WPI's Innovative Spirit in Engineering Education and K-12 Outreach on Display at ASEE Conference

With more than 12,000 members (include deans, department heads, faculty members, and students at universities around the nation), the American Society for Engineering Education is the nation's premier organization dedicated to promoting excellence in engineering education. Toward that end, thousands of members gather each summer for the annual ASEE conference to share new approaches for preparing college students to be effective and innovative engineers in a rapidly-changing global economy and to help assure an adequate engineering workforce for the future by reaching out to girls and boys in elementary and secondary schools.

Among the papers presented at this year's conference, held in Hawaii in late June, were nine written by 14 WPI faculty and staff members and one current student. Seven of those papers were published in the conference proceedings, and two were nominated for a Best Paper Award. The WPI papers cover a broad range of topics, from K-12 engineering education programs (particularly those targeted at girls), to teaching mathematics with real-world engineering examples, to using simulated laboratory experiments in chemical engineering, to providing engineering undergraduates with a powerful global project experience.

Here are the 11 WPI papers, with links to the full text for the nine included in the conference proceedings:

Assessment Results from a Three-Year Project to Teach Engineering in Grades K-6, John Orr, provost; and Jill Rulfs, associate professor, biology and biotechnology*

Computer Simulation of Laboratory Experiments for Enhanced Learning, William Clark, associate professor of chemical engineering; and David DiBiasio, head, Chemical Engineering Department

Contextual Problem-Solving as a Vehicle For Gaining Cross-Cultural Understanding, Richard Vaz, dean, Interdisciplinary and Global Studies Division; and Natalie Mello, director of global operations

Curriculum Development and Integration for K-6 Engineering Education, Megan Holmes, graduate student, biomedical engineering; Jill Rulfs; and John Orr

Encouraging Use of Entrepreneurship Information Resources: Faculty/Library Collaboration, Christine Drew, manager, instruction and outreach, Gordon Library

Fulfilling ABET Outcomes by Sending Students Away, Natalie Mello; David DiBiasio; and Richard Vaz

Integrated Research, Education, and Outreach Experiences for Undergraduates at Worcester Polytechnic Institute, H. Susan Zhou, assistant professor of chemical engineering; Terri Camesano, associate professor of chemical engineering; and David DiBiasio

Long-Term Effects of a Middle School Engineering Outreach Program for Girls: A Controlled Study  (Nominee, Best Paper Award), Chrysanthe Demetry, associate professor of mechanical engineering, and Shelley Errington Nicholson, director of women's programs**

A Model for Vertical Integration of Real-World Problems in Mathematics  (Nominee, Best Paper Award), Dennis Berkey, President, WPI; and Bogdan Vernescu, head, Mathematical Sciences Department

* additional author: Paula Quinn, independent consultant

** other authors: Jeanne Hubelbank, WPI evaluation consulting; Stephanie Blaisdell, independent consultant; Paula Quinn; Elissa Rosenthal, marketing research consultant; Suzanne Sontgerath, independent consultant

July 10, 2007

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