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ENE Faculty candidate seminar

Event Date: April 8, 2008
Speaker: Brent Jesiek
Speaker Affiliation: Virginia Tech
Sponsor: Engineering Education
Time: 3:30-4:30
Location: ARMS 1010
Contact Name: Karen Ferry
Contact Phone: 496-9523
Contact Email:
Open To: Faculty, students, staff
Transformative Research: Analyzing Engineering Knowledge In Context and Across Disciplines

Please note the date of this seminar!

The Engineering Education Research Colloquies have identified five core research areas for the discipline of engineering education. The first, "Engineering Epistemologies," is focused on the question of "what constitutes engineering thinking and knowledge within social contexts." Many are approaching this question by mapping out bodies of engineering knowledge and skill sets, often with the goal of developing learning criteria and outcomes for largely technical engineering courses and programs. Yet we are only beginning to understand how engineering knowledge is situated within social contexts, differentiated by field, and demarcated from other bodies of knowledge. I speak to these themes by discussing three projects, beginning with my dissertation research on the development and state of computer engineering as a field. Findings from this study include the argument that computer engineering is in a state of “persistent instability” due to: (a) rapid technological change, and (b) the field’s unique position between the design-oriented profession of electrical engineering and the theory-oriented discipline of computer science. I expand my discussion about the contextual and disciplinary dimensions of engineering epistemology by reviewing a second project that both examines the knowledge, skills, and predispositions that constitute global competency and identifies strategies for scaling up global engineering education. Third, I describe how my current work on a comparative, cross-national analysis of engineering education research priorities is leading to insights about the development of engineering education epistemologies. I conclude by proposing future research projects that can stimulate further innovations in engineering education.

Brent K. Jesiek is a postdoctoral research associate in Virginia Tech’s Department of Science and Technology in Society. He is also an instructor in the school’s Department of Political Science and is Manager of the Center for Digital Discourse and Culture. Dr. Jesiek holds a B.S. in Electrical Engineering from Michigan Tech and M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in Science and Technology Studies from Virginia Tech. His research examines the epistemological, social, and historical dimensions of engineering and computing, with particular emphasis on subjects related to engineering education, computer engineering, and educational technology. His dissertation on the historical development and contemporary state of computer engineering as a field received a 2007 Outstanding Dissertation Award from Virginia Tech’s Graduate School.