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Robin Adams

Associate Professor
Mailing Addresses
Office: WANG 4566
Phone: (765) 496-3267
Fax: (765) 494-5819


The recipient of a 2008 NSF Career Award, a Design Studies best paper award (2003), and the Journal of Engineering Education's Wickenden Award for best paper (2007), Dr. Robin S. Adams is a national leader in researching interdisciplinary thinking and design learning, in connecting research and practice, and in building research capacity in engineering education. She leads the Institute for Scholarship on Engineering Education as part of the Center for the Advancement of Engineering Education and was an invited participant at the 2010 Frontiers of Engineering Education symposium.


Ph.D., Education, Leadership, and Policy Studies, University of Washington
M.S., Materials Science and Engineering, University of Washington
B.S., Mechanical Engineering, California Polytechnic State University

Research Interests

Investigation of engineering practice: (1) cross-disciplinary ways of thinking, acting, and being; (2) design knowing and learning; and (3) the everyday nature of engineering thinking (at home, in school, at work). Creating "systems" bridges between education research and the practice of engineering education: (1) cross-disciplinary communities; (2) research-based instructional resources; and (3) translating research methods into pedagogical methods

Selected Publications

Adams, R. S., Turns, J. & Atman, C. J. (2003). Educating effective engineering designers: The role of reflective practice.” Design Studies, 24(3), pp. 275-294. [Design Studies best paper]

Atman, C.J., Adams, R.S., Mosborg, S., Cardella, M. E., Turns, J. & Saleem, J. (2007). Engineering design processes: A comparison of students and expert practitioners.” Journal of Engineering Education, 96(4), pp. 359-379. [JEE Wickenden award]

Awards, Honors, Achievements, & Memberships

  • American Society of Engineering Education, Member
  • International Society of the Learning Sciences, Member
  • American Society of Higher Education, Member
  • American Education Research Association, Member
  • Society of Women Engineers, Member
  • Design Studies, Best Paper of the Year, 2003