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Learning Through Service Engineering Faculty: Characteristics and Changes over Time

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2015 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Seattle, Washington

Publication Date

June 14, 2015

Start Date

June 14, 2015

End Date

June 17, 2015





Conference Session

Models and Practices of Community Engagement for Engineering Faculty

Tagged Division

Community Engagement Division

Tagged Topic


Page Count


Page Numbers

26.1078.1 - 26.1078.19



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Paper Authors


Angela R. Bielefeldt University of Colorado, Boulder

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Angela Bielefeldt is a professor at the University of Colorado Boulder in the Department of Civil, Environmental, and Architectural Engineering (CEAE). She serves as the Associate Chair for Undergraduate Education in the CEAE Department, as well as the ABET assessment coordinator. Professor Bielefeldt is the faculty director of the Sustainable By Design Residential Academic Program, a living-learning community where interdisciplinary students learn about and practice sustainability. Bielefeldt is also a licensed P.E. Professor Bielefeldt's research interests in engineering education include service-learning, sustainable engineering, social responsibility, ethics, and diversity.

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Chris Swan Tufts University Orcid 16x16

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Chris Swan is the Associate Dean of Undergraduate Curriculum Development in the School of Engineering and an associate professor in the Civil and Environmental Engineering department at Tufts University. He has additional appointments in the Department of Education, Jonathan M. Tisch College of Citizenship and Public Service and Center for Engineering Education and Outreach at Tufts. His current engineering education research interests focus on learning through service-based projects and using an entrepreneurial mindset to further engineering education innovations. He also researches the development of reuse strategies for waste materials.

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Kurt Paterson P.E. James Madison University Orcid 16x16

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Kurt Paterson currently serves as Head of the recently launched engineering program at James Madison University. There he has partnered with faculty, students, and stakeholders to deliver a 21st century engineering education for 21st century needs. His scholarly interests include the genesis of innovative workplaces, contribution-based learning, and community-based design. He has served as chair of ASEE's International Division, and was founding chair of ASEE's Community Engagement Division.

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David O. Kazmer University of Massachusetts, Lowell

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David O. Kazmer was born in Cleveland, Ohio and received his undergraduate degree from Cornell University and doctorate from Stanford University’s Design Division. He has been both an engineer and manager in industry, and is now teaching and researching in the areas of engineering design, manufacturing processes, and rheology. He is also a co-Director of UMass Lowell's UTeach STEM teacher preparation program and the Treasurer for the 401c(3) non-profit Museum Institute for Teaching Science.

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Olga Pierrakos James Madison University

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Olga Pierrakos is a Founding Faculty and Associate Professor of the Department of Engineering at James Madison University (JMU). Olga's areas of interest and expertise focus on recruitment and retention, engineering identity, problem based learning and project based learning pedagogies, learning through service pedagogies, engineering design methods and pedagogies, capstone design, assessment of student learning, etc. Olga also conducts research in cardiovascular fluid mechanics and sustainable energy technologies. Olga holds a B.S. and M.S. in Engineering Mechanics, and a Ph.D. in Biomedical Engineering from Virginia Tech.

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Are Learning Through Service Engineering Faculty Unique?Research has found differences in the students and professionals who engage with engineering service-focused programs, compared to the average U.S. engineering students and professionals. This includes ahigher representation of women, and differences in the beliefs and values of these individuals. Ifengineering wants to attract and retain students who value helping society, it is important that engineeringfaculty offer and engage in these engineering service projects, so-called “Learning Through Service”(LTS). LTS is an umbrella term to encompass course-based service-learning (SL) and extracurricularengineering service such as EWB. The barriers and incentives that faculty perceive in engaging with LTShave been previously studied. The research questions are examined in this paper are: (1) How has thenumber and type of engineering faculty who are active in LTS changed over time? (2) How do thedemographic characteristics of engineering faculty who engage in LTS compare to typical engineeringfaculty? (3) Are the interdisciplinary and cross institutional collaboration patterns among LTS facultysimilar or different than other engineering education disciplines?Methods. The research utilized a data mining approach. The number of faculty engaged in the scholarshipof teaching and learning (SOTL) around engineering LTS was defined by the authors of LTS relatedpapers at the American Society for Engineering Education annual conference. The demographiccharacteristics explored included: rank, disciplinary affiliation, gender, industrial experience, professionallicensure, additional administrative roles (Deans, Directors), and institutional characteristics (Carnegieclassifications). The characteristics of the author team were identified: multi-disciplinary (representingmultiple engineering disciplines), inter-disciplinary (authors with engineering and non-engineeringaffiliations), and multiple institutions. The information of interest is often provided in the authorbiographies for the ASEE papers. Additional information was acquired from online profiles and CVs.Faculty considering engineering LTS were also characterized based on participation in LTS-relatedworkshops. The comparative demographic characteristics of non-LTS faculty were defined by the authorsof ASEE papers presented in the Civil Engineering Division and on ethics topics, as well as informationfrom the ASEE Engineering Data Management System. Data collection and analysis is on-going.Results. There is a higher percentage of women active in engineering LTS SOTL (37% in 2013) thanengineering ethics SOTL (28% in 2013), engineering education (24% of ASEE members in 2013), andcivil engineering SOTL (19%), and compared to engineering faculty overall (14.5%). The engineeringfaculty engaged in LTS SOTL in 2013 were over-represented in assistant professors (29%) and non-tenured/tenure track faculty (13%) compared to engineering faculty overall (20% and 9%, respectively).Among the 2012-2014 engineering LTS papers, there were 133 different engineering faculty authors from68 different institutions. Among the engineering LTS faculty, 26% were from research universities withvery high activity (Carnegie RU/VH) and 38% from Bachelor’s or Master’s institutions; by comparison,54% and 16% of engineering faculty overall are employed at these types of institutions, respectively(2013 ASEE EDMS). Engineering faculty engaged in LTS SOTL were over-represented in mechanicaland civil engineers, in comparison to their percentages among engineering T/TT faculty. Nearly a thirdof all LTS papers had authors representing multiple engineering disciplines, higher than in ethicsand civil engineering; this likely indicates that many LTS efforts are multidisciplinary. A lowpercentage of the LTS papers included authors from multiple institutions (13%), about half themultiple-institution collaborations in ethics and civil engineering (30-31%). The lower cross-institutional collaboration may be due to local LTS efforts that are specific to a given institutionor the “newer” nature of LTS with less opportunity for LTS faculty to network and formcollaborative groups. The full paper will explore the implications of these findings.

Bielefeldt, A. R., & Swan, C., & Paterson, K., & Kazmer, D. O., & Pierrakos, O. (2015, June), Learning Through Service Engineering Faculty: Characteristics and Changes over Time Paper presented at 2015 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Seattle, Washington. 10.18260/p.24415

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