Matthew Ohland

Associate Head of Engineering Education; Dale and Suzi Gallagher Professor of Engineering Education
Mailing Addresses
Office: DUDL DUDL 3528
Phone: (765) 496-1316
Fax: (765) 494-5819


Bellmore, NY, USA


Ph.D., Civil Engineering, University of Florida
M.S., Materials Engineering, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute
M.S., Mechanical Engineering, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute
B.S., Engineering (General), Swarthmore College
B.A., Religion, Swarthmore College

Research Interests

Longitudinal studies of engineering student pathways show that engineering keeps more students on average than other groups of disciplines (business, social sciences, etc.). The big difference is that engineering doesn't attract many new students. Overall, women graduate in engineering at rates similar to men, and racial differences are not significant when socioeconomic factors are considered. While these findings are all true in the aggregate, differences are observed by institution and specific engineering discipline, and the method used to measure persistence can create a bias toward reporting the experience of majority students.

Team-member effectiveness can be taught and measured with a five-factor model. Frame-of-reference training is effective at teaching students to be better team members and to give effective feedback to teammates.


Selected Publications

Ohland, M.W., Sheppard, S.D., Lichtenstein, G., Chachra, D., Eris, O., & Layton, R.A. (2008). Persistence, engagement, and migration in engineering. Journal of Engineering Education, 97(3), 259-278.

Ohland, M.W., Brawner, C.E., Camacho, M.M., Long, R.A., Lord, S.M., Wasburn, M.H. (2011). Race, gender, and measures of success in engineering education. Journal of Engineering Education, 100(2), 225-252.

Ohland, M.W., Loughry, M.L., Woehr, D.J., Finelli, C.J., Bullard, L.G., Felder, R.M., Layton, R.A., Pomeranz, H.R. & Schmucker, D.G. (2012). The Comprehensive Assessment of Team Member Effectiveness: Development of a behaviorally anchored rating scale for self and peer evaluation. Academy of Management: Learning & Education, 11(4) 609-630.


  • Assistant Director, Southeastern University Coalition for Engineering Education
  • NSF Postdoctoral Fellow in STEM Education
  • Assistant/Associate Professor of General Engineering, Clemson University
  • Professorial Research Fellow in Engineering Education, School of Engineering and Technology, Central Queensland University, Queensland, Australia

Advice for the First-Year Engineer

Learn to recognize opportunity. When something excites you, figure out why. If the reasons are healthy, follow your passion. You probably have better instincts than most people do about what drives you. This doesn't mean that you don't need to be willing to work for, and sometimes wait for, the things you want.

Fun Facts

When I was 15 years old, I told my mom that I had met the woman I was going to marry -- and we got married six years later. She was worth waiting for. I won a ribbon in the "Dairy Cattle Olympics" at the New York State Fair, but I've never milked a cow. For more than 30 years, my mom kept the uniform I wore as "The Nutcracker" in 5th grade. I've been to 49 of the 50 states -- I'll get to Alaska sometime.

Campus Activities

  • Safe Zone trained
  • Chief Advisor of Tau Beta Pi, the engineering honor society
  • Advisor to Purdue’s chapter of NOGLSTP, the National Organization of Gay and Lesbian Scientific and Technical Professionals
  • Purdue Engineering Student Council Scholarship Reviewer, multiple years
  • Boiler Gold Rush Faculty Mentor, multiple years
  • Learning Community Instructor, multiple years