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Engagement in Practice: Project-Based Community Engagement Model Preliminary Case Studies

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2021 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access


Virtual Conference

Publication Date

July 26, 2021

Start Date

July 26, 2021

End Date

July 19, 2022

Conference Session

Community-Engaged Engineering Education Challenges and Opportunities in Light of COVID-19 Paper Presentations 2

Tagged Divisions

Liberal Education/Engineering & Society, Community Engagement Division, and Equity, Culture & Social Justice in Education

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Paper Authors


Paul A. Leidig P.E. Purdue University at West Lafayette

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Paul A. Leidig is a PhD student in Engineering Education and a member of the instructional team for the Engineering Projects In Community Service (EPICS) program at Purdue University in West Lafayette, Indiana. He received his Bachelors of Science in Architectural Engineering from the Milwaukee School of Engineering and Masters of Science in Civil Engineering from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Mr. Leidig is licensed as a Professional Engineer in the state of Colorado and has six years of industry experience in structural engineering consulting. Throughout his student and professional activities, he has focused on community-engaged engineering and design for over thirteen years.

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William C. Oakes Purdue University at West Lafayette Orcid 16x16

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William (Bill) Oakes is a 150th Anniversary Professor, the Director of the EPICS Program 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.

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Existing community engagement and service-learning models intrinsically focus on placement-based experiences. This matches much of the early work in service-learning and fits those contexts well. However, engineering community engagement is typically project-based, which introduces elements and considerations not explicitly covered by these existing models. Balancing the many aspects and interconnections of high-impact community engagement is challenging. A project deliverable is central to many engineering experiences, while the project process, including activities and relationships, also binds the system and experience together. Both of these generate and redistribute value to the stakeholders from the resources input. A visual model has been developed which facilitates reflection on program design, development, and assessment. The model drives intentional consideration, definition, and organization of stakeholders, project deliverables, project process, recourses input, and value produced.

This newly created model has been applied to two cases, as examples of how it can be utilized across diverse programs. One program is large and has a strong emphasis on design. The second is smaller and focused on outreach. Both engage primarily engineering students and seek to balance the interests of multiple partners. The model is shown to be adaptable for these differing cases and provides an effective framework for reflection on their structures. The model offers opportunities to explicitly define stakeholders as well as to highlight and discuss both the recourses provided and the value gained by each of the various stakeholders through the engagement project deliverables and process. Examples are shared from each of the cases considered in this paper. Discussion is included on the value of the modeling process, in addition to where the model can be applied as a practical program tool or scholarly theoretical framework. Future work will include refining the model and adding tools to make the model even more helpful to practitioners and researchers.

Leidig, P. A., & Oakes, W. C. (2021, July), Engagement in Practice: Project-Based Community Engagement Model Preliminary Case Studies Paper presented at 2021 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access, Virtual Conference. 10.18260/1-2--37042

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