Wow – where to start? We’ll keep it to 5 suggestions.
First, we would advise other departments considering this model to do their homework. First, speak with representatives from other departments who have successfully integrated an EDGE program into their curriculum. There is no need to reinvent the wheel – learn from others’ mistakes and successes.
Second, be open to change and be willing to be flexible. You will be asking the same of your students so you will have to model those traits.
Third, make sure that at least the majority of the department’s faculty members are on board with the concept. Related, do not expect all faculty to teach in the EDGE semester – some will have the necessary skills to do so, others will not – use faculty members’ skills wisely. However, buy-in is a must, otherwise students will feel conflicted between faculty praising it and faculty badmouthing it. Success takes the support of the entire faculty as workloads will shift (not necessarily grow or contract, but definitely shift) and priorities will follow. Ultimately, without the support of everyone the program simply cannot work.
Fourth, be clear on what you need and ask for what you need. This is not the time to be shrinking violets – if you can garner the support of administrators, use it to your advantage. What you need can range from classroom space to graduate students (invaluable!!) to lab fees – regardless of what it is, think through this carefully to ensure the best chance for success.
And finally, throw all preconceived notions of what education “should” look like out the window and focus on what it “can” look like.