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ENE Memo: January 30, 2012

From the Head: 1/30

Back to the Future

Historically, Purdue has had an enviable reputation for creating leading textbooks across the various engineering disciplines. This is one of the rich traditions of Purdue Engineering, part of our proud heritage of educating grounded engineers who have an awesome reputation in industry. As we move from the industrial age and face the more complex, global challenges of our time, the practice of engineering and the education of engineers are less straightforward and much more nuanced. During this critical transition, we need not only subject matter textbooks appropriate to the times but also penetrating scholarship and research that can guide the practice of engineering education during this period of flux and uncertainty.

In this spirit, Purdue University Press has just published Engineering and Social Justice : In the University and Beyond, co-edited by Alice Pawley, with Caroline Baillie and Donna Riley. The book has chapters by many ENE faculty and graduate students. The origins of this book go back to a workshop held at Purdue, supported by our founding head, Kamyar Haghighi. My hope is that this will be one of many scholarly books that arise out of ENE in the coming years, which challenge conventional wisdom and thereby push at the boundaries of our understanding of engineering and education and engineering education.

In that same spirit, other members of our community have been challenging engineering education pedagogies and looking at ways to teach the essential professional skills for current and future engineers. This has resulted in a growing number of books published over recent years, based on educational initiatives at Purdue and beyond. Authors include Heidi Diefes-Dux, who co-edited Models and Modeling in Engineering Education; Bill Oakes, who co-authored Service Learning: Engineering Your Community; Johannes Strobel, who co-edited Model-Based Approaches to Learning; Karl Smith, who wrote Teamwork and Project Management with PK Imbrie; and Matt Ohland, who co-authored Thinking Like an Engineer: An Active Learning Approach. These diverse contributions continue a long tradition in Freshman Engineering and the Interdisciplinary Engineering program (the precursors of ENE): that of research-informed scholarship on teaching and learning, exemplified by Teaching Engineering, co-authored by Phil Wankat. 

These are all pioneering efforts of what I believe will become one of the defining features of our school: collected scholarly works that promote cutting-edge ideas and propel the debate forward as we re-imagine engineering education globally. This aligns with one of our strategic goals , i.e. “publish a series of ‘pathfinder’ books (plus accompanying Web 2.0 resources) that define the state of knowledge and emerging ideas in engineering education in a way that cuts across the traditional lifecycle view of engineering education (i.e., P-12, baccalaureate, graduate, continuing professional development). Such pathfinder books can be not only empowering, game-changing resources for the community at large but also strategic vehicles that cause us to work together to co-create something of lasting value that is much bigger than any one of us. 

Whether these pathfinder books are produced in print form, as ePubs, in web-based  form, or as apps, they continue the proud Purdue tradition of being a leader in engineering education, and they are also a practical manifestation of the transformational potential envisioned by those who created our school.


News and Information: 1/30

Newly Published: Engineering and Social Justice: In the University and Beyond

Just published by Purdue University Press in hardback form, Engineering and Social Justice: In the University and Beyond was edited by our own Alice Pawley, along with Caroline Baillie and Donna Riley, and includes a number of ENE faculty, staff, and graduate students among its contributing authors. A summary of ENE participants:

Karl Smith: Foreword: "Reflections on engineering and social justice in teaching, learning, and research"

Alice Pawley et al.: Introduction: "In the university and beyond"

Monica Cardella, Carla Zoltowski, Bill Oakes: Chapter 1: "Developing human-centered design practices and perspectives through service learning"

George Ricco, Matt Ohland: Chapter 2: "An ethnographic study of social justice themes in engineering education"

Alice Pawley: Chapter 3: "What counts as 'engineering'?: Toward a redefinition"

Michele Strutz, Matt Ohland, et al.: Chapter 7: "Low socioeconomic status individuals: An invisible minority in engineering"

Matt Ohland, Russell Long, et al.: Chapter 8: "Viewing access and persistence in engineering through a socioeconomic lens"

Learn about Changes to Blackboard

During this semester, ITaP educational technologists will offer information and demonstrate some of the features of Blackboard Learn 9.1. They will gradually offer training and testing in the new system during 2012. They will also discuss overall status and feedback from faculty who have been involved in the Learn pilots during the 2011-2012 academic year.
Next session is Jan 31, from 1:30 to 2:30 p.m

Independence and National Days around the World

  • Jan 31 - Nauru – National Day
  • Feb 4 - Sri Lanka - Independence Commemoration Day

Calendar: 1/30

Spring 2012

Kudos: 1/30 Alice Pawley, Monica Cardella, Russell Long, Bill Oakes, Matt Ohland, George Ricco, Karl Smith, Michele Strutz, and Carla Zoltowski on the publication of Engineering and Social Justice: In the University and Beyond (Purdue University Press). For details, see "News and Information."

To suggest content for future issues of ENE Memo, contact David Radcliffe or Lisa Tally by midday Friday for the following week's issue.