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A Broader Impacts Course for Engineering Graduate Students

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2017 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Columbus, Ohio

Publication Date

June 24, 2017

Start Date

June 24, 2017

End Date

June 28, 2017

Conference Session

Analysis of Effectiveness and Impacts of Graduate Programs: Graduate Studies Division Technical Session 8

Tagged Division

Graduate Studies

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Paper Authors


Sriram Sundararajan Iowa State University

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Sriram Sundararajan is a Professor of Mechanical Engineering and Associate Dean for Academic Affairs at Iowa State University. His research areas encompass multiscale tribology (friction, lubrication and wear), surface engineering and mechanical engineering education. He has authored over 70 articles in peer-reviewed journals and conference proceedings and two invited book chapters. He is a Fellow of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME) and serves as an ABET program evaluator on their behalf. He is a steering committee member for the International Conference on Wear of Materials and an executive committee member of the Mechanical Engineering Division of the American Society of Engineering Education (ASEE). He serves as their delegate on the ASEE diversity committee. Prof. Sundararajan has been recognized for his accomplishments with the Young Engineering Faculty Research Award and Early Achievement in Teaching Award at Iowa State University. He received his B.E. degree in Mechanical Engineering from The Birla Institute of Technology and Science, Pilani (India) followed by M.S. and PhD degrees in Mechanical Engineering from The Ohio State University, Columbus, Ohio.

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This paper describes the development and first offering feedback of a course for engineering graduate students aimed at introducing students to the notion of broader impacts of engineering research. During the course, students explored ways in which an engineer’s activities can potentially benefit society and contribute to the achievement of specific, desired societal outcomes. The course incorporated lectures from the instructor and invited speakers. Students developed a personal broader impacts plan that is aligned with their personal and professional interests and goals. Students demonstrated attainment of course outcomes through assignments, class discussions and a final project that incorporated one or more suitable broader impact efforts in the context of their technical research area. The first offering of the course was taken by 14 students and student feedback indicated that 90% of the students gained a better understanding of broader impacts, could better articulate the impacts of their research and understood the importance of intentional efforts to achieve specific societal outcomes. Examples of students implementing their broader impacts projects in the community will also be described.

Sundararajan, S. (2017, June), A Broader Impacts Course for Engineering Graduate Students Paper presented at 2017 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Columbus, Ohio. 10.18260/1-2--27438

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