll discuss the challenges of implementing computation-based activities and suggest practices for overcoming them. 

Friday, June 17:

Projects with Purpose: Telling Stories About Why You Care
Faculty Facilitator: Gillian Epstein
Olin is increasingly focused on ways to explore and share both personal and institutional values to expand the impact of our work. This workshop offers creative, scaffolded ways for participants to access and distill why they care about their professional practice. Participants will leave with a compelling story about their personal stakes in an individual or team project, as well as with prompts and tools to help colleagues and students do the same.


Designing Activities for Student Engagement in Quantitative Engineering Courses
Faculty Facilitators: 
Jeff DusekSam Michalka
In the first few semesters of the Olin curriculum, students are introduced to foundational quantitative engineering concepts through a set of interdisciplinary modules focused on a specific project, and supported through a series of learning activities. In this workshop, we will share specific, actionable examples of exercises and projects using student-collected data to introduce important skills in linear algebra, statistics, mechanics, and signal processing. Workshop participants will engage with materials from these courses and discuss approaches and challenges in helping students build both foundational knowledge, and lifelong learning skills.


You can enroll in the entire week of Foundation and Focus Workshops for $2,000.
Individual Focus Workshops are $300 each.

Registration and payment in advance is required. Registrations will be accepted as space allows. If you have questions or need more information, please email us at

Summer Institute Highlights

See how participants experienced the on-campus program, which consists of participatory workshops, immersive design exercises, and presentations from faculty.

“Experience was even better than my high expectations.”

- Summer Institute participant feedback