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ENE Memo: November 11, 2013

From the Head: 11/11

Pioneers of Engineering Education Research and Scholarship at Purdue: Phil Wankat and Frank Oreowicz

As a prelude to the ENE Interdisciplinary Colloquium this Thursday, this is the third in a series recognizing pioneers of research and scholarship in engineering education at Purdue, highlighting the contributions of Drs. Phil Wankat and Dr. Frank Oreowicz.

Dr. Wankat is the Clifton L. Lovell Distinguished Professor of Chemical Engineering. This and many other honors and accolades attest to his standing in the Chemical Engineering community. An important facet of his career has been his development of courses and writing of textbooks. In the late 1970’s he began to attend events run by the Center for Instructional Development, which was created by another pioneer, John Lindenlaub. Inspired, in 1982 Professor Wankat completed an M.S. in Education, Counseling and Personnel Services at Purdue.

Then in 1983 he teamed with Dr. Frank Oreovicz to create and co-teach ChE 685, the first engineering course in the USA to prepare engineering PhD students for academic careers. It drew on knowledge about how people learn from the literature – translating this research into teaching practice. The book developed for this course, Teaching Engineering, remains the only engineering book on teaching.  Professor Wankat has served as a resource for professors preparing similar courses and for large numbers of young faculty preparing for academic careers.

Interestingly, Dr. Oreovicz had previously worked as assistant to the Director at the Center for Instructional Development and just begun the teach communications in Chemical Engineering around the time that Dr. Wankat approached his department head with the idea of a course on teaching engineering. It was the then-head of Chemical Engineering who suggested he work with Frank Oreowicz. The rest, as they say, is history.

Dr. Oreowicz has a BS in physics and a PhD in English. For many years he taught oral and written communication in Chemical Engineering (ChE 434), including diagnostic testing and follow-up remedial instruction, videotape & critique oral presentations/review with students. He is also a certified administrator for the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator. Currently he is a freelance technical editor with national and international clients in areas including chemical, electrical, industrial, and mechanical engineering as well as computer science and pharmaceutical research.

From 1998 and 2006, he and Dr. Wankat wrote a regular series of articles on the scholarship of teaching for ASEE PRISM magazine with intriguing titles like: What is Good Teaching?; Office Hours Rx, Live!  From Lecture Hall 105; A Problematic Subject; Fire Up Your Students; How Much is Enough?; Learning Outside the Classroom; Engineers at Play; A More Evenhanded Approach to Tenure; Teaching - Mastery Learning; Classroom Climates that Encourage Student Learning; Making Them Want to Stay; Starting with Square One and the Plague of Self-Plagiarism.

Of course Dr. Wankat has other critical connections to ENE. He was head of Freshman Engineering from 1987-95. He was head of the independent Division of Interdisciplinary Engineering from 2000 to 2004, when it combined with Freshman Engineering to form the then Department of Engineering Education. Indeed, he was the person who had the idea of combining the two. As a consequence, ENE has its own undergraduate degree program, and this enables us to be a school.

The ENE Interdisciplinary Colloquium this Thursday promises to be a lot of fun as we hear the stories of the pioneers of research and scholarship in engineering education at Purdue. Don’t miss it!

Regrettably, this is the last ENE Memo which will be co-produced by Lisa Tally and me. I want to thank Lisa for her hard work and diligence in ensuring that this weekly communication appears each Monday.  


Calendar: 11/11

Fall 2013

  • Nov 13: Faculty Discussion: FYE Research, ARMS BO98B Innovation Studio 9:30-12:30 
  • Nov 14: Interdisciplinary Engineering Colloquium: Indomitable Innovators: Pioneers of Engineering Education Research at Purdue
  • Nov 18: TULIP - Problem Solving, ARMS 3001, 1:30-3pm
  • Nov 20: Advisor-PhD Student matching, ARMS BO98B Innovation Studio 9:30-12:30 
  • Nov 28-29: Thanksgiving
  • Dec 2: TULIP - Messaging FYE Outside FYE, ARMS 3001, 1:30-3pm
  • Dec 4: Faculty Meeting, ARMS 1021 9:30-10:20am

Spring 2014

  • Feb 19: ENE Outstanding Alumni Awards Celebrating 45 Years of  Interdisciplinary Engineering Education
  • April 9: ENE Turns 10: Celebrating a Decade of ENE / Open House and Research Exhibition

Summer 2014

  • June 12-13: SAVE THE DATE. Purdue, Engineering Education Futures: Hearing Global Perspectives   
  • June 14: ENE Alums & Friends Reception, Indianapolis Interdisciplinary Engineering Education
  • June 15-18: ASEE Conference, Indianapolis Engineering Education Futures

Kudos: 11/11 Krishna Madhavan on the publication of the article Learning and Research in the Cloud in Nature Nanotechnology.

... to Eric Holloway, Lynn Hegewald, Patrick La Petina, Jim Whitford, Monica Cardella, Heidi Diefes-Dux, and Matt Ohland on receiving the College of Engineering Team Award of Excellence, which will be presented this Friday evening.

... to Amanda Jackson on receiving the College of Engineering Leadership Award of Excellence, which will be presented this Friday evening. our ENE students, staff, and faculty for helping us host the INSPIRE Advisory Board members and our Industrial Advisory Board members this past week and weekend. Also a special thank you to Cindey, Julie and Marsha for their care in the excellent arrangements for the meetings and joint dinner.   

News and Information: 11/11

Indomitable Innovators: Pioneers in Engineering Education Research at Purdue

This colloquium stands in for this week's ENE Research Seminar.

Join us at Armstrong's Kurz Atrium promptly at 3:30 on Thursday for a look at some of the antecedents of our discipline and school.

(Arrive by 3:15 if you'd like to view the first public showing of ENE's 10th-anniversary video, starring a lot of familiar faces…We'll also run the video after the colloquium ends at 4:30.)

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