This is my final letter as ASEE president. In this letter, I would like to comment on five elements of ASEE’s current foundation that will support its future contributions to engineering and engineering technology education.
First, ASEE is a strong and healthy organization with a growing membership and a record attendance at the June 2006 annual meeting. Both its financial health and its increasing membership provide a solid foundation for undertaking future initiatives.
Second, consistent with the reports Rising Above the Gathering Storm and The Engineer of 2020, ASEE has instituted the Year of Dialogue to help chart the future of engineering and engineering technology education. The questions of “what we teach” and “how we teach” and their effects on student learning are foci of the Year of Dialogue. An essential element supporting the Year of Dialogue is research in engineering and engineering technology education as reflected in the new focus from the Journal of Engineering Education on publication of archival papers.
Third, ASEE has initiated a significant activity to engage students considering engineering or engineering technology education through its programs with K-12 teachers and the publication of Engineering, Go for It! ASEE publications and the ASEE Web site provide a vibrant interface for both members and the outside world to learn about engineering and engineering technology careers as well as current ASEE activities.
Fourth, ASEE has initiated strong international collaborations as a founding member of the International Federation of Engineering Education Societies, reflecting the increasing globalization of engineering and engineering technology education.
Fifth, ASEE has served its members and the engineering community by administering fellowship and post-doctoral awards on behalf of government and non-profit organizations. The administration of these awards is supported by grants resulting from competitive proposals and is a reflection of ASEE’s strong connections to the engineering community and its cost-effective and responsive administrative organization.
These five elements position ASEE uniquely to serve its membership and to provide national and international leadership in engineering and engineering technology education. With this foundation, ASEE will focus significant effort on the preparation of a report emanating from the Year of Dialogue discussions, which were held at both the June meeting and at section and zone meetings throughout the year, to help frame the directions for engineering and engineering technology education in the future. While a number of factors driving curriculum and education pedagogy have been addressed in the past few years, partially through ABET guidelines, two elements stand out as requiring considerable future attention and careful thought:
1) How do we truly prepare students to be innovative and creative professionals?
2) How do we prepare students for a global workplace?
ASEE activities in both of these areas have increased significantly in the past few years with a new entrepreneurship division and a rejuvenated international division, both of which provide forums for the exchange of the best ideas and concepts to address these areas in future degree programs. A number of universities have developed excellent programs to address both of these issues; however, for many programs, the challenge of how to engage a significant majority of students in these areas remains. ASEE can play a substantial role in helping to address these important issues in the future.
In closing, I wish to express my sincere appreciation to the members of ASEE, whose vision and energy are driving forces in ASEE’s contributions to education, and to the ASEE staff, who are both professional and strongly committed to supporting the membership.
With a strong foundation in place, ASEE is well-positioned to continue its role in providing future global leadership in engineering and engineering technology education.
David N. Wormley is the president of ASEE and the dean of the College of Engineering at Penn State University.
ASEE members elected Sarah A. Rajala as ASEE President-Elect for 2007-2008. Rajala is Department Head of Electrical and Computer Engineering and James W. Bagley Endowed Chair at Mississippi State University. She will assume the position of ASEE President-Elect at the 2007 Annual Conference and become president the following year.
Full election results for all ASEE offices are as follows:
Sarah A. Rajala (585 votes)
Head, Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering
James W. Bagley Endowed Chair
Mississippi State University
Barbara M. Olds (364 votes)
Associate Vice President for Educational Innovation
Professor of Liberal Arts and International Studies
Colorado School of Mines
Vice President, Finance:
Joseph T. O’Brien ( 837 votes)
University Relations Program Manager
Hewlett-Packard (HP) Co.
Vice President, Public Affairs:
Pat Fox ( 585 votes)
Associate Dean for Administration and Finance
School of Engineering and Technology
Indiana University-Purdue University, Indianapolis (IUPUI)
Ted H. Okiishi (338 votes)
Associate Dean of Engineering
Professor of Mechanical Engineering
Iowa State University
Chair, Professional Interest
Carol Richardson (519 votes)
College of Applied Science and Technology
Rochester Institute of Technology
Joan Gosink (362 votes)
Director of Engineering Division
Colorado School of Mines
Chair, Professional Interest
Jennifer Kadlowec (450 votes)
Mary A. Sadowski (412 votes)
Associate Dean, Undergraduate Programs and Learning
Professor of Computer Graphics
College of Technology
Chair-Elect, Zone II:
Dennis Fallon (258 votes)
Dean, School of Engineering
Louis S. LeTellier Chair
Hossein Mousavinezhad (141 votes)
Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering
Western Michigan University
Chair-Elect, Zone IV:
Brian Self (93 votes)
Professor of Mechanical Engineering
California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo
Walter Loscutoff (67 votes)
Professor of Mechanical Engineering
California State University, Fresno
On Feb. 27 and 28, the Engineering Deans Council (EDC) held its 2007 Public Policy Colloquium, “Engineering Colleges: Critical for America’s Future,” at the National Academy of Engineering (NAE) in Washington, D.C. The university response to a new Congress, America’s national security needs and engineering education’s role in meeting global challenges were the topics of the colloquium, which drew 110 deans from 39 states and Puerto Rico.
Rep. Bart Gordon (D-Tenn.) and Sen. Thad Cochran (R-Miss.) each gave Congressional keynote addresses, and both received the 2007 Engineering Deans Council Appreciation Award for their contributions to national engineering and science policy. William A. Wulf, NAE president, also addressed the deans and received the 2007 Engineering Deans Council Appreciation Award for his contributions to engineering research, education and public policy during his tenure as president from 1996 to 2007. Other speakers included Arden Bement, director of the National Science Foundation, and John J. Young Jr., director of Defense Research and Engineering at the Pentagon.
Rep. Gordon, chairman of the House Committee on Science and Technology, stressed the need to maintain a strong American workforce through “improving [K-12] teacher competence in math and science subject areas…and providing aggressive funding for innovative, out-of-the-box research.” Sen. Cochran, Appropriations Committee ranking minority member, committed himself to “work with the President on his American Competitiveness Initiative and its efforts to increase funding for basic scientific research.”
The colloquium included an S&T budget roundtable with speakers Kei Koizumi, American Association for the Advancement of Science; Tobin Smith, American Association of Universities; and Jeff Mervis, deputy news editor of Science Magazine. On Feb. 28, the deans visited members of Congress and their congressional staff on Capitol Hill. —Spencer B. Potter
The ASEE Nominating Committee, chaired by Most Immediate Past President Ronald E. Barr, requests member participation in nominating board officers for the 2008 ASEE elections. Officers to be nominated for society-wide positions are: president-elect; vice president, member affairs; chair PIC I; chair PIC IV; and chair PIC V.
All nominees must be individual members or institutional-member representatives of ASEE at the time of nomination and must maintain ASEE membership during their term of office. Nominating Committee members are not eligible for nomination. The slate of candidates selected by the committee will not exceed two candidates per office.
Candidates for president-elect must be active members who have served or are serving on the Board of Directors. Candidates for vice president, member affairs shall be chosen from those who have served as zone chairs.
Candidates for chair of the Engineering Technology Council, chair of the Engineering Research Council and chair-elect for Zone I and Zone III will be nominated and selected by their respective councils and zones, as the ASEE constitution stipulates.
For each proposed candidate for a society-wide office, submit a biographical sketch of fewer than 400 words that documents career contributions, ASEE offices held, awards and recognitions received and educational background. Include comments on leadership qualities, ability to cooperate with others to achieve objectives and willingness to serve if elected. A listing of members who meet constitutional eligibility requirements for the offices of president-elect and vice president, member affairs is available from the executive director’s office at ASEE headquarters.
Send nominations in writing, marked confidential, by May 15. For nominations for the office of president-elect, please include an advocacy statement. Mail nominations to Ronald E. Barr, Chair, ASEE Nominating Committee, ASEE, 1818 N Street, N.W., Suite 600, Washington, DC 20036.
In June 2006, ASEE President David Wormley declared this to be “the year of dialogue on the scholarship of engineering education.” From our perspective as two National Science Foundation (NSF) program officers responsible for engineering education efforts, we welcome this dialogue and propose several topics for discussion.
In the past, most NSF programs have focused on curriculum and pedagogical development aimed at reforming the education process. Now, continued progress requires a deeper understanding of the system and how to change it, and thus we need robust research to build the scholarship of discovery around engineering education.
Scholarship includes the identification of precise questions and a systematic approach for answering them; the collection and interpretation of data in a theoretical framework; and the sharing of results with the broader community. Engineering faculty members can approach their activities in this way—whether they are asking fundamental questions about learning, considering more practical questions about learning a particular skill or concept, developing new education products (curriculum and pedagogy) or teaching in their own classroom.
There’s no lack of topics to explore. In October 2006, the Journal of Engineering Education published a special report called “The Research Agenda for the New Discipline of Engineering Education.” Our first suggestion for discussion would build on this by identifying the areas with the most payoff and determining what type of commitments the engineering education community should make in those areas. It’s also necessary to explore methods for bringing together people with the interdisciplinary expertise to make progress on the research agenda and to build capacity within engineering education.
Our second discussion topic would address approaches for getting the engineering education community to adopt a scholarly approach to educational product development. Through the years, NSF has supported a large number of curriculum and pedagogy development efforts. Many of those were undertaken without careful review of past efforts or plans for informative evaluation and aggressive dissemination, leading to repetitive, local and ineffective efforts. Results from research would illuminate our reform efforts and facilitate the transfer of knowledge among schools.
Our third topic would consider mechanisms for establishing a structure for transferring basic research results into educational products that are widely adopted. In industrial development, structures exist for incorporating research results into products and moving them into the marketplace, but unfortunately this is not true of the transfer of engineering education research into accepted practice.
Finally, we would suggest examining methods for helping more faculty members adopt scholarly approaches to their education activities at all levels of engagement. Many engineering faculty members teach as they were taught and remain unaware of the many new and effective approaches that enhance teaching and learning.
Clear opportunities exist for funding research through unsolicited proposals to the NSF’s Engineering Education and Centers Division and through the Faculty Early Career Development (CAREER) programs. The Division of Undergraduate Education’s Course Curriculum and Laboratory Improvement (CCLI) program and the Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics Talent Expansion Program (STEP) offer support for both research and development and the implementation of proven methods.
However, research-based interventions alone are not sufficient because some important limitations are embedded in the higher education system, especially the reward structure. Real progress requires bold, visionary leadership by a critical number of presidents, provosts and deans to sustain the scholarship of engineering education.
Sue Kemnitzer is deputy director of the National Science Foundation’s Division of Engineering and Education Centers. Russell Pimmel is program director in the National Science Foundation’s Division of Undergraduate Education. This discussion represents the ideas of the authors and is not an official position of the National Science Foundation.
More Information: www.asee.org/gcee2007