This is a supplemental section accompanying Dr. Sheppard’s profile.
Avenues for impact in engineering education: Not all the roads are paved
I think it is important to recognize that impact in engineering education can happen at multiple levels and in a variety of ways. It may be through a more traditional faculty path, but even in that, there is a need for flexibility. My Ph.D. student (who graduated in 2014) has had a strategy of showing she can teach traditional mechanical engineering classes, whether that be finite element or solid mechanics. She’s going into an interdisciplinary engineering department, bringing that as well as her scholarship concerning questions about the engineering workforce. She’s finding she has to be flexible about which parts she’s highlighting.
Impact in engineering education can happen in different ways too. For instance, it could be in a center for teaching and learning that’s working on these issues, either at the university level or at a school of engineering level in a staff role. It might also be at the National Science Foundation (NSF) on policy along these lines. Maybe that’s a temporary position as a stepping stone in your career, or maybe it’s a longer-term position.
I think there are also interesting opportunities around how universities and schools of engineering are thinking about the use of technology in teaching and learning. For instance, at Stanford we now have a Vice Provost for Teaching and Learning at the university level. Within the School of Engineering, we also have a new position based on the use of technology. So how could a background in engineering education contribute to how a school or university is designing its use of technology? There are also opportunities around institutional assessment.
It could be useful to think beyond engineering sometimes and ask, “Are there opportunities where I can take what I’ve done in engineering education and think about it at a higher level?” I think it’s important to come into this field recognizing that, even though we might be pioneers in the field, unfortunately we didn’t get all the roads built for you.
This is a supplemental section accompanying Dr. Sheppard’s profile. It provides more detail about her research laboratory at Stanford University, the Designing Education Laboratory.
An eclectic community by design
Another way I have been able to build an engineering education community, in addition to relying on graduate students and faculty colleagues, is within my own research lab here at Stanford. My lab is called the Designing Education Laboratory (DEL). We have really good university support around undergraduate student research. The university funds undergraduate researchers over the summer, so every summer I have two to five undergraduates working in my lab as researchers. A fair number of the undergraduate researchers are also in a sophomore-level Introduction to Solid Mechanics course I teach. I find that these students, after they’ve been through that course, have started to get their head around—a little bit—what it is to be an engineering student. They’ve seen analysis in the course and design projects, too. After that, they invariably have questions about their education.
These students have been a great community with whom to consider what it means to do educational research. They’re often motivated by some aspect of my course that bugged them. They’re excited to think about how to make it better. I pair them up with one of my post-doctoral researchers or one of my Ph.D. students. It becomes a good opportunity for one of those more senior researchers to mentor a more junior researcher. We always have a goal of the undergraduate researchers writing a paper for the American Society for Engineering Education’s annual conference (ASEE). It puts the education bug in their brains, and it’s really a wonderful transformation to watch them go through. They usually start attending my weekly research team meeting and become part of that community, even during the school year.
I also have several master’s students who know they aren’t going to do a Ph.D., but want to do some research while they are here doing their master’s. I have two post-doctoral researchers, several research scientists, and two outside faculty members—one from Penn State and one from Bucknell—who started attending my lab meetings when they were on sabbatical here and continue to join our weekly meeting at least once a month through Skype. So it’s a really pretty weird group.
This is a supplemental section accompanying Dr. Anderson-Rowland’s profile.
Dissemination for replication
Over the years, I’ve written a lot of articles to share the impact of my programs with the broader engineering education community. Someone who read my papers described my main contributions like this: “You try out things, and then you publish them and spread the word right away, and then other people pick up and do it.” Continue reading Mary Anderson-Rowland on “Dissemination for replication” (supplement)
This is a supplemental section accompanying Dr. Anderson-Rowland’s profile. It provides more detail about Academic Success and Professional Development, the course she developed for S-STEM transfer students.
Not hand-holding, but more than academics
As part of the Academic Success and Professional Development course, students are expected to visit each of their professors during their office hours. They are also required to develop a detailed time management schedule. In this course, I teach Donna O. Johnson’s “Guaranteed 4.0 Plan” on learning how to learn. Continue reading Mary Anderson-Rowland on “Not hand-holding, but more than academics” (supplement)
This is a supplemental section accompanying Lueny Morell’s profile. It details her vision of engineering education at New Engineering University at the University of New Haven, where she was Provost & Chief Academic Officer at the time of her interview in 2014.
The icing on the cake
The Learning Factory model, which revamps engineering education, gave me the base for developing a new concept in engineering pedagogy: New Engineering University (NEU). Continue reading Lueny Morell on “The icing on the cake” (supplement)