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Uncovering Strategies to Improve Student Engagement and Enhance the Engineering Education Curriculum

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Conference

2021 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access

Location

Virtual Conference

Publication Date

July 26, 2021

Start Date

July 26, 2021

End Date

July 19, 2022

Conference Session

NSF Grantees Poster Session

Tagged Topics

Diversity and NSF Grantees Poster Session

Page Count

16

Permanent URL

https://peer.asee.org/37947

Download Count

22

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Paper Authors

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Ekundayo Shittu George Washington University

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Ekundayo (Dayo) Shittu is an Associate Professor of Engineering Management and Systems Engineering at George Washington University. Professor Shittu conducts basic and applied research that take a systems approach to address the different dimensions of decision making under multiple and sequential uncertainties. His focus is on the economics and management of energy technologies, the design and impacts of climate change response policies, sustainability efforts, corporate social responsibility, and patterns of consumer behavior in energy consumption in the emerging era of smart grid technologies. Currently, he is exploring enhancement mechanisms for improved student engagement in the STEM fields and developing strategies to increase the count of underrepresented minorities in engineering education.

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Dor Hirsh Bar Gai George Washington University

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Dor Hirsh Bar Gai is a PhD student in the Department of Engineering Management and Systems Engineering at The George Washington University. He obtained his double bachelor's degrees in systems engineering and philosophy, as well as his masters in energy and environmental management from the George Washington University. Dor's research areas revolve around the nexus of food, energy and water systems and how these relate to various socio-economic dimensions. His research focuses on the regional impact of cities and sustainability driven financial and political decision making. On the local level, his research also explores the influence of community energy projects, and how to overcome the challenges and barriers facing wide-scale community-centered energy independence. Dor is also passionate about improving undergraduate STEM education especially as it pertains to curriculum enhancements in engineering disciplines.   

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Saniya LeBlanc George Washington University

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Dr. Saniya LeBlanc is an associate professor in the Department of Mechanical & Aerospace Engineering at The George Washington University. Her research goals are to create next-generation energy conversion technologies with advanced materials and manufacturing techniques. Previously, she was a research scientist at a startup company where she created research, development, and manufacturing characterization solutions for thermoelectric technologies and evaluated the potential of new power generation materials. Dr. LeBlanc also served in Teach for America and taught high school math and physics in Washington, D.C. Dr. LeBlanc obtained a PhD in mechanical engineering with a minor in materials science at Stanford University where she was a Diversifying Academia Recruiting Excellence fellow, a Sandia Campus Executive fellow, and a National Science Foundation Graduate Research fellow. She was a Churchill Scholar at University of Cambridge where she received an MPhil in engineering, and she has a B.S. in mechanical engineering from Georgia Institute of Technology. In 2018, ASEE named Dr. LeBlanc one of its “20 Under 40 High-achieving Researchers and Educators,” and she received the National Science Foundation CAREER award in 2020.

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Erica Cusi Wortham George Washington University

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Inspired by decades of work alongside Indigenous artists and activists, Dr. Wortham brings a concern for diverse, complex cultural and social contexts to her work at the Innovation Center, SEAS, George Washington University. She has built an interdisciplinary practice spanning art, design, social sciences and engineering with faculty appointments across multiple schools. As a cultural anthropologist, Erica advocates learning from lived experience, the anchor for iterative design and problem-solving processes.
Erica is co-director of GW SEAS’s Innovation Center where she designs learning opportunities that emphasize critical cultural inquiry, storytelling, qualitative research methods, hands-on experimental pedagogies, and substantive community engagement.

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Annamaria Konya Tannon George Washington University

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Annamaria Konya Tannon is the chief evangelist for innovation, entrepreneurship, and invention for the School of Engineering and Applied Science. She is also the executive director of the GW Innovation Center.
Annamaria is a technology entrepreneur and angel investor who has been involved in technology enterprise creation for more than 15 years, primarily in Silicon Valley. She also is the founder and CEO of Equita Accelerator, a non-profit corporation dedicated to advancing women and minority led technology companies. Prior to starting Equita, Annamaria served as a global data strategist for IBM with a focus on machine learning and data integration techniques for social media, and she served as national and global judging chair for Cleantech Open, the world's largest startup competition for emerging clean technology companies.
Annamaria mentors and judges in many startup competitions, including the Astia, Springboard, Startup Chile, and NYC Hackathons. She previously was a guest lecturer on innovation and entrepreneurship at Stanford University and served as an entrepreneur in residence at Stanford University's Technology Venture Lab. She has served on the boards of several companies and non-profit organizations, and she worked for the United Nations International Telecom Union, which focuses on sustainable green technology advances in telecom.

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Abstract

It is imperative to understand the differences across the varieties of existing approaches being implemented to increase student engagement in the curriculum of engineering education. This understanding will help shed light on what works and what does not. Thus, a one-day workshop was convened with an uncommon assembly of stakeholders including professional engineers, engineering faculty, psychologists, pedagogy and educational scientists, students, curriculum developers, entrepreneurial evangelists, the diplomatic community and the industry to examine and create a comprehensive roadmap for including innovative ideas and best practices in curriculum enhancement designed to increase the engagement of engineering students. The need for this workshop is exacerbated by the novelty of integrating service learning and social innovation activities into the undergraduate engineering curriculum. This workshop identified proof-of-concept strategies for IUSE NSF’s exploration and development (E&D) implementation framework. The workshop uncovered fundamental steps of design thinking because increasing the engagement of students is a classic human-centered opportunity. This opportunity prioritizes the engagement of the targeted stakeholders, rather than on experts who are often at a distance from the problems they seek to understand. This workshop took advantage of the academic discovery process through a series of brainstorming sessions and presentations to: (i) understand the nature of the problem around increasing student learning and engagement, and (ii) identify specific intervention strategies on how to integrate service learning and social innovation into an existing curriculum.

The main outcomes of the workshop center on four themes. The first theme, "Rethinking Engineering Education," emphasizes the experiences of workshop participants on the transformations that have taken place in the last decade in engineering education. The efforts along the tracks of the changing direction was the focus of the second theme, "Emerging Frontiers and Trends in Student Engagement Strategies." The industry and non-academic participants at the workshop offered opportunities for potential social or community enhancing solutions or needs. The third theme, "Mechanisms of Integrating Service Learning and Social Innovation," builds on the trends to improve engagement by focusing on how education science can articulate steps toward using community needs to meet experiential learning goals and needs. The fourth theme of the workshop, "Towards a Way Forward," focused on closing the loop to synthesize the highlights and lessons learned from the Workshop.

Shittu, E., & Hirsh Bar Gai, D., & LeBlanc, S., & Wortham, E. C., & Konya Tannon, A. (2021, July), Uncovering Strategies to Improve Student Engagement and Enhance the Engineering Education Curriculum Paper presented at 2021 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access, Virtual Conference. https://peer.asee.org/37947

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