Skip navigation

Spring 2014

ENE at 10 - Celebrating a Decade

The School of Engineering Education had many reasons to celebrate during the spring semester. However, the highlight was April 9 – our tenth anniversary as an academic unit. The Purdue Board of Trustees approved the department, now school, by “consolidating” the former Department of Freshman Engineering (established in 1953) and the former Division of Interdisciplinary Engineering Studies (established in 1969).

ENE’s creation was planned over several years and the proposal to the Board was based on an extensive report titled "Toward the Future: Engineering Education at Purdue, a Vision of Preeminence."  A paper written for the 2004 ASEE annual conference outlines the transformative vision. While some of the authors of this vision are still members of the ENE and wider Purdue communities, others have moved on. Regrettably the founding head of ENE, Kamyar Haghighi, a major force in getting the school established and achieving so much in a short time, passed away in 2010. We owe much of our success to his vision, drive and tenacity. 

ENE formally became a School in February 2008, following the approval of the Graduate Program (PhD, MS and MS ENE degrees) in 2005 and the successful operation of this program for three years.

We marked our tenth anniversary with an open house event (photos below), at which we shared our achievements with colleagues across Purdue. We also remembered the pioneering efforts of all those who had the vision and who made ENE a reality. Going forward, we will build on the foundation laid down in 2004 and re-commit to help ENE reach its full potential over the next ten or 20 years. This is a very special community that has so much more to contribute to the transformation of engineering education, nationally and globally.  

David Radcliffe
Kamyar Haghighi Head, School of Engineering Education

Click to expand image

New Faculty fall 2014

After interviewing many well-qualified candidates in January and February, ENE hired three new faculty members to join us this fall; Allison Godwin, Jennifer DeBoer and Ed Berger. They each bring unique research and teaching experiences that will enhance the breadth and depth of the things we do.   


Allison Godwin recently completed her doctorate at Clemson where she is an NSF Graduate Research Fellow in Engineering and Science Education. She has a B.S. in Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering at Clemson University. Her research interests lie in the area of understanding how underrepresented groups choose and remain in engineering. Allison's dissertation research focuses on identifying predictive factors for increasing female enrollment in engineering utilizing mixed methods techniques and the theoretical framework of Critical Engineering Agency (CEA). She has collaborated actively with researchers in other disciplines including physics education, chemical engineering, and civil engineering.

Jennifer DeBoer is currently the postdoctoral associate for education research for the Teaching and Learning Laboratory at MIT. Her work addresses the observable and the more complex social, cultural, and economic background factors that facilitate diverse students’ paths through the engineering education system. In TLL, her work includes in-depth study of recent edX Massive Open Online Courses, the use of online platforms in blended settings, and the development of a direct method of assessment of global competence. Her other work includes the investigation of women’s participation in engineering and the support of engineering teaching in settings around the world. Jennifer's PhD is from Vanderbilt University in international education policy studies and her bachelor's degrees are in mechanical engineering and foreign languages and literatures from MIT. She is involved extensively in international engineering education organizations. She served as the president and frequently facilitated workshops for the Student Platform for Engineering Education Development (SPEED), which works to empower students around the globe to make improvements in engineering education systems themselves. She is currently co-director of the International Institute for the Development of Engineering Academics (IIDEA) and the editor for the International Studies SIG in the American Education Research Association.

Ed Berger brings a wealth of academic experience to ENE. Currently he is the Associate Dean for Undergraduate Programs at the University of Virginia School of Engineering and Applied Science, where he is also an Associate Professor of Mechanical Engineering and teaches broadly in the engineering curriculum. His research interests include disciplinary work on the nonlinear mechanics of joints and interfaces; this work dates back to the mid-1990’s when he earned the PhD from the School of Mechanical Engineering at Purdue. More recently, his research has also focused on two engineering education issues: (i) as an instructor, the use of social media for effective teaching, and (ii) as a School administrator, the emerging institutional research area of predictive models for student academic success. Berger is one of the two mechanics-area leaders for the ASEE Faculty Virtual Community of Practice (VCP) project, and his work has been funded by NSF and others. Ed will be a joint appointment with Mechanical Engineering (25%). 

Carter receives 2014 Outstanding Alumni Award

Rex Carter, a 1974 graduate with an Interdisciplinary Engineering degree in Urban Systems and Transportation, is the School of Engineering Education's 2014 Outstanding Alumni Award winner.

Carter came to Purdue University after growing up in Evansville, but very much aware of the social unrest and injustice occurring across the United States at that time. In particular, he says it was the plight of the nation’s great cities collapsing from neglect that spurred him on the plan of study. Carter credits the assistance and guidance of Prof. Dick Grace, then the head of IDE, for his success.

“I learned, through a period of time, what it meant to be an engineer,” Carter said. “(I had) great support, great positive reinforcement along the way, and I cannot imagine a better education to have obtained.”

He also stressed the importance of students taking advantage of all Purdue has to offer.

"The resources are outstanding and unique. Once graduated, you likely will not have the same extensive resources at your disposal. So, take the harder classes, do the extra work, meet all the experts you can. You are learning how to learn. There is no better preparation for a career than an engineering education."

After an early career that involved consulting for the airline industry and a job with Continental Airlines, he transitioned into information technology. Carter says it was his ability to communicate effectively with IT staff that led him down the path to eventually becoming chief information officer and executive vice president for Hitachi Data Systems.

“You’re only as good as what you can communicate and how you can relate to other people,” he said.

After graduating from Purdue 40 years ago, Carter is beginning to look back with careful examination at his undergraduate and professional career.

“One of my big regrets is I never said, ‘Thank you,’ enough to the folks who saw something in me that I could not yet see,” he said.

2014 Outstanding Alumni Award recipient Rex Carter speaks with students in IDE 485-Multidisciplinary Engineering Design about "Engineering Your Career"


PhD Program: Honoring Alaska Native students

Michele Yatchmeneff, a doctoral student in Purdue University's School of Engineering Education, was fortunate to have the academic support she received growing up.

The Alaska Native was a migrant student. Her family lived in Anchorage during the school year, but returned to their home village in the Aleutian Islands for the summer harvest. She says there is a great difference between the school systems throughout the state.

Yatchmeneff photo Michele Yatchmeneff celebrating at the ANSEP Banquet with traditional Unangax facial tattoos (photo provided).

“There are very small rural villages that maybe have one or two graduates a year from high school,” Michele explains. “There’s one teacher (per several grades) and they usually don’t have a background in science or math, so they’re just doing the basics.”

However, in Alaska’s bigger communities – Anchorage, Fairbanks and Juneau – there are multiple options for students. Those include private academies, public and parochial schools, and career and technical education. Michele graduated from a public school and enrolled in the University of Alaska-Anchorage (UAA) where she studied engineering. She benefited from the Alaska Native Science and Engineering Program (ANSEP), which serves the university system. Undergraduate students in ANSEP are required to attend weekly team-building meetings, recitation study sessions, complete an internship and make successful progress toward a degree in return for an annual $5,000 scholarship. The program’s objectives are to inspire, recruit and guide Alaskan Native students to become scientists and engineers.

“Alaska has a lot of natural resources currently being managed by outsiders,” she says, “being managed not with native people’s interests at heart. So that’s our goal – native people beginning to manage the resources there.”

After receiving her bachelor’s degree in civil engineering, Michele worked on water/wastewater projects in Alaska, specifically in native communities. However, it was not long before ANSEP reached out to her about returning to campus.

“I went back to work for them in 2007 and during that time I was getting my master’s degree in engineering management,” she says, “working mainly at the university and helping retain college students.”

From retention efforts to managing scholarships, Michele worked on many facets of ANSEP. She eventually became deputy director and was helping manage the pre-college programming. That involved high school students taking college-level math and science courses on campus during the summer to help students in smaller schools bridge the achievement gap.

“It’s a very large operation with only a few of us managing it,” Michele says. “We have more than 1,000 students in our pipeline from middle school to Ph.D.”

She is one of those students. With Michele’s passion for her engineering students it is a natural path for her to study Engineering Education at Purdue University. Michele left her job with ANSEP in August 2013, so she could accept a fellowship that allows her to complete her studies at Purdue. However, she still helps with ANSEP projects. While her responsibilities have eased up, Michele works with sponsors to make sure requirements are met and students are meeting expectations. Most recently, she attended the annual banquet held at the end of January, which featured former astronaut Jim Lovell. She also spoke to the students and honored those who are graduating.

Lovell at the banquet Jim Lovell, former NASA astronaut, was the keynote speaker at the 2014 ANSEP Banquet. Michele calls his visit "inspirational" for the students. (Courtesy Philip Hall/University of Alaska-Anchorage)

“I still consider them all my students, even though I’m not there,” Michele says. “I’ve either taught them engineering or I’ve led some component they were involved in, so they get all excited when I’m there.”

Current middle and high school students may have the opportunity to learn from Michele as well. Upon completing her Ph.D., she plans on returning to UAA in a faculty role.

“I have a year to prove myself and that year counts as time served, and then I have a full contract.”

Ideally, Michele wants to teach the introductory civil engineering course, but hopes to help the professors too. The School of Engineering Education’s doctoral program prepares future engineering faculty and industry leaders to use research-based teaching methods and multi-disciplinary curriculum.

“I’m excited about, hopefully, being an asset on the campus as far as the other engineering teachers,” Michele says. “Possibly hosting some workshops or seminars. Asking them if they can incorporate more lab work, more active learning.”

But most important to her is putting into practice what she has learned at Purdue to help figure out “how to do everything better.” That includes improving the already high success rate of ANSEP students, who will become the next generation of engineers.


A half dozen First-Year Engineering (FYE) instructors are gathered in an Armstrong Hall conference room, away from the School of Engineering Education (ENE) offices and classrooms.

Seated at the table with them is Heidi Diefes-Dux, professor of Engineering Education. She’s leading the discussion, which begins with a focus on teaching statements. She describes it as being the “core to your beliefs” as an instructor, and asks those participating to create a visual representation of their own teaching statement.

This is a typical session for the Teaching Undergraduates for Learning Investment Program (TULIP). The group meets once every several weeks throughout the fall and spring semesters. The program was established with a gift from Interdisciplinary Engineering alum Geoff Crowley (BSIDE 1974) and his wife, Kelly. It is at the core of the School’s mission “to transform engineering education based on scholarship and research.”

Dr. Diefes-Dux says TULIP has evolved since it began several years ago. She calls it a good compliment to Educational Methods for Engineering, which is a three-credit hour course for students throughout the College of Engineering.

“How can we have these different levels of engagement of people thinking about and reflecting on their teaching, and learning new things?” she asks. “That’s the idea – to provide a mechanism through ENE that people can learn more about teaching and improving their teaching.”

TULIP board meeting
First-Year Engineering instructor Mariana Tafur Arciniegas explains
her teaching statement during a Teaching Undergraduates for Learning
Investment Program (TULIP) session.

After drawing up a teaching statement, each instructor explains theirs to the group. The conversation quickly moves to related topics in the classroom, such as keeping the roughly 2,000 FYE students engaged during class.

Hadi Ali, a doctoral candidate in ENE, is one of those attending this TULIP session. He goes as often as he can, because he says there is a lot to gain during the 90 minute meetings.

“It’s a great opportunity to reflect on my teaching and be part of a community of practice,” he says.

Hadi points out the fact that all the instructors are given the same course learning objectives, yet they have different perspectives on how to teach the material. He thinks having the discussions through TULIP reinforces the choices they each make.

While this session focused on teaching statements, others have covered homework, design and working in teams.

“We brought in expertise from across the ENE faculty,” Dr. Diefes-Dux says. “I’d like to bring in more people from outside of ENE.”

And Hadi would like to see instructors from outside of ENE get involved, even if it is just visiting a session.

“Teaching, I found, is a very complex personal and professional exploration process,” he says. “You get to know yourself, as well as others. So, come to learn from others and help others learn from you.”

While TULIP directly impacts the instructors’ teaching skills, the lessons learned and techniques they share eventually benefit the FYE students, who will become part of the future generation of Purdue engineering leaders and innovators.

Purdue Day of Giving

Purdue Day of Giving 2014 logoThe School of Engineering Education was excited to take part in the Purdue Day of Giving on April 30. For the first time in Purdue’s history, the entire University community came together under the theme “Opportunity Granted.” While the main focus was raising money for the Presidential Scholarship Fund, all entities taking part could raise money for one or more of their own programs. ENE chose to support the First-Year Engineering Program.

We are happy to say the School raised $251,170 through the Day of Giving! That allowed us to receive a funding bonus of $5,552 for finishing in the Top Ten. In addition, there were several challenges throughout the 24 hour period. ENE captured the Most Unique Photo with the Day of Giving logo (pictured above). That challenge’s prize was $3,000.

Thanks to all our generous supporters who helped us accomplish so much!

Spring 2014 Video Gallery

The following videos show you what our undergraduate students have been up to -
inside and outside the classroom:

Spring 2014 Honors & Awards

A round-up of faculty and student accolades.

Dr. Brent Jesiek gained tenure and was promoted to associate professor.

Dr. Tamara Moore was awarded a Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers (PECASE). President Obama presented it to her at a White House ceremony this spring.

Jaqi McNeil significantly developed a proposal that received an NSF grant of $293,969. "Characterizing Non-Traditional Student Access and Success in Engineering" is a three-year project with Dr. Matt Ohland (Jaqi's Major Professor) as the principal investigator and Russell Long as the co-principal investigator.

Publication of the new book "Integrating Information into the Engineering Design Process" edited by Michael Fosmire and Dr. David Radcliffe, with chapter contributions by Dr. Monica Cardella, Amy Van Epps, Dr. Şenay Purzer, and Dr. Ruth Wertz.

Dr. Ruth Streveler began a three-year term as an associate editor of Journal of Engineering Education.

Dr. Monica Cox received the 2014 College of Engineering Faculty Award of Excellence in Leadership.

Rex Carter was named the Engineering Education Outstanding Alumnus for 2014.

Robert Colcord (Engineering Management) won the Outstanding MDE/IDES Senior Award.

Rebecca Kartheiser (Entertainment Engineering) won the Outstanding MDE/IDES Junior Award.

Nicole Gantz (Pre-law Engineering) won the Outstanding Service Award.

The Engineering Education Safety Committee (Eric Holloway, Jeff Huddleston, Patrick La Petina, Rick Womack and Jim Whitford) won the Presidential Safety Award for 2014 in recognition of the School's safety efforts.

Dr. Matt Ohland was appointed as a Professorial Research Fellow in Engineering Education of Central Queensland University.

Drs. Phil Wankat and Frank Oreovicz completed the second edition of Teaching Engineering, which will be available January 2015, from Purdue University Press.

Dr. David Radcliffe was elected as a Fellow of SEFI (European Society for Engineering Education).

Joi-Lynn Mondisa was awarded the Purdue Bilsland Dissertation Fellowship, which provides a tuition scholarship, a medical insurance supplement, and a stipend of $18,500 for 12 months beginning in August 2014.

Dr. Joyce Main won an ASEE Educational Research and Methods Division Apprentice Faculty Award designed to encourage and honor promising new educators and/or researchers who have demonstrated commitment to innovation in teaching and/or have the potential for substantial contributions to engineering education.

Dr. Morgan Hynes and Mindy Hart (EPICS) on being elected to the ASEE K-12 Division's executive board.

Xin "Cindy" Chen won Best Poster at the 4th International Learning Analytics and Knowledge (LAK14) Conference. Her poster is titled "A Social Media Analytics Framework for Understanding Students' Learning Experiences."

First-Year Engineering students Giridhar Karthikeyan, Candice Votava, Xiaolu Bai, Rachel Throckmorton, Benjamin Vernhes and Zachary Fuerst for designing and producing a video, "Engineering: Stewardship of Humankind" for the NAE Engineering for You contest. You can see their video HERE.

Dr. Tamara Moore on serving as the Distinguished Overseas Professor for the Collaborative Innovation Center for National Education Policy-making at East China Normal University.

Benjamin Ahn won the College of Engineering Outstanding Research Award.

Xin Chen won the ENE Outstanding Research Award.

James Huff, Jeremi London and Noah Salzman won ENE Outstanding Research Award, Honorable Mentions

Justin Hess won the College of Engineering Outstanding Service Award.

Velvet Fitzpatrick, Tamecia Jones and Jaqi McNeil won the ENE Outstanding Service Award.

Dr. Şenay Purzer was elected to the governing board of the Research in Engineering Education Network (REEN). She will be representing the North America zone.

Amy Van Epps won the Homer I. Bernhardt Distinguished Service Award from the Engineering Library Division of ASEE.

Tammy Hare graduated from the Accomplished Clerical Excellence (ACE) professional development program, which requires a two-year commitment and attendance at all weekly sessions.

Dr. Heidi Diefes-Dux was awarded a Fellowship with the Center for Teaching Excellence for the next two years. Her fellowship work will be centered on faculty development. 

Carlene Quirk won the Rose Award from the Barbara Cook Chapter of Mortar Board at Purdue.

Lee Rynearson won the Purdue Teaching Academy Graduate Teaching Award.

Junaid Siddiqui for winning the 2013-14 ENE Distinguished Dissertation Award. His dissertation is entitled Transformation of Engineering Education: Taking a Perspective for the Challenges of Change.

Jeff Myers won the 2014 Richard W. McDowell Best Counselor Award.

Dr. Krishna Madhavan is serving this summer as Visiting Researcher at Microsoft Research in Redmond, WA.