Jacqueline Isaacs: Mapping SAIL to Engineering

Isaacs is the College of Engineering’s associate dean for faculty affairs and professor of mechanical and industrial engineering

Want SAIL to feel more concrete? Listen to Jacqueline Isaacs talk about “Environmental Manufacturing and Product Use,” the engineering course she is recasting to reflect SAIL’s learning dimensions.

Learning to self-reflect, students discover their preferences … and how to learn what they don’t know.

Isaacs is the College of Engineering’s associate dean for faculty affairs and professor of mechanical and industrial engineering. She’s also a faculty ambassador for SAIL, helping to pilot the integration of SAIL and share her experiences.

“The course introduces policy, ethics, and social issues alongside emerging technologies,” explains Isaacs. “It asks questions about designing products that have an environmental footprint and how they affect environmental and human health.”

“It demands systems thinking on a global level,” she says, noting that students have to balance the environmental and health impacts against other variables such as cost and materials choices—options that often come with their own set of ramifications.

From there, it’s no great leap to introduce SAIL’s learning dimensions, particularly intellectual agility, global mindset, and social consciousness and commitment.

As a member of COE’s leadership team, Isaacs is also playing a broader role, helping to plan out how the college will make SAIL come to life for all its students. The goal is to align specific freshman and sophomore courses with SAIL’s learning dimensions in this coming academic year, she says, after which advanced courses will have SAIL attributes implemented.

In addition, the SAIL attributes will be introduced at the collegewide fall student leadership retreats for the officers of COE’s 50+ student clubs and teams, which undertake creative design for a variety of projects, service activities, and other professional development opportunities that tend to map to multiple learning dimensions.

Asked what she finds most valuable in Northeastern’s expansive new framework for experiential learning, Isaacs says its appeal, unsurprisingly, is multidimensional: “SAIL helps you appreciate learning beyond just the intellectual and professional.”

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