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Assembling the Ideal Doctoral Dissertation Committee in Engineering Education

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2013 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Atlanta, Georgia

Publication Date

June 23, 2013

Start Date

June 23, 2013

End Date

June 26, 2013



Conference Session

Tricks of the Trade

Tagged Division


Page Count


Page Numbers

23.208.1 - 23.208.16



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Paper Authors


James J. Pembridge Embry-Riddle Aeronautical Univ., Daytona Beach

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James J. Pembridge is an Assistant Professor in the Freshman Engineering Department at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University. He earned a B.S. in Aerospace Engineering, M.A. Education in Curriculum and Instruction, and Ph.D. in Engineering Education from Virginia Tech. His research has focused on mentoring as pedagogy for project-based courses and understanding the adult learning characteristics of undergraduate students.

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Stephanie Cutler Virginia Tech

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Dr. Stephanie Cutler was awarded her Ph.D. from the Department of Engineering Education at Virginia Tech. Dr. Cutler’s dissertation focused on how engineering education research is adopted into practice, specifically how Research Based Instructional Strategies are implemented in the statics classroom. Dr. Cutler received her B.S. in Mechanical Engineering from Virginia Commonwealth University and her M.S. in Industrial and Systems Engineering with an emphasis on Human Factors from Virginia Tech.

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Assembling the Ideal Doctoral Dissertation Committee in Engineering EducationThe engineering education PhD has been rapidly growing over the past decade. As of right nowthere are 20 institutions that offer some type of doctoral degree in engineering education. Thesedegrees include engineering PhD’s with a concentration in engineering education, PhD’s inSTEM education, or Engineering Education PhD’s degrees such as such as those offered atVirginia Tech, Purdue, and Utah State University.The field of engineering education offers a new context that involves an interdisciplinaryapproach requiring a knowledge of engineering curricula, pedagogy, student learning, andeducational theory pertaining to learning sciences as well as methodologies (both qualitative andquantitative) that differ from traditional engineering. While education and engineeringperspectives are the most common, recent studies in engineering education have requiredcollaboration among a multitude of fields including: computer science, business, management,information science, and many more . This new field offers a challenge to doctoral studentsseeking to achieve a degree in the field, especially when selecting doctoral committee memberscapable of directing and supporting students to the successful completion of the degree.Therefore, this paper addresses the research question: What are the most importantcharacteristics of doctoral committee members for a doctoral student pursuing an engineeringeducation PhD?This paper utilizes a Delphi method to identify the key technical and personal characteristics ofmembers on an Engineering Education doctoral committee. Participants of the Delphi Methodinclude 10 PhD’s who received their degrees in Engineering Education within the past 4 years.The Delphi was conducted through three rounds in order to achieve consensus among allparticipants. Findings provide a useful framework for engineering education doctoral studentswhen selecting the type of committee members.

Pembridge, J. J., & Cutler, S. (2013, June), Assembling the Ideal Doctoral Dissertation Committee in Engineering Education Paper presented at 2013 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Atlanta, Georgia. 10.18260/1-2--19222

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