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Computational Expertise in Engineering: Aligning Workforce Computing Needs with Computer Science Concepts

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Conference

2011 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition

Location

Vancouver, BC

Publication Date

June 26, 2011

Start Date

June 26, 2011

End Date

June 29, 2011

ISSN

2153-5965

Conference Session

Curricular Innovations in College-Industry Partnerships

Tagged Division

College Industry Partnerships

Page Count

14

Page Numbers

22.360.1 - 22.360.14

Permanent URL

https://peer.asee.org/17641

Download Count

22

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Paper Authors

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Claudia Elena Vergara Michigan State University

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Claudia Elena Vergara, Ph.D., Purdue University. Fields of expertise: Plant Biology and STEM Education Research. Dr. Vergara is a Postdoctoral Fellow at the Center for Engineering Education Research (CEER) at Michigan State University. Her research interest is in STEM education through research projects on instructional design, implementation and assessment of student learning, aimed to improve science, engineering and technology education.

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Mark Urban-Lurain Michigan State University

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Director of Instructional Technology Research & Development
Division of Science and Mathematics Education
College of Natural Science
Michigan State University

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Abdol-Hossein Esfahanian Michigan State University

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Abdol-Hossein Esfahanian received his B.S. degree in Electrical Engineering and the M.S. degree in Computer, Information, and Control Engineering from the University of Michigan in 1975 and 1977 respectively, and the Ph.D. degree in Computer Science from Northwestern University in 1983. He was an Assistant Professor of Computer Science at Michigan State University from September 1983 to May 1990. Since June 1990, he has been an Associate Professor with the same department, and from August 1994 to May 2004, he was the Graduate Program Director. He has developed a number of software packages which have been used both inside and outside the University. He was awarded ‘The 1998 Withrow Exceptional Service Award’, and ‘The 2005 Withrow Teaching Excellence Award’. Dr. Esfahanian has published articles in journals such as IEEE Transactions, NETWORKS, Discrete Applied Mathematic, Graph Theory, and Parallel and Distributed Computing. He was an Associate Editor of NETWORKS, from 1996 to 1999. He has been conducting research in applied graph theory, computer communications, fault-tolerant computing, Information Technology, and databases.

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Daina Briedis Michigan State University

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Daina Briedis is a faculty member in the Department of Chemical Engineering and Materials Science at Michigan State University. Dr. Briedis has been involved in several areas of education research including student retention, curriculum redesign, and the use of technology in the classroom. She is a co-PI on two NSF grants in the areas of integration of computation in engineering curricula and in developing comprehensive strategies to retain early engineering students. She is active nationally and internationally in engineering accreditation and is a Fellow of ABET.

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Neeraj Buch Michigan State University

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Thomas F. Wolff Michigan State University

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Dr. Thomas F. Wolff is Associate Dean of Engineering for Undergraduate Studies at Michigan State University. In this capacity, he is responsible for all activities related to student services (academic administration, advising, career planning, women and diversity programs, etc.) and curricular issues. He is principal investigator on several NSF grants related to retention of engineering students. As a faculty member in civil engineering, he co-teaches a large introductory course in civil engineering. His research and consulting activities have focused on the safety and reliability of hydraulic structures, and he has participated as an expert in three different capacities regarding reviews of levee performance in Hurricane Katrina. He is a three-time recipient of his college’s Withrow Award for Teaching Excellence, a recipient of the Chi Epsilon Regional Teaching Award, and a recipient of the U.S. Army Commander’s Award medal for Public Service. In 2010, he was elected to the National Council of Chi Epsilon, the civil engineering honor society, and serves as National Marshal of that organization.

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Jon Sticklen Michigan State University

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Jon Sticklen is the Director of the Center for Engineering Education Research at Michigan State University. Dr. Sticklen is also Director of Applied Engineering Sciences, an undergraduate bachelor of science degree program in the MSU College of Engineering. He also is an Associate Professor in the Department of Computer Science and Engineering. Dr. Sticklen has lead a laboratory in knowledge-based systems focused on task specific approaches to problem solving. Over the last decade, Dr. Sticklen has pursued engineering education research focused on early engineering; his current research is supported by NSF/DUE and NSF/CISE.

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Cindee Dresen

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Kysha L. Frazier Corporation for a Skilled Workforce

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Louise Paquette Lansing Community College

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Louise A. Paquette,
Lansing Community College,
Mathematics and Computer Science Department.

Degrees: Ed.S. in Curriculum and Instruction with a minor emphasis in Systems Science, Michigan State University, 1982.
M.A.T. in Mathematics Education with a minor emphasis in Computer Science, Michigan State University, 1978.
B.A. in Mathematics Education with a minor in business, Michigan State University, 1969

Professional Experience
Sum 1983: present Mathematics Professor at Lansing Community College (full-time since January 2000)
September 1994: present Coordinator of the 2+2+2 Engineering Program. Responsibilities include: arranging tours, orientations, and meetings; academic advising; mentoring; monitoring progress; and tutoring.
January 1997 – June 2009: Coordinator of the Liberal Studies Divisional Awards.
January 1995 – present: Title III Academic Advisor.
Fall 1996, 1997, 1998, and 1999: Professor at Lyman Briggs College, Michigan State University.
Spring 1994: Visiting Instructor, Mathematics Department, Michigan State University.
September 1982 – December 1985 Assistant Instructor, Mathematics Department, Michigan State University.
Sept 1976 – June 1982: Graduate Assistant, Mathematics Department, Michigan State University.
Sept 1969 – June 1975: High school mathematics/computer science teacher for L’Anse Creuse Public Schools, Mt Clemens, MI 48043.

Presentations: Fall 1996: I gave brief demonstrations of the capabilities of the TI-092 graphing calculator to mathematics faculty. I continued to meet with some faculty throughout Spring 1997 to continue the discussion about the calculator.
July 1995: I gave a presentation “Use of the Graphing Calculator in the Classroom” at the Liberal Studies Division Sharing Meeting at LCC. I also conducted a Professional Development Workshop for the LCC Science Department on use of the TI-82 graphing calculator.
September 1994: I conducted a Professional Development Meeting for the LCC Mathematics Department on the features of the TI-82 graphing calculator.
March 1976: I co-presented a demonstration of the tutorial algebra computer program I co-wrote at the NCTM Detroit meeting.
April 1975: I co-presented a talk and demonstration of the tutorial algebra computer program I co-wrote at the CBI Expo, Macomb Intermediate School District.

NSF Grants: September 2007 – Aug 2009: CPATH CB: Computing and Undergraduate Engineering: A Collaborative Process to Align Computing Education with Engineering Workforce Needs.
July 2007 – June 2013: EEES: Engaging Early Engineering Students to Expand Numbers of Degree Recipients.
January 2010 – Dec 2012: CPACE II: Implementation of a Reformed Curriculum that Integrates Computational Thinking across Engineering Disciplines.

Awards: January 1997: “Striving for Excellence” award from LCC and WLAJ-53ABC.

Curriculum Work: 2006; Development of CPSC131, “Numerical Methods and MATLAB.”

Interests: Integration of technology (graphing calculator and mathematical software) into the classroom to assist the students in understanding mathematical concepts and as a tool in problem solving.

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Abstract

Computational Expertise in Engineering: From Industry to Academia – and Back Again.Aligning workforce computing needs with computer science concepts.Claudia E. Vergara, Mark Urban-Lurain, Abdol-Hossein Esfahanian, Daina Briedis, Neeraj Buch, CindeeDresen, Kysha Frazier, Louise Paquette, Thomas F. Wolff, Jon Sticklen Computational skills required to solve disciplinary problems form a key skill set forengineering graduates. Generalizing from the specific computational skills to the mindset ofcomputational thinking enables engineering graduates to see and apply general principles ofcomputation within their discipline. Globalization, international competition, an increasinglydiverse population, and a rapid growth in computational capabilities and infrastructure are someof the factors faced by institutions of higher education. To respond to these challengesinnovation, dynamism and flexibility in curriculum design based on employer input and programquality improvement principles are necessary [1]. The Collaborative Process to Align Computing Education with Engineering WorkforceNeeds (CPACE) project team addresses these challenges in the context of computationalcompetencies in the engineering disciplines. We developed a partnership among a variety ofstakeholders – post secondary educators represented by and and business, industry and community leaders represented by – to identify thecomputational skills that are essential for a 21st century engineering workforce. Our objective isto revise the undergraduate engineering curricula to address computational problem-solvingcompetencies that are aligned with industry needs and that enable students to integrateconceptual knowledge, technical skills and professional practice. Based on the results of employer interviews and employee surveys we analyzed industryneeds for computational competence both at the practical-tool level and at the computationalthinking level [2, 3]. In this paper we present the results from unpacking the fundamentalcomputer science (CS) concepts from interview and survey data with employers and employees.Since the computational skills identified can be specialized to particular disciplines, industries, oreven companies, we focused on finding common threads in the broad engineering context. Tohelp us identify and map these common threads to CS concepts we drew on the informationtechnology concepts enumerated in the Fluency with Information Technology (FITness)framework [4]. Operationally our mapping process engaged members of the research team doinga mapping on their own, followed by a group discussion to reach a consensus mapping. The chartbelow shows the distribution of the industry data across these computer science concepts. We are using this data-to-CS-concept mapping as a framework to implement curricularrevision in two test-bed programs at (Figure) . Our goal is to better align thecomputational capabilities of students graduating from our engineering programs with the needsof industrial stakeholders. To accomplish this, we are mapping the concepts across all four yearsof the engineering curricula beginning with two engineering disciplines, Chemical and Civil, at and pre-engineering courses at . Our objective is to introducea series of authentic engineering problems developed in consultation with stakeholders fromindustry, employees, and faculty from engineering disciplines to ensure that the problems arerepresentative of engineering practice, disciplinary context, and computing concepts. Theseproblems provide a context where students are required to apply the various computationalconcepts for their solution. Mapping CPACE Interview Data to Computer Science Concepts for EngineeringREFERENCES[1] Lattuca, L. R., Terenzini, P. T., & Volkwein, J. F. 2006. Engineering change: A study of theimpact of EC2000. Baltimore, MD: ABET, Inc.[2] Authors. (2009). Leveraging workforce needs to inform curricular change in computingeducation for engineering: The CPACE project. Computers in Education Journal, Vol XVIIII(4), 84-98.[3] Authors. (2009, October 18-21). Aligning computing education with engineering workforcecomputational needs: New curricular directions to improve computational thinking inengineering graduates. Paper presented at the Frontiers in Education, San Antonio, TX.[4] Being Fluent with Information Technology Committee on Information Technology Literacy,National Research Council. (1999).

Vergara, C. E., & Urban-Lurain, M., & Esfahanian, A., & Briedis, D., & Buch, N., & Wolff, T. F., & Sticklen, J., & Dresen, C., & Frazier, K. L., & Paquette, L. (2011, June), Computational Expertise in Engineering: Aligning Workforce Computing Needs with Computer Science Concepts Paper presented at 2011 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Vancouver, BC. https://peer.asee.org/17641

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