Asee peer logo

On the Use of Outcomes to Connect Students to an Engineering Identity, Culture, and Community

Download Paper |


2016 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


New Orleans, Louisiana

Publication Date

June 26, 2016

Start Date

June 26, 2016

End Date

June 29, 2016





Conference Session

Trends in Accreditation and Assessment

Tagged Division

Liberal Education/Engineering & Society

Tagged Topic


Page Count




Permanent URL

Download Count


Request a correction

Paper Authors


Rebecca A. Bates Minnesota State University, Mankato

visit author page

Rebecca A. Bates received the Ph.D. degree in electrical engineering from the University of Washington in 2004. She also received the M.T.S. degree from Harvard Divinity School in 1993. She is currently a Professor in the Department of Integrated Engineering program at Minnesota State University, Mankato, home of the Iron Range and Twin Cities Engineering programs. She is also a program director at the National Science Foundation for TCUP and HBCU-UP in the Division of Human Resource Development.

visit author page


Cheryl Allendoerfer University of Washington

visit author page

Dr. Allendoerfer is a Research Scientist in the College of Engineering at the University of Washington.

visit author page


Ronald R. Ulseth Itasca Community College

visit author page

Ron Ulseth directs and instructs in the Iron Range Engineering program in Virginia, Minnesota and he teaches in the Itasca Community College engineering program in Grand Rapids, MN. He was instrumental in growing the Itasca program from 10 students in 1992 to 160 students in 2010. In 2009, he worked with a national development team of engineering educators to develop the 100% PBL curriculum used in the Iron Range model. He has successfully acquired and managed over $10 million in educational grants including as PI on 7 grants from NSF. He has been in the classroom, teaching more than 20 credits per year to engineering students for more than 25 years. His specific areas of expertise are in active learning, faculty development, and learning community development. He has been awarded the 2012 Progress Minnesota award, 2012 Labovitz Entrepreneurialism award, and 2012 Innovator of the Year award from the Rural Community College Alliance all for his work in developing the Iron Range Engineering program. His degrees are in civil engineering (B.S., University of North Dakota), and mechanical engineering (M.S., University of Central Florida). He is licensed as a professional engineer in the state of Minnesota.

visit author page


Bart M. Johnson Itasca Community College

visit author page

Bart Johnson is the Provost of Itasca Community College. Prior to this position, he was the Dean of Academic Affairs and an engineering instructor and program coordinator at Itasca. His areas of engineering education research focus are project-based learning, learning communities, professional identity development, and professional competencies. Prior to Itasca, he was an engineer in John Deere's Construction and Forestry Division and a research fellow for Whirlpool Corporation.

visit author page

Download Paper |


The Iron Range Engineering and Twin Cities Engineering programs were developed as outcomes-based programs. Beginning with the ABET a-k outcomes, engineering faculty from around the United States who were well versed in education research imagined the best way to get to those outcomes if they could start from the ground up. The implementation of that vision uses project-based learning to teach engineering design, professional skills and technical competencies to upper-division students. Along with the a-k outcomes, the programs include outcomes in leadership, entrepreneurship and inclusivity.

Rather than use a-k, or a-n, as descriptors, the outcomes are divided into technical, design, and professional outcomes. These outcomes are introduced to incoming students during orientation and then revisited through each of their four semesters as they gather portfolio evidence for each outcome. This paper will present the ways IRE and TCE students and faculty use the outcomes to support student learning, professional development, and preparation to join the broad community of engineers upon graduation.

As a project-based program, the weight of the external value of the outcomes is significant. Students will participate in the breadth of the project work, in the depth of writing and communicating, in the connection to broader contexts, when they are assured that this is what is expected by employers and future colleagues. Faculty have observed that students internalize the outcomes and construct their learning and work to show how they meet these outcomes. This paper will also present a picture of student and graduate perceptions of student outcomes and how they meet these outcomes.

Bates, R. A., & Allendoerfer, C., & Ulseth, R. R., & Johnson, B. M. (2016, June), On the Use of Outcomes to Connect Students to an Engineering Identity, Culture, and Community Paper presented at 2016 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, New Orleans, Louisiana. 10.18260/p.25828

ASEE holds the copyright on this document. It may be read by the public free of charge. Authors may archive their work on personal websites or in institutional repositories with the following citation: © 2016 American Society for Engineering Education. Other scholars may excerpt or quote from these materials with the same citation. When excerpting or quoting from Conference Proceedings, authors should, in addition to noting the ASEE copyright, list all the original authors and their institutions and name the host city of the conference. - Last updated April 1, 2015