Purdue's top showing among new ASEE Hall of Fame members underscores pioneering leadership in engineering education

Seven Purdue-affiliated honorees were selected when the American Society for Engineering Education named the newest members of its Hall of Fame.

The Purdue College of Engineering’s trailblazing role in enriching how engineers are prepared took center stage when the American Society for Engineering Education (ASEE) named the newest members of its Hall of Fame. Seven of the 22 individuals and three teams added to the circle of standouts that have affiliations with Purdue’s pioneering School of Engineering Education (ENE), and no other university appears more than once on the new inductee list.

The first class of new ASEE Hall of Fame members in 30 years was announced Oct. 10, 2023, in Washington, D.C. at the 130th Anniversary Gala of ASEE — a 12,000-plus member nonprofit organization committed to furthering education in engineering and engineering technology. Purdue-affiliated honorees were Leah Jamieson, William Oakes, Matthew Ohland, Donna Riley, Karl Smith, Ruth Streveler and Phillip Wankat.

“The ASEE Hall of Fame honors engineering and engineering technology education leaders in all settings whose work has made a significant impact on engineering education,” said ASEE President Doug Tougaw, professor and chair of electrical and computer engineering at Valparaiso University. “The number of inductees affiliated with the Purdue School of Engineering Education reflects its commitment to the discipline and underscores the school’s impact on engineering education scholarship and research.”

The seven Purdue-affiliated honorees are current or former faculty with primary or courtesy appointments in Purdue ENE, which became the first engineering education school in the U.S. when it was established in 2004. Since then, ENE has been a national and global leader in spearheading dialogue and innovation to define, build and shape the emerging discipline. The school maintains a strong research portfolio in pre-college, higher education and engineering workplaces to advance the student experience, as well as improve engineering education culture and workforce practices.

ASEE Hall of Fame nominations were considered based on areas of influence in which a group or individual could have significant impact, including pedagogy (method and practice of teaching), broadening participation, research, service or leadership, commercialization of technology, entrepreneurship and practice.

“So many of our current and former faculty, who are all true pioneers in this discipline, have been recognized by ASEE,” said ENE’s interim head, Edward Berger. “The ripple effects of their leadership, student mentorship, collaborations and deep intellectual innovation have been vital to building our discipline and ensuring its future. In this 20th academic year of our operation as a school, these awards are high-profile symbols of our continued leadership in the community.”

The Purdue-affiliated ASEE Hall of Fame inductees:

Leah Jamieson

Leah Jamieson head shot

The Ransberg Distinguished Professor in the Elmore Family School of Electrical and Computer Engineering, professor by courtesy in engineering education, and the John A. Edwardson Dean Emerita of Engineering, has been an educator at Purdue for more than 47 years.

She is most widely known as co-founder of EPICS (Engineering Projects in Community Service) at Purdue, a program in which students earn academic credit for multi-year, multidisciplinary, team-based design-build projects in partnership with not-for-profit and education organizations. Her decade of leadership saw the program grow nationally and internationally, with EPICS recognized for innovation in engineering education through many awards including the ASEE Carlson Award and the National Academy of Engineering Gordon Prize.

In addition to championing the power of connecting engineering to community, Jamieson has become a spokesperson and activist for change in engineering education, co-leading the ASEE report “Innovation with Impact: Creating a Culture for Scholarly and Systematic Innovation in Engineering Education.” She also advocates for diversity, equity, inclusion and belonging in engineering, as well as recognition of engineering education as an important discipline in its own right.

William Oakes

Bill Oakes head shot

The professor of engineering education also serves as assistant dean for experiential learning, 150th Anniversary Professor and director of EPICS.

He made a career transition from jet engine designer to higher education 31 years ago with the aim of making an impact on the field of engineering. Oakes was assigned to EPICS shortly after joining Purdue’s Department of Freshman Engineering (the precursor to the First-Year Engineering Program) in 1998. This flipped his view of engineering design and connected it to meeting human, community and environmental needs. He became EPICS co-director in 1999 and director in 2007. Under his leadership, the program has delivered more than 300 projects from Purdue, created an international consortium of 50-plus institutions and expanded to include more than 100 middle and high schools in 15 states. 

His early work with colleagues from the Purdue colleges of Education and Science positioned him as one of ENE’s founding faculty members. Oakes is passionate about broadening the impact of engineering education and opportunities for students and communities around the world.

Matthew Ohland

Matthew Ohland head shot

The Dale and Suzi Gallagher Professor in Engineering Education has found the most significant educational failures occur when engineering students are assigned to teams and left to figure it out for themselves.

During his 27-year career in engineering education, Ohland has focused his research and innovation on improving the team experience to make it safe and productive for students. He came to Purdue from Clemson University in 2006, bringing CATME Team Tools, a system he spearheaded to ensure that no engineering student has an unmanaged team experience. The online system has been utilized by more than 2 million students worldwide since it went live in 2005. During that time, Ohland also developed the MIDFIELD project, which is a database that enables research using student data from multiple universities.

Opportunity and access to the discipline for a broad spectrum of students also has been a driving force for Ohland, and he has advised numerous graduate students.

Donna Riley

Donna Riley head shot

The former head of ENE (2017-2023) spent the past 22 years of her career connecting engineering with social justice.

Her research focuses on integrating engineering with ethics, communication, social analysis, lifelong learning and how those skill sets help in the formation of engineering professionals. Riley made an impact on the discipline by building a first-in-the-nation program at Smith College that employs feminist and critical pedagogies, integrates engineering and the liberal arts, and roots curriculum in a context of sustainability.

She also led the effort to develop a National Science Foundation program that focused on structural and cultural change in engineering and computer science departments. Riley now serves as the Jim and Ellen King Dean of Engineering and Computing at the University of New Mexico.

Karl Smith

Karl Smith head shot

As an engineering educator and researcher for more than 50 years, the professor emeritus of cooperative learning spent 40 of those years working with faculty to redesign their courses and programs to improve student learning.

Now retired, Smith was among the faculty and administrators who helped to start ENE in 2004, and he worked to build its research and innovation capabilities. His impact in the classroom has been significant. He adapted the cooperative learning model to engineering education and then trained faculty on how to incorporate the model into their classrooms.

Through his work, thousands of educators gained the confidence and skills to create for their students a sense of belonging and membership in a community, which has led to more engaged and deep learning.

Ruth Streveler

Ruth Streveler head shot

Throughout her 29-year career in engineering education, Streveler has tried to answer two questions: 1) Why are some engineering concepts so difficult to learn? and 2) Can learning to conduct research about education give one the knowledge to teach more effectively?

Now professor emerita of engineering education, she focused her research on difficult concepts in engineering science and co-created a concept inventory to measure students’ conceptual understanding of the thermal sciences. After co-founding the Center for Engineering Education at the Colorado School of Mines, she made a national impact on the discipline with her National Science Foundation-funded workshop series aimed at helping faculty across the country learn to conduct high-quality education research.

Streveler retired in 2023 after 17 years at Purdue ENE.

Phillip Wankat

Phillip Wankat head shot

Before he retired from ENE in 2017, Wankat’s career was driven by chemical engineering research and a passion for teaching.

He was the first to study the structure of engineering education research, and he made an impact on the discipline by introducing instruction on the practice of teaching into the formal curriculum of PhD students studying engineering education in the U.S. He even wrote the textbook for the course.

Now the Clifton L. Lovell Distinguished Professor Emeritus of Chemical Engineering and professor emeritus of engineering education, Wankat has served in many roles at Purdue. They have included heading the Department of Freshman Engineering and the Division of Interdisciplinary Engineering Studies, as well as directing Continuing Engineering Education and ENE’s undergraduate degree programs.