On April 9, 2004, Purdue’s Board of Trustees approved the creation of the School of Engineering Education—the world’s first such academic unit—and ENE embarked on a journey that’s been intense but profoundly rewarding. As we pause to mark the occasion of ENE’s fifth anniversary, we’d like to share some highlights of this remarkable first chapter in the life of our school:
· The Department of Freshman Engineering became the First-Year Engineering Program, which now has a transformed curriculum—aligned with the “Purdue Engineer of 2020” paradigm—that will integrate seamlessly with the Ideas to Innovation (I2I) Learning Laboratory. This state-of-the-art facility (and companion classroom), which opened in Fall 2008, puts design, problem-solving, and teamwork at the heart of engineering education for first-year students.
· The Division of Interdisciplinary Engineering became a two-part undergraduate program, offering the BS—through Interdisciplinary Engineering Studies—to students who don’t wish to pursue engineering (e.g., pre-med students) and the BSE—through the Multidisciplinary Engineering Program—to students who do. MDE, which offers an array of concentrations including integrated engineering, received ABET accreditation last year.
· ENE launched the world’s first PhD program in engineering education and saw its first student, Tamara Moore, receive her degree in 2006. ENE now enrolls 31 PhD students and has graduated six, all of whom have positions in academia or the non-profit sector. The growth of the program and successful placement of our graduates has demonstrated the viability of a PhD program in engineering education, and our students regularly receive honors and recognition for excellence in scholarship. One example: just this year, four of seven ASEE-ERM Apprentice Faculty Grants awarded went to ENE recipients.
· In 2006, ENE created INSPIRE, the Institute for P-12 Engineering Research and Learning—first of its kind in combining research on childhood learning of engineering with outreach to teachers. More than 200 PreK- to 6th-grade teachers have participated in INSPIRE’s Summer Academies, and more than 5,860 elementary students have been impacted.
· Our faculty size has grown to 21. ENE is home to a critical mass of nationally and internationally recognized faculty whose scholarly work is guiding how Purdue and, eventually, other institutions educate engineering learners at every segment of the PreK-through-PhD continuum. ENE faculty are prominent voices driving the national dialogue on engineering education, having contributed significantly to ASEE’s Year of Dialogue, the 2006 NSF-sponsored Engineering Education Research Colloquies, the 2008 Research in Engineering Education Symposium, and the 2009 NSF-sponsored symposium Creating Engineering Education Opportunities: Why and How?
· Research activities increased by more than 1200% in 2007-08 compared to 2003-04, for an all-time high of $5 million. One indicator of the quality of ENE’s scholarly contributions: ENE faculty members received the 2006, 2007, and 2008 Wickenden Awards from the Journal of Engineering Education for best paper.
· ENE has developed three thriving advisory boards—the Engineering Education Industrial Advisory Council, the Engineering Education Academic Advisory Council, and the INSPIRE Advisory Board—through which we engage with colleagues external to Purdue.
· ENE launched the Engineering Education Outstanding Alumni Awards, honoring five distinguished recipients in February 2009.
· ENE has created its first strategic plan, for 2009-14. Our vision: A more inclusive, socially connected, and scholarly engineering education. Our mission: Transforming engineering education based on scholarship and research.
These accomplishments—and many others—reflect the dedication and best efforts of our faculty, staff, students, alumni, colleagues, and friends.