Asee peer logo

Assessing Engineering Ph.D. Students’ Research Experiences: What is Important to Assess?

Download Paper |

Conference

2020 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access

Location

Virtual On line

Publication Date

June 22, 2020

Start Date

June 22, 2020

End Date

June 26, 2021

Conference Session

Preparation for Graduate Research

Tagged Division

Graduate Studies

Page Count

21

DOI

10.18260/1-2--34175

Permanent URL

https://peer.asee.org/34175

Download Count

53

Request a correction

Paper Authors

biography

Eric Holloway P.E. Purdue University, West Lafayette Orcid 16x16 orcid.org/0000-0002-0343-1709

visit author page

Eric Holloway currently serves as the Senior Director of Industry Research in the College of Engineering at Purdue University, where he focuses on industry research in the College of Engineering.

From 2007-2013, Eric served as the Managing Director and the Director of Instructional Laboratories in the School of Engineering Education at Purdue University. As Director, he was in charge of the building and implementation of the Ideas to Innovation (i2i) Laboratory, which opened in August 2008 and houses classrooms and laboratories used by the 2000 students in Purdue’s First-Year Engineering Program. He oversaw the daily operation of the i2i lab, and was responsible for the personnel, logistics, and technology used in the classroom and labs. Eric also helped build and directed the College of Engineering sponsored Artisan and Fabrication Lab (AFL), which houses a machine shop, carpentry shop, and a prototyping lab used by all students in the College of Engineering for project work. In 2009, he received a New Employee Staff Award of Excellence from the College of Engineering for his work in launching the i2i lab. Eric has served as the university representative on the Haas Technical Education Council, which is committed to developing manufacturing expertise at the high school, trade school, and university level. He received a BSEE from Purdue University in 1992, and a MS in Engineering Education in 2019. He has over 15 years of industrial experience, specializing in manufacturing and electronic controls, for which he holds 3 patents. Eric’s industrial experience includes positions at Toyota, Cummins, Woodward, and TRW Automotive. He is currently pursuing his PhD in Engineering Education from Purdue, with an expected graduation date of Aug 2020.

visit author page

biography

David F. Radcliffe Purdue University, West Lafayette

visit author page

Dr. Radcliffe's research focuses on the nature of engineering; engineering habits of mind, how engineering knowledge is created and shared and how it is learned especially outside the classroom. For 40 years, he has conducted field research on the practice of engineering design, new product development and innovation in variety of industries, in large and small firms with an emphasis on design thinking, most recently in relation to sustainability. He also studies engineering education as a complex system, and the design and evaluation of next generation learning environments. This research is intrinsically multidisciplinary and draws on methodologies from the humanities, social and behavioral sciences and involves collaboration with anthropologists, learning scientists, librarians, designers, and architects.

visit author page

biography

Kerrie A. Douglas Purdue University, West Lafayette Orcid 16x16 orcid.org/0000-0002-2693-5272

visit author page

Dr. Douglas is an Assistant Professor in the Purdue School of Engineering Education. Her research is focused on improving methods of assessment in large learning environments to foster high-quality learning opportunities. Additionally, she studies techniques to validate findings from machine-generated educational data.

visit author page

biography

William C. Oakes Purdue University, West Lafayette

visit author page

William (Bill) Oakes is the Director of the EPICS Program, a 150th Anniversary Professor, and one of the founding faculty members of the School of Engineering Education at Purdue University. He has held courtesy appointments in Mechanical, Environmental and Ecological Engineering as well as Curriculum and Instruction in the College of Education. He is a registered professional engineer and on the NSPE board for Professional Engineers in Higher Education. He has been active in ASEE serving in the FPD, CIP and ERM. He is the past chair of the IN/IL section. He is a fellow of the Teaching Academy and listed in the Book of Great Teachers at Purdue University. He was the first engineering faculty member to receive the national Campus Compact Thomas Ehrlich Faculty Award for Service-Learning. He was a co-recipient of the National Academy of Engineering’s Bernard Gordon Prize for Innovation in Engineering and Technology Education and the recipient of the National Society of Professional Engineers’ Educational Excellence Award and the ASEE Chester Carlson Award. He is a fellow of the American Society for Engineering Education and the National Society of Professional Engineers.

visit author page

Download Paper |

Abstract

This paper presents the theoretical support and background literature for developing an assessment to understand how the research experiences of engineering Ph.D. students shape them as future professionals. Many concerns, both in the U.S. and locally at ASEE, have been raised about Ph.D. students being adequately prepared for professional practice. The paper describes the selection of a theoretical framework based on a literature review, and then the application of theory to specify the measurement definitions in the development of an assessment instrument. The purpose of this assessment instrument is to measure how often in their research experience engineering Ph.D. students had an opportunity to practice aspects that are important to career preparation. An extensive literature review was conducted, focusing on what it means to become a professional, and why becoming a professional is difficult, especially for students. Several theories were considered until one, an ontological approach called ‘ways of being’ was selected which explains why students find it difficult to become a professional. Application of this framework, in the form of a review of the literature of the engineering Ph.D. research experiences, identified the five ontological aspects that are most important for career preparation and should be measured by the assessment; viz. (i) working as a team member, (ii) exposure to collaborator’s form of practice, (iii) exposure to relevant professional practice, (iv) modeling and simulation tasks, and (v) practical skills. These five ontological aspects were defined and operationalized for use in the assessment, for which assessment questions can be written as a next step. This paper adds to the limited literature on engineering Ph.D. students’ research experiences by presenting the process of selecting and applying a theoretical framework, literature review, and defining measurements in an assessment.

Holloway, E., & Radcliffe, D. F., & Douglas, K. A., & Oakes, W. C. (2020, June), Assessing Engineering Ph.D. Students’ Research Experiences: What is Important to Assess? Paper presented at 2020 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access, Virtual On line . 10.18260/1-2--34175

ASEE holds the copyright on this document. It may be read by the public free of charge. Authors may archive their work on personal websites or in institutional repositories with the following citation: © 2020 American Society for Engineering Education. Other scholars may excerpt or quote from these materials with the same citation. When excerpting or quoting from Conference Proceedings, authors should, in addition to noting the ASEE copyright, list all the original authors and their institutions and name the host city of the conference. - Last updated April 1, 2015