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Excellence in Undergraduate Engineering Education : The Challenge for Research-oriented Programs in Engineering and Computer Science

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2012 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


San Antonio, Texas

Publication Date

June 10, 2012

Start Date

June 10, 2012

End Date

June 13, 2012



Conference Session

Off the Beaten Path

Tagged Division

New Engineering Educators

Page Count


Page Numbers

25.602.1 - 25.602.14



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Paper Authors


Cynthia C. Fry Baylor University

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Cynthia C. Fry is a Senior Lecturer of computer science and Assistant Dean of the School of Engineering & Computer Science, Baylor University.

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Kenneth W. Van Treuren Baylor University

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Ken Van Treuren is a professor in the Department of Mechanical Engineering at Baylor University, currently serving as the Associate Dean for Research and Faculty Development for the School of Engineering and Computer Science. He received his B.S. in aeronautical engineering from the USAF Academy in Colorado Springs, Colo., and his M.S. in engineering from Princeton University in Princeton, N.J. After serving as USAF pilot in KC-135 and KC-10 aircraft, he completed his D.Phil. in engineering sciences at the University of Oxford, U.K., and returned to the USAF Academy to teach heat transfer and propulsion systems. At Baylor University since 1998, he teaches courses in laboratory techniques, fluid mechanics, energy systems, aeronautics, wind energy, and propulsion systems. Research interests include experimental gas turbine heat transfer and wind energy.

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Excellence in Undergraduate Engineering Education – The Challenge for Research- Oriented Programs in Engineering and Computer ScienceHow does a consistently ranked undergraduate engineering and computer science program retainits excellence in undergraduate education, while also aspiring to become an outstanding researchinstitution? This is a difficult proposition, faced by many institutions with mixed results.Clearly, the approach must be intentional in how it addresses the continued emphasis ininnovation and excellence in teaching while also emphasizing excellence in research. Thefaculty of the institution must be given tools to enable them to grow in both of these areas. Thispaper will address this need by documenting the design and implementation of a series ofInnovation in Teaching seminars developed for the engineering and computer science faculty atXYZ.At this point in the history of the School, having just developed a school strategic plan, it isextremely important to begin to formulate the philosophy needed to maintain the teachingfoundation for years to come. In XYZ’s history and in our School’s short history, quality andinnovation in teaching has been the distinctive that has set us apart. As we continue to grow,however, we must be intentional about maintaining the dual tracks that will continue to set XYZapart – teaching and research – and to give our new and current faculty tools to enable them togrow in both of these areas.This year a series of workshops were designed and developed for the varied needs of the faculty,both old and new, in the art and practice of undergraduate engineering education. While theworkshops varied from a macro-level discussion of the School’s core competencies in teachingto two day-long workshops in the mechanics of teaching, collaboration was sought acrosscampus lines and across different institutions, leveraging the experiences of those involved insimilar endeavors in other academic or administrative units.This paper will document the benefits to the School including the sharing of “best practices” inteaching the various undergraduate courses, in much the same way as a local version of an ASEEor SIGCSE conference, but with the advantage of being uniquely suited to XYZ’s culture. Theassessment of the effectiveness of this endeavor will be presented, along with plans to generalizethese “core values in teaching” for the academic unit’s use in maintaining excellence inundergraduate engineering education.

Fry, C. C., & Van Treuren, K. W. (2012, June), Excellence in Undergraduate Engineering Education : The Challenge for Research-oriented Programs in Engineering and Computer Science Paper presented at 2012 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, San Antonio, Texas. 10.18260/1-2--21359

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