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Engagement in Practice: Establishing a Culture of Service Learning in Engineering Orientation Classes at KSU

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2020 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access


Virtual On line

Publication Date

June 22, 2020

Start Date

June 22, 2020

End Date

June 26, 2021

Conference Session

Community Engagement Division Technical Session 7

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Community Engagement Division

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M. Loraine Lowder Kennesaw State University

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M. Loraine Lowder is the Assistant Dean of Accreditation and Assessment at Kennesaw State University. She received her B.S. in Mechanical Engineering, M.S. in Mechanical Engineering, and Ph.D. in Bioengineering from the Georgia Institute of Technology.

Dr. Lowder’s research interests include image processing, computer-aided engineering, and cardiovascular biomechanics. She is also interested in performing research in the area of the scholarship of teaching and learning.

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Christina R Scherrer Kennesaw State University

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Christina Scherrer is a professor of Systems and Industrial Engineering in the Southern Polytechnic College of Engineering and Engineering Technology at Kennesaw State University. Her research interests are in the application of operations research and economic decision analysis to the public sector and in assessing education innovation. She teaches primarily statistics and logistics courses, at both the undergraduate and graduate level.

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Kevin Stanley McFall Kennesaw State University

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Before coming to Kenesaw State University, Dr. McFall lived abroad for more than ten years. His international experiences began with a study abroad for his entire undergraduate senior year at the Luleå University of Technology in Sweden 50 miles south of the Arctic Circle. After graduating with his B.S. in Mechanical Engineering from Virginia Tech, his international travels continued during masters studies at MIT with an appointment at the Japan Atomic Energy Research Institute in Japan. His work there involved heat transfer in the superconducting magnet systems for the International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor project.

Such positive international experiences led to a research fellow position at Dalarna University in Sweden after graduation from MIT with his M.S. in Mechanical Engineering. His research shifted to artificial intelligence and image/signal processing where he was involved in developing an automated winter road condition sensor using artificial neural networks to classify road condition using image and sound input data. The research fellow position at Dalarna University quickly led to a permanent faculty position in the Department of Computer Engineering and Informatics.

In order to help advance his career in academia, he left Dalarna University to pursue a Ph.D. in Mechanical Engineering at Georgia Tech’s European campus in Metz, France. He continued working in artificial intelligence by developing an alternative method for solving boundary value problems using artificial neural networks. After getting married soon after graduation, he moved his wife to France where he worked as a Visiting Assistant Professor at Georgia Tech for two years before accepting a tenure-track position Penn State's Lehigh Valley campus. His current position in mechatronics at KSU allows Dr. McFall to live closer to family and pursue his passion for scholarship at a student-centered technical university. His current research focuses on autonomous vehicles, directing numerous student teams to develop sensor systems and actuation control for self-driving cars.

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David R Veazie P.E. Kennesaw State University

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Dr. Veazie received his B.S. in Mechanical Engineering from Southern University in 1986, and his M.S. and Ph.D. in Mechanical Engineering from Georgia Tech in 1987 and 1993, respectively. He worked for AT&T Bell Laboratories in New Jersey as a Member of the Technical Staff and was a National Research Council (NRC) Postdoctoral Fellow at the NASA Langley Research Center. In 1994, he joined Clark Atlanta University’s Department of Engineering, and was the Director of the Mechanical Testing Laboratories (MTL) and Associate Director of the NASA funded High Performance Polymers and Composites (HiPPAC) Center. Presently, he is a Professor of Mechanical Engineering and the Director of the Center for Advanced Materials Research and Education (CAMRE) at the Southern Polytechnic State University.

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Service learning was chosen as one of the three high-impact practices to focus on in OurU’s quality enhancement plan (QEP) for regional accreditation review, along with undergraduate research and internships. However, within the college of engineering very little formal service learning was being conducted. One initial area of focus for the engineering college’s service learning opportunities was in the major-specific orientation classes offered by the departments.

Prior to the QEP, service learning was only part of the industrial and systems engineering (ISYE) orientation course. In that course, groups of students were matched to a community partner to solve an appropriate industrial engineering-related problem for them. That term project was designed to be a hands-on approach to the material in the project management, communication, and teamwork content areas of the course, in addition to giving students the opportunity to practice ISYE functions related to their community agency’s problem. In year one of the QEP the college expanded service learning to the mechanical engineering (ME) and mechatronics engineering (MTRE) departments’ orientation courses as well. The ME course already included a popular “pumpkin launch” term project and the MTRE course included a robotics competition. Both events were open to the community for attendance. The course instructors added a service learning component to the projects by offering opportunities for K-12 students attending the event to interact with the engineering students to learn more about engineering, in addition to formal reflection opportunities for the freshmen in the courses.

This paper details the successes and the ‘lessons learned’ through service learning in engineering orientation classes at OurU, including feedback from the instructors and students. We also explain future plans for expansion into other engineering majors’ orientation courses.

Lowder, M. L., & Scherrer, C. R., & McFall, K. S., & Veazie, D. R. (2020, June), Engagement in Practice: Establishing a Culture of Service Learning in Engineering Orientation Classes at KSU Paper presented at 2020 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access, Virtual On line . 10.18260/1-2--34535

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