Message - Is There a Role for ASEE in K-12 Education?
Gerald S. Jakubowski
surprise that K-12 education is receiving a tremendous amount of attention
these days. Improving education, especially in science and mathematics,
is a high priority for the Bush administration, for most states, and
for school districts across the nation.
are many good reasons that K-12 science and math have grabbed the spotlight.
The future of our nation depends upon having a good supply of scientists
and engineers. Technological innovations generate a vast array of benefits,
including improved products and services, a higher standard of living,
and economic and military security. Technological creativity allows
American companies to compete effectively and efficiently in the global
marketplace. But the United States is currently unable to produce the
numbers of scientists and engineers that are needed. To fill jobs requiring
technical expertise, American companies have had to rely more and more
on foreign-born workers. In just the last three years, the number of
H-1B visas issued has risen from 65,000 to 195,000. At the same time,
U.S. students continue to fall further and further behind in science
and mathematics in comparison with students in other countries. Nearly
20 years of efforts to improve K-12 science and mathematics education
have failed to yield significant results.
United States does not start closing the gap in student achievement
in science and mathematics, the country runs the risk of becoming seriously
disadvantaged in the worldwide economy. For those of us who teach engineering
and technology at the college level, we see two things that result from
failures to improve K-12 science and mathematics education. First, many
students who want to pursue careers in engineering and technology are
ill-prepared for science- and mathematics-based subjects when they enter
college, which, in turn, leads to a higher dropout rate. Second, because
K-12 students aren't well taught in science and mathematics, some of
the best and brightest who potentially have the talent are eliminated
from even considering pursuing engineering and technology degrees when
they enter college. In both cases, precious human and institutional
resources are squandered.
professional organizationsincluding engineering societiesand
even individual citizens have initiated programs to help improve the
situation. Additional financial resources have been directed to K-12
programs; local and national student design competitions have been organized,
student contests have been established, scholarships have been awarded.
The list goes on and on. Everybody claims success in their programs.
However, most success stories are anecdotal and little true assessment,
if any, has been used in measuring the effectiveness of these many programs.
where ASEE can play an important role. ASEE is launching an organization
that would identify and publicize programs among higher education, pre-college,
governmental, and private-sector stakeholders that most effectively
improve achievement in K-12 science and mathematics education. This
initiative will be called the ASEE Center for Best Practices in K-12
Science and Math Education. Through the center, ASEE will identify programs
that are working to improve K-12 science and mathematics education and
will conduct research to assess measures of effectiveness of these outreach
programs. The goals of ASEE's research will be to:
a comprehensive inventory of K-12 science and mathematics education
common performance measures for these programs;
an assessment methodology that correlates these performance measures
to the stated goals and objectives of the programs;
out benchmark assessments for a selection of programs using these
performance metrics and assessment methodology available to all outreach
programs so that program managers can perform assessments of their
the opportunity to all those who sponsor K-12 outreach programs to
have an exchange of ideas.
can imagine, the above tasks will require a tremendous effort on the
part of ASEE. However, ASEE intends on easing into it gradually by focusing
initially on K-12 programs currently being offered by universities.
As a matter of fact, ASEE has already started compiling an inventory
of K-12 science and mathematics education outreach programs in ASEE
member schools. ASEE is hoping to determine how the programs are assessing
and measuring the effectiveness of their programs, to identify those
programs that have had the greatest amount of success in improving K-12
science and mathematics programs, and to ascertain whether there are
common factors among those programs that have been identified as being
most successful. This information will then be shared in order to allow
participants to make improvements in their individual programs, to encourage
future collaborations, and to spark new approaches in constructing and
implementing new programs.
improvements in K-12 science and mathematics education are important
to engineering and technology education, it is in the best interest
of ASEE to get involved. We need to take a proactive role in helping
to improve K-12 science and mathematics education. I ask for your support
of this initiative to develop this Center for Best Practices in K-12
Science and Math Education. I also seek your input, comments, and suggestions
regarding our proposed efforts.
Student Chapter Leader to Faculty Member
professors are drawn from the ranks of current engineering graduate students.
Training in research, often focused on an emerging technical field, is
the primary preparation a future faculty member receives during his or
her doctoral studies. There is no doubt that building a successful research
program is tantamount to a successful career as an engineering professor.
Nonetheless, as in any complex profession, engineering faculty must address
a diversity of requirements and issues. Effective teaching, service to
professional societies, advising, and student mentoring are among these.
past several years, ASEE has fostered the development of graduate student
chapters at a number of universities. One of the founding objectives of
ASEE student chapters was to encourage and prepare engineering graduate
students for careers in academia. As the first wave of student chapter
leaders complete their Ph.D. degrees, the realization of this fundamental
objective seems to be coming true. Here are some of their stories.
Yen is an assistant professor of industrial engineering at the University
of Washington in Seattle, where she teaches probability and statistics
courses and conducts research on complex decision making in the presence
of uncertainty. Yen says that her affiliation with ASEE as a graduate
student "gave me an opportunity for professional development beyond
research. I greatly enjoyed interacting with other students who have
an interest in teaching and who are concerned about professional development."
Yen has continued this interest in teaching as a faculty member, and
she also attended the National Effective Teaching Institute this past
Don Visco is an assistant professor of chemical engineering at
Tennessee Tech University, where he teaches introduction to chemical
engineering, applied mathematics, and advanced chemical thermodynamics
courses. Visco was the founding president of the ASEE student chapter
at the State University of New York at Buffalo and remains interested
in ASEE as a faculty member. He is co-author of a paper on ASEE student
chapters that appeared in the October 2001 issue of the Journal of Engineering
Education. Visco states that "by reading the various ASEE journals
and attending the national ASEE meetings, I can get cutting edge information
on teaching techniques, including what is working and isn't working
inside the classroom. Such practical knowledge enables me to be a more
efficient and effective educator." Visco's research interests are
in thermodynamics modeling, molecular simulation, and bioinformatics.
Razatos is assistant professor of chemical engineering at Arizona
State University. She teaches courses in chemical processing, kinetics,
and reactor design and conducts research in the emerging field of biochemical
engineering. Razatos says, "I feel that the ASEE student chapter
was helpful in my decision to pursue a career in academia. Through various
activities like panel discussions and brown bag lunches, I found out
what was expected of an assistant professor. ASEE student chapter activities
helped me draft my application packet and prepare for interviews. Having
participated on the other side of the interview process now, I can't
emphasize enough how important it is for applicants to be prepared and
Oakes is an assistant professor in the department of freshman engineering
at Purdue University. After more than five years in industry, Oakes
made the decision to return to school and pursue a Ph.D. with the intent
to enter an academic career. He says that the "ASEE student chapter
hosted programs that brought faculty from different schools to campus
where they could share their perspectives about their own local institutions.
The reality is that there are a very wide range of opportunities available
to engineering educators." Oakes's teaching interests are in freshman
engineering courses and service learning courses within engineering.
He is a key faculty member in the Engineering Projects in Community
Service (EPICS) program at Purdue as well as the National EPICS Program.
Maynard will be an assistant professor of chemical engineering at
the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities, starting in 2003 after she
completes a postdoctoral position. As a student chapter leader, she
reports that "participation in the ASEE student chapter has been
absolutely essential to my career decisionsit is through ASEE
that I have truly learned what is expected of today's engineering professors."
She also "finds Prism to be helpful for teaching suggestions (I
have a file in which I save my favorites), and for providing perspectives
on today's engineering undergrads." Maynard's research interests
are biotechnology and biomedical engineering in a chemical engineering
context. As part of her teaching style, she plans to "incorporate
hands-on activities (and biology) as much as possible into traditional
Matsumoto is an assistant professor of civil engineering at California
State University at Sacramento, where he teaches courses on structural
concrete design and conducts research on pre-cast concrete bridge systems.
Eric was the founding president of the ASEE student chapter at the University
of Texas at Austin. "Before committing myself to the doctoral program
at UT, I attended the 1996 ASEE National Conference with the goal of
finding out if academia was really for me. I wanted to see if engineering
faculty were genuinely dedicated to education, in addition to research.
I was pleasantly surprised," he says. Matsumoto is currently active
in the civil engineering division of ASEE. "The greatest benefit
has been the opportunity to publish in ASEE conference proceedings,
which is valued at my university, he says. Participation
at the national conference this past summer was a refreshing and stimulating
Kadlowec is an assistant professor in the department of mechanical
engineering at Rowan University, New Jersey, where she teaches mechanics
courses and conducts research on the mechanical behavior of elastomer
materials. She says: "I enrolled in the Ph.D. program wanting to
become a college professor. Participation in a various chapter events,
national conferences, and working with others in the ASEE chapter at
the University of Michigan helped me in achieving this goal. I believe
that my involvement as an officer in the student chapter helped me jump-start
my involvement in ASEE at the national level. I'm currently involved
with the ERM and mechanics divisions and have written several papers."
Kadlowec also attended the National Effective Teaching Institute at
the 2000 ASEE national conference.
Gray will be an assistant professor of chemical engineering at Johns
Hopkins University in the fall of 2002. His research interests are in
protein interactions, nanostructured materials, and structure formation
in colloidal systems. Gray found that ASEE student chapter involvement
was very useful during his academic interviews: "I was able to
discuss concepts like active and cooperative learning, and various issues
of diversity in engineering. Having ASEE on my résumé
let schools know that I am serious about education, academia, and teaching.
This was important to most of the schools where I interviewed. In fact,
when discussion came around to ASEE and teaching issues, I could immediately
judge the department's philosophy on teaching, and whether the department
was suitable for me."
This Student Chapter Update was inspired by two papers 1,2 presented at
the 2001 ASEE Annual Conference. Comments about this article can be forwarded
to Ronald E. Barr, ASEE Vice President of Member Affairs, at his email
J., DeGoede, K., Harding, T., and Lorenz, C.: "ASEE Student Chapters:
From Student Members to Faculty," Proceedings of the 2001 American
Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference, Albuquerque, N.M.,
Z., Finley, C., Tsurikov, M., Rijken, P., Mahadevan, J., Ulloa, F., and
Barr, R.: "The Role of the ASEE Student Chapter in the Making
of a Professor: A Case Study of UT-Austin," Proceedings of the 2001
American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference, Albuquerque,
N.M., June 2001.
Barr is professor of mechanical engineering at the University of Texas
at Austin. He can be reached at email@example.com.
International Conference on Offshore Mechanics and Arctic Engineering
(OMAE) will be held June 23-28, 2002, in Oslo, Norway. The Ocean,
Offshore, and Arctic Engineering Division of the American Society of
Mechanical Engineers as well as The Norwegian Society of Chartered Engineers
will organize the conference. Topics covered by the conference will
include: offshore technology safety and reliability materials technology,
pipeline technology, ocean space utilization, ocean engineering, polar
and arctic sciences and technology.
for more information.
10-12, 2002, the Society for Experimental Mechanics will host the 2002
SEM Annual Conference & Exposition on Experimental and Applied Mechanics
in Milwaukee, Wis. The conference's theme will be "Measurements
in Advanced Materials and Systems." The various tracks of the conference
will include "Measurements and Models for Nano-structured Materials
and Systems," "Biologically Inspired and Multi-functional
Material Systems," "Experimental Measurements in a Computational
Environment," and "Experimental and Applied Mechanics."
A concurrent symposium entitled "MEMS: Mechanics and Measurements"
also will be held during the conference. For more information visit
ASEE's projects department continues to evolve, manager Michael Moore
is exploring a number of new approaches.
N Street in Washington D.C., the daily activities of ASEE are carried
out on behalf of its members. To help facilitate a better understanding
of what actually goes on at society headquarters, ASEE Today will periodically
feature the various people and departments that make up the organization.
This month, Inside ASEE takes a look at the projects department headed
by Michael Moore.
projects department has come a long way since its birth almost 40 years
ago. At its inception in 1964, the department was created to help manage
the NASA summer faculty fellowship. Since that time, the activities
and goals of the department have greatly broadened. The department now
oversees the Office of Naval Research (ONR) Summer Faculty Research
Program, postdoctoral fellowships for the Army Research Laboratory and
Office of Naval Research, as well as graduate fellowships such as the
National Defense Science and Engineering Graduate Fellowship (NDSEG)
and the Helen T. Carr Fellowship. The projects department is also responsible
for the day-to-day management of Tau Alpha Pi, the national honor society
for engineering technology.
from a focus on faculty-based fellowship programs to one that also embraces
programs for engineering students and postdoctoral research reflects
the department's increasingly comprehensive philosophy. "One of
our main goals is to diversify our programs and to promote engineering
education at all levels," says department manager Michael Moore.
Programs such as the ONR Summer Faculty Research Program give educators
the opportunity to increase their knowledge base and use state-of-the-art
facilities they may not have access to otherwise. It can also aid them
in research. In addition, these faculty development programs can be
beneficial to students who can learn from their teachers' new experiences.
programs such as NDSEG, the projects department seeks to encourage students
to continue their engineering education through graduate school. The
rationale behind this, says Moore, is that "with more engineering
students acquiring graduate degrees, there will be more innovative and
groundbreaking research conducted at the highest levels." By promoting
the development of engineering education at the faculty and student
levels, the projects department hopes to further the quality of teaching
as well as innovation and knowledge at the professional level.
present time, they have a number of projects in the works. In February,
the department will facilitate candidate reviews and recommendations
for the NDSEG fellowship, granted to roughly 200 students pursuing graduate
degrees in science and engineering. In addition, the department is working
in conjunction with NASA to develop a new internship Web site which
will be located at www.tech-interns.com.
The Web site will be a searchable database of internship opportunities
for students in science and engineering.
also is exploring various new marketing techniques, including visits
to college campuses to promote its programs. One program that Moore
is especially interested in promoting is Tau Alpha Pi. While the engineering
technology honors society currently consists of just under 100 schools,
there are close to 150 more TAC/ABET accredited schools eligible for
membership in the society. In the future, Moore hopes to "expand
the services we provide both to ASEE's members and to the broader engineering
community, and the projects department is constantly on the lookout
for new ways to reach that goal."
interim dean at West Virginia University's College of Engineering and
Mineral Resources, Eugene Cilento, has now accepted the permanent
deanship of the program. The 22-year chemical engineering professor
has served as interim dean since July 2000 and was offered the deanship
following a national search. Since 1979, Cilento has been a faculty
member in the department of chemical engineering and was department
chairman from 1988-1989. He also has been a research professor in the
school of medicine's department of anatomy since 1978.
of Nevada, Las Vegas, recently appointed two new associate deans to
its Howard R. Hughes College of Engineering. Ken Fridley is the new
associate dean of research and information technology and Barbara Luke
is the new associate dean for undergraduate programs and assessment.
Fridley served on the faculty at Purdue University, the University of
Oklahoma, and most recently, Washington State University prior to his
recent appointment at UNLV. Luke has been a faculty member in the department
of civil and environmental engineering since her arrival at UNLV in
1995 and directs the engineering geophysics laboratory.
A&M University professor of nuclear engineering, John W. Poston
Sr., has been named a Fellow of the American Association for the
Advancement of Science (AAAS). With this honor, Poston is being recognized
for his contributions to the health and safety of the public and employees
associated with the nuclear industry. From 1988 to 1998, Poston headed
the department of nuclear engineering at Texas A&M. Poston has helped
to develop the radiological health engineering program, which combines
engineering and nuclear engineering with safety engineering and radiation
protection. He has contributed to the Health Protection Engineering
Program, designed to produce graduate engineers who can work more effectively
in the current nuclear industry environment.
Graduate, and Undergraduate Research Opportunities
of research opportunities are available through the Oak Ridge Institute
for Science and Education. Here is a brief listing and description of
some of their programs:
U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Faculty Research Participation Program
DOE's faculty research program is held at a number of sites including
the Oak Ridge National Laboratory in Oak Ridge, Tenn., the Savannah
River Site in Aiken, S.C., and the National Energy Technology Laboratories
in Pittsburgh, Pa. and Morgantown, W.Va. Participants at each location
conduct collaborative research during 10-12 week summer appointments.
The programs provide opportunities for faculty members to gain experience
and knowledge they can incorporate into the curricula at their home
campuses. Research areas include computer sciences, engineering, environmental
life sciences, mathematics/statistics, physical and earth sciences,
and material sciences. The deadline for applications for sabbatical
leave and summer appointments is February 1, 2002. The deadline for
part-time appointments is two months prior to the desired starting date.
for more information.
Industrial Materials (AIM) Program Graduate Fellowships
The AIM Graduate Fellowship Program is open to undergraduate seniors
or first year graduate students enrolled in or intending to enroll in
one of the following disciplines: materials science, materials engineering,
metallurgical engineering, or ceramic engineering. Awards are for two
years and include a monthly stipend and tuition payment of up to $6,000
per year. The deadline to apply is February 29, 2002. Visit www.orau.gov/orise/edu/uggrad/aim.htm
for more information.
River Site (SRS) Postgraduate Research Participation Program
Through hands-on research opportunities, participants work with SRS
scientists and engineers to solve real world problems. Areas of research
include: environmental technologies, hydrogen technologies, and advanced
sensor systems, as well as robotics and remote engineered systems. Applications
are accepted on a year-round basis. Visit www.orau.gov/orise/edu/postgrad/pgsrs.htm
for more information.
Research Experience and Professional Internship Program at Oak Ridge
These programs are designed to provide practical, hands-on experience
for undergraduates, recent graduates, and graduate students majoring
in science, engineering, and mathematics. Program participants are assigned
individual projects that relate to their academic majors, their career
goals, and the ongoing research missions of the facilities. The application
deadlines are February 1, June 1, and October 1 for each program. Visit
for paid research information.
for more information regarding paid internships.