A seminar by Alan Cheville, Ph.D., program director, Division of Engineering Education and Centers, National Science Foundation

Wednesday, October 5
2:30–3:30 p.m.
Engineering Research Center, ERC 490

We educate student engineers to work in fields with complex technologies, solve complex problems and manage the globally distributed systems we depend on for our future happiness and prosperity.

One of these complex, globally distributed systems is, however, engineering education. The input to our system—students and the societies they are drawn from—is constantly changing. We are arguably in a renaissance of understanding learning and cognition and each week we learn more about the learning processes upon which the system is based. The output is uncertain in both quality and type since it is still difficult to measure learning or define desirable learning objectives. The academic environment in which the system primarily exists is both highly constrained and subject to external stresses.

Examples from the current Research in Engineering Education NSF program description highlight some of the opportunities and difficulties in engineering education. Ultimately such systemic engineering must be done if we are to personalize education, equipping each student with the resources and abilities to decide what is best in life.

This seminar will also be presented Wednesday, October 5, 9 am, in Santan 331 at the Polytechnic campus.

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About the Speaker: R. Alan Cheville, Ph.D., is currently serving as a program director in the Engineering Education and Centers Division at the National Science Foundation, and manages the engineering education research portfolio. Cheville previously served as director of a curriculum reform project involving faculty from multiple units across Oklahoma State University and collaborators at three peer universities. This project, Engineering Students for the 21st century, aligned the behaviors that are taught in engineering degree programs with those that help students succeed in engineering professions. Cheville’s interests are in developing learning and teaching methods that help engineering programs transition from emphasizing acquisition of knowledge to emphasizing student development. Other interests include engineering design, project-based learning, as well as research in high-speed optoelectronics.

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