An X-team is a new strategy for managing courses and faculty based on a cross-functional, collaborative instructional model for course design and professional formation pedagogy (PFP). It is comprised of ECE faculty, at least one engineering education and/or design faculty member, at least one industry practitioner, context experts, instructional specialists, and graduate and/or undergraduate teaching assistants, for a typical team size of 6-10 members. Its purpose is to redesign a course (specifically a second- or third-year core ECE course) based on PFP evidence-based practices and design thinking. The X-team design thinking process includes the following stages: discovery, interpretation, ideation, experimentation, and evolution.
A Y-circle is a community of practice in the department for facilitating change and fostering innovation. It is based around the question “Why?” in order to support using research to inform instructional practices, stimulate a socio-technical context in engineering, and foster motivation, inspiration, and innovation. A Y-circle is made up of X-team members, department faculty members, postdocs, academic advisers and other interested staff, and undergraduate and graduate students, and is formed around a specific goal. Such a goal could be related to an X-team practice, a tricky topic, or change process findings.