Skip navigation

ENE Memo: November 16, 2015

From the Head: 11/16/2015

Where to from here?

You never know what the future holds. On November 17, 2005, I gave my first lecture at Purdue. It was to first-year engineers in an ENGR 103 class and the title of my lecture was “Engineering Careers in an Upside Down World.” In those days, I was the Thiess Professor of Engineering Education and Professional Development at the University of Queensland, where I had established the Catalyst Research Centre for Society and Technology. For those who know Jo Walther and Llew Mann, both are Catalyst alums.

This was on my first visit to Purdue, nearly two years before I became a faculty here. The visit stemmed from the successful Global Colloquium on Engineering Education (GCEE 2005) that I ran in Sydney in September 2005 where I met many of the founding faculty of the newly formed Department of Engineering Education at Purdue. (Yes, we were a Department until February 2008 when we became a School).

So I invited myself to Purdue and Kamyar Haghghi aided by Cindey Hayes arranged a very full week of activities including the ENGR 103 lecture. Subsequently people told me it felt like an interview visit. In Australia, the whole recruiting and interviewing process is quite different, so I did not experience it as an interview. I was very innocent. My real job interview occurred in January 2007 after I had formally applied in response to an open position advertisement. But that is another story.

Somewhat ironically, the organizing theme for my ENGR 103 talk in November 2005 was “Where to from here?”  The four topics that I explored with the class under this theme were Engineering Futures, Reform in Engineering Education, Sustainability Imperative and Student Perspectives on Engineering. Recently I unearthed the slides from this talk and they make fascinating reading.

This was not a conventional presentation. I innovated by making my slide desk a hyperlinked set of topics where the class could choose which of the four topics they wished to explore and in which order. It was an attempt at "design your own lecture."

On the topic of Engineering Futures, there were inspiration quotes from thought leaders about what engineering might be, several futures scenarios including the one in Engineer of 2020 and a wide range of unconventional career paths for engineers.  

The Reform of Engineering Education collection of slides included comparisons of the parallel processes in the US and Australia through the mid-to-late 1990s that lead to ABET’s EC2000 here and outcomes based Graduate Attributes for engineering accreditation in Australia in 1999. As the person who wrote the first draft of “Changing the Culture”, the 1995 report that framed the new accreditation in Australia, I had first hand experience of how politics, pragmatics and personalities shape policy; how the sausage gets made! I also touched on other global aspects of reform and accreditation including the Washington Accord and the Bolonga Process. Upon reflection, much of this material may have been better suited for a graduate level class. 

The slides on the Sustainability Imperative canvassed the UN Millennium goals, a set of Sustainability Principles and Green Engineering Principles. I made it personal by introducing the idea of your individual Ecological Footprint. I was feeling guilty at this point having just flown halfway around the world.

For the Student Perspectives part, I drew upon the introduction to engineering class that I taught at UQ. Like Purdue, first-year engineering at UQ is essentially a common curriculum and students enter their major in the second year. I was hoping the FYE students at Purdue would enjoy seeing what their peers in Australia experienced. To underscore the timeless and universality of “discovering” engineering, the reflections of some of the students in ENGG 1000 at UQ from 2001 are worth repeating here.

"I entered this course (subject) believing that engineering was all about figures and calculations.  I now understand, that as an engineer, I will work with a variety of people in varied and often cosmopolitan work environment."

"I must be able to communicate ideas, present plans and suggest alternatives with interested parties, as a professional engineer."

"I now realize how valuable team roles are, in enabling communication and I feel less reservations in constructively criticizing team members and receiving criticism myself.”

 “Working in a team has a much more beneficial outcome ……when we were brainstorming, someone would have a mental block for ideas they would hear someone else's idea which would trigger their thinking which would spawn more ideas."

As I said earlier, you never know what the future holds. During my visit to Purdue in mid-November 2005, I got to meet the faculty who pioneered ENE from its precursor, the Department of Freshman Engineering. These included Heidi Diefes-Dux and Bill Oakes and others who have since moved on in their careers or retired plus Phil Wankat who's inspired idea it was to combine the Interdisciplinary Engineering program with Freshman Engineering in creating ENE. The first three faculty hired into the new ENE, Robin Adams, Sean Brophy and Monica Cox, were just starting out as assistant professors back then. We all participated in a fun networking activity to learn more about each other’s research interests.

I was invited back to Purdue in December 2006 to participate in the ENE Advance on our preferred legacy. It would be an intriguing exercise to revisit the findings of this Legacy Advance.

All these experiences of the people and the place going back to those formative years of ENE have been invaluable for me during my time as head. They continue to provide me with a rich historical perspective and a deep appreciation of what has been achieved through the many contributions of many people over many years. This provides a firm foundation for answering the question; “Where to from here?”


Kudos: 11/16/2015

…to Nicole Pitterson for successfully defending her dissertation, Undergraduate Engineering Students’ Understanding of Complex Circuit Concepts: An Investigation of the Intersection of Students’ Prior Knowledge, Design of Learning Environments and the Nature of the Content. Nicole will be moving to Oregon at the end of the year to begin a post-doc position at Oregon State.

…to Xin "Cindy" Chen on successfully defended her dissertation, Understanding Student Behaviors Using Immediate Feedback Features in A Blended Learning Environment. Cindy will be moving to the Bay Area this month to take up her position as data scientist for the education startup Vested Finance.

…to Tamara Moore for her participation at the NSF-supported "Next Generation STEM Learning For All" forum as an invited speaker and the White House Next Gen High School Summit.

…to Matt Ohland for his invitation to be a panelist in a National Academy of Sciences symposium on hard-to-measure competencies in Washington DC on December 16.

…to Matt Ohland, Russell Long and Brock Barry on their publication of a paper "Influence of Job Market Conditions on Engineering Cooperative Education Participation" in the Journal of Professional Issues in Engineering Education and Practice. Barry, B., Ohland, M., Mumford, K., and Long, R. (2015). "Influence of Job Market Conditions on Engineering Cooperative Education Participation." J. Prof. Issues Eng. Educ. Pract. , 10.1061/(ASCE)EI.1943-5541.0000270 , 04015017.

News and Information: 11/16/2015

Department of Engineering Education at Ohio State Approved

In their November 6 meeting, The Ohio State University Board of Trustees approved the establishment of a new department within the College of Engineering—the Department of Engineering Education.

The new department is built upon groundbreaking work by faculty and researchers in the former Engineering Education Innovation Center—in teaching first-year engineering, multi-disciplinary capstone design and technical communication courses—and in world-class engineering education research.   

International Education Week Activities 

Monday, November 16

  • 11:00am - 3:00pm Global Engineering Project Expo, Kurz Atrium of ARMS
  • 6:00pm - 7:30pm Info Fair on Short-Term Study Abroad Opportunities for Summer 2016, ARMS 1010

Tuesday, November 17

  • 5:00pm - 8:00pm GEARE Skip-a-meal, Potbell Sandwich Shop (117 Northwestern Ave)

Wednesday, November 18

  • 10:00am - 3:00pm GlobalMakers Fair, STEW
  • 6:00pm - 7:00pm ECE Graduate Student Panel Discussion, ARMS 1010
  • 11:59pm My Study Abroad Video Contest Submissions Due

Thursday, November 19

  • 11:00am - 1:00pm Global Competency Development Workshop, PTR 234 (FU Room)
  • 6:00pm - 8:00pm Global Trivia Night, Stacked Pickle - Suite 1700 in WANG Hall

Friday, November 20

  • 5:00pm My Study Abroad Video Contest Winners Announced

Calendar: 11/16/2015

Fall 2015

  • Nov 16: International Education Week, Various days, times and locations
  • Nov 18: Faculty-PhD Student Matching, 9:30-11:30am, WANG 3501
  • Nov 19: : ENE Research Seminar, 3:30-4:20pm, ARMS 1109 
  • Nov 26/27: Thanksgiving
  • Dec 2: ENE Faculty Meeting, 9:30-11:30am, WANG 3501
  • Dec 20: Commencement, 9:30am, Elliot Hall of Music
  • Dec 22: Grades Due
  • Dec 24-Jan 3, Purdue Recess

Spring 2016 (please note faculty and related meetings are on Thursday mornings during this spring)

  • Jan 4: Faculty return
  • Jan 11: Classes begin
  • Jan 15: Staff Meeting, 8:30-9:30 am, WANG 3501
  • Jan 18: Martin Luther King Day
  • Jan 21: Faculty Meeting, 9:30-11:20 am, WANG 3501
  • Jan 28: Assistant Professors meet with Head, 9:30-10:30 am, WANG 3501
  • Feb 4: Faculty Meeting, 9:30-11:20 am, WANG 3501
  • Feb 11: Associate Professors meet with Head, 9:30-10:30 am, WANG 3501
  • Feb 18: Faculty Meeting, 9:30-11:20 am, WANG 3501
  • Feb 24: ENE Outstanding Alumni Awards
  • Feb 25: Faculty Meeting 9:30-11:20 am, WANG 3501
  • March 10: Faculty Meeting, 9:30-11:20 am, WANG 3501
  • March 14/19: Spring Break
  • March 31: Faculty Meeting, 9:30-11:20 am, WANG 3501
  • April 11/12: ENE Industrial Advisory Council  
  • April 14: Faculty Career Colloquium (Dr. Radcliffe), 3:30-4:20pm
  • April 22: Faculty Meeting, 9:30-11:20 am, WANG 3501
  • April 30: Classes end
  • May 5: Faculty Meeting, 9:30-11:20 am, WANG 3501
  • May 10: Grades Due
  • May 11/12: ENE Strategic Advance
  • May 13: Engineering Commencement, 8pm, Elliot Hall of Music

Summer 2016

  • June 26-29: ASEE 2016, New Orleans
  • Aug 13-15: 3rd P-12 Engineering and Design Education Research Summit, Chicago

Funding Opportunities: 11/16/2015

Selected Funding Opportunities: 

NSF Critical Techniques, Technologies and Methodologies for Advancing Foundations and Applications of Big Data Sciences and Engineering (BIGDATA) This program seeks novel approaches in computer science, statistics, computational science, and mathematics, along with innovative applications in domain science, including social and behavioral sciences, geosciences, education, biology, the physical sciences, and engineering that lead towards the further development of the interdisciplinary field of data science. The solicitation invites two types of proposals: "Foundations" (F): those developing or studying fundamental theories, techniques, methodologies, and technologies of broad applicability to big data problems; and "Innovative Applications" (IA): those developing techniques, methodologies, and technologies of key importance to a Big Data problem directly impacting at least one specific application. Deadline: February 9

NSF/NASA/NIH/USDA/DOD National Robotics Initiative (NRI) The goal of the National Robotics Initiative is to accelerate the development and use of robots in the US that work beside or cooperatively with people. The purpose of this program is the development of this next generation of robotics, to advance the capability and usability of such systems and artifacts, and to encourage existing and new communities to focus on innovative application areas. It will address the entire life cycle from fundamental research and development to manufacturing and deployment. Deadline: December 3

HHS-CDC National Centers on Health Promotion for People with Disabilities This new FOA will provide support to up to three National Centers on Disability to: (1) improve knowledge and awareness about the usefulness and effectiveness of health promotion programs and policy, systems and environmental improvements for people with mobility limitations (ML) and/or intellectual disabilities (ID), (2) develop, implement, evaluate, and disseminate multi-level strategies that improve the health and quality of life of people with ML and/or ID, (3) implement the Healthy Athletes Program for people with ID, and (4) collaborate with and support states and academic centers to improve the health of people with ML and/or ID. The purpose of this 5-year FOA will be to fund and support state controlled institutions of higher education, non-government organizations and private colleges and universities that work with people with ML and/or ID and have national reach through a network of 15 or more state/local programs, chapters and/or affiliates across the US. Deadline: January 15

DOD-ONR FOA for Navy & Marine Corps Science, Technology, Engineering & Mathematics Education, Outreach and Workforce Program The ONR seeks proposals for developing existing or innovative solutions that directly support the development and maintenance of a robust STEM workforce. While this announcement is relevant for any stage of the STEM pipeline, funding efforts will be targeted primarily towards the future DoN (naval) STEM workforce in High Schools, all categories of Post-Secondary institutions, the STEM research enterprise, and efforts that enhance the current naval STEM workforce and its mission readiness. White papers suggested deadline: January 31.

Durham University Durham International Fellowships for Research and Enterprise (DIFeREns)  The Fellowship is designed to attract the most talented researchers across the full spectrum of science, social science, arts and humanities, to build international networks of scholars with a common passion for today’s most important research challenges. Junior Research Fellowships are available and due December 4.  Senior Research Fellowships and Policy & Enterprise Fellowships are available and due January 8.  Eligibility can be verified through the website.

Limited Submissions:

Preproposals and rankings to the EVPRP should be e-mailed to Purdue’s open limited submission competitions, limited submission policy, and templates for preproposals may be found at For any case in which the number of preproposals received is no more than the number of proposals allowed by the sponsor, the EVPRP will notify the PI(s) that an internal competition will be unnecessary.

Limited Submission: DOS Study of the US Institutes for Student Leaders from Europe  The Study of the U.S. Branch, Office of Academic Exchange Programs, Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, invites proposal submissions for the design and implementation of three Study of the U.S. Institutes (SUSIs) for Student Leaders from Europe. The SUSIs for Student Leaders from Europe should consist of three separate Institutes under three themes. Taking place over the course of five weeks at a U.S. academic institution, each Institute should be organized for a group of approximately 22 foreign undergraduate students from underserved communities and focus on one of the following themes: Civic Engagement; Environmental Stewardship; and Social Entrepreneurship. This program allows one application from Purdue.

Limited Submission: NSF has released a solicitation for the Cultivating Cultures for Ethical STEM (CCE STEM) program. This solicitation seeks novel research approaches to the formation of STEM researchers who are committed ethical academic and research practices and to the cultivation of institutional cultures that value, expect, and reward academic and research integrity.  It is directed towards research that addresses the formation of ethical STEM students, faculty, and researchers at all levels, through a variety of means beyond conventional classroom instruction. CCE STEM research projects will use basic research to produce knowledge about what constitutes responsible or irresponsible, just or unjust scientific practices and sociotechnical systems, and how to best instill students with this knowledge.

CCE STEM solicits proposals for research that explores the following:

·         What constitutes ethical STEM research and practice?

·         Which cultural and institutional contexts promote ethical STEM research and practice and why?

Factors to consider include: honor codes, professional ethics codes and licensing requirements, ethic of service and/or service learning, life-long learning requirements, curricula and memberships in organizations that stress social responsibilities and humanitarian goals, institutions that serve under-represented groups, institutions where academic and research integrity are cultivated at multiple levels, institutions that cultivate ethics across the curriculum, or programs that promote group work.

Proposals can be submitted as either Standard Research Grants or Institutional Transformation Research Grants.  Institutional Transformation Research Grants should have a senior member of the administration (Provost, VP, and/or President) serve as a PI.

For this competition, Purdue may submit one proposal as lead organization.

Internal deadlines are as follows:

  • Monday, December 7:  Preproposals due to the EVPRP.
  • Monday, December 14:  Review committee rankings due to the EVPRP.

Agency deadline: February 16.

Please note:  Preproposals and rankings should be e-mailed to Purdue's limited submission policy and template for preproposals may be found at

As always, we appreciate your sharing this information with your faculty.  Please contact Sue Grimes (, Kristyn Jewell (, or Perry Kirkham ( with any questions.

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