Asee peer logo

Understanding Missions for Engineering Outreach and Service: How New Engineering Faculty Can Learn from Past Generations of Ph.D.-holding Engineers and Engineering Educators

Download Paper |


2015 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Seattle, Washington

Publication Date

June 14, 2015

Start Date

June 14, 2015

End Date

June 17, 2015





Conference Session

New Engineering Educators Division Technical Session 2

Tagged Division

New Engineering Educators

Page Count


Page Numbers

26.1623.1 - 26.1623.8



Permanent URL

Download Count


Request a correction

Paper Authors


Catherine G. P. Berdanier Purdue University, West Lafayette Orcid 16x16

visit author page

Catherine G.P. Berdanier is a Ph.D. Candidate in the School of Engineering Education at Purdue University. She earned her B.S. in Chemistry from The University of South Dakota and her M.S. in Aeronautical and Astronautical Engineering from Purdue University. Her research interests include graduate-level engineering education, including inter- and multidisciplinary graduate education, innovative and novel graduate education experiences, global learning, and preparation of engineering graduate students for future careers. Her dissertation research focuses on studying the writing and argumentation patterns of engineering graduate students.

visit author page


Monica Farmer Cox Purdue University, West Lafayette

visit author page

Monica F. Cox, Ph.D., is an Associate Professor in the School of Engineering Education at Purdue University and is the Inaugural Director of the Engineering Leadership Minor. She obtained a B.S. in mathematics from Spelman College, a M.S. in industrial engineering from the University of Alabama, and a Ph.D. in Leadership and Policy Studies from Peabody College of Vanderbilt University. Teaching interests relate to the professional development of graduate engineering students and to leadership, policy, and change in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics education. Primary research projects explore the preparation of engineering doctoral students for careers in academia and industry and the development of engineering education assessment tools. She is a National Science Foundation Faculty Early Career (CAREER) award winner and is a recipient of a Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers (PECASE).

visit author page

Download Paper |


Understanding Missions for Engineering Outreach and Service: Learning from Past Generations of Ph.D.-holding Engineers and Engineering EducatorsAbstract Teaching, research, and service are the three “arms” of academic success, especially fornew faculty. The roles of teaching and research are relatively concrete in disciplinary standards,but service is more ambiguous. This paper reflects on the service and outreach of priorgenerations of Ph.D.-holding engineers to more fully interrogate the idea of what service meansin the context of being an expert in the field. This paper studies the role of service and outreachin the careers of engineering Ph.D.s in academia and industry through the lens of Golde andDore’s (2006) Stewardship framework. To be a Ph.D., and therefore an expert and steward of adiscipline, means that one is expected to conserve knowledge of the field, generate newknowledge, and transform expertise to diverse applications and audiences. We have extendedthis framework to engineering, which was not originally one of the fields examined through aStewardship lens (Authors). Although service and outreach are not tenets of the three arms ofStewardship as proposed originally by Golde and Dore, we find that they are integral parts of allthree tenets of Stewardship. As part of a larger NSF-funded study on the preparation ofengineering doctoral students, interview data from 40 Ph.D.-holding engineers in a variety ofcareers indicate that practicing engineers identify strong linkages between their engineeringexpertise and outreach, service, and the broader impacts of their work. Commitments to outreachand service were apparent in all three tenets of Stewardship, not just in the “transformation”(teaching-focused) tenet of the framework. Other scholars in engineering education research have noted the linkage between thegoals of engineering and service: The goal of engineering is to harness science and mathematicsto increase the quality and performance for products and processes for human use. Manyscholars look specifically at social justice as an end goal of engineering processes, especially asengineering fields are called upon to solve “grand challenges” of the 21st century (NationalAcademy of Engineering, 2008): Climate change, energy dependence, medicine and healthchallenges, agricultural and nutritional resource dilemmas, and security, just to name a few. Theengineering disciplines work to develop technologies to help people live more productive andhealthier lives. The idea of trying to teach social justice, service, and outreach as part of theengineering curriculum is relatively new, and is guided by the idea that the role of engineering isto “serve society” and that the community can “enhance social justice through their engineeringteaching, research, and service” (Baille, Pawley, & Riley, 2011, p.1). Despite this new focus andterminology, our research shows that Ph.D. engineers do consider aspects of service and justicewithin their careers in academia and industry in their day-to-day activities. This research is important to the engineering education community becauseunderstanding practicing Ph.D.s’ interpretations of the roles of service will help educators moreintentionally expose future engineers to the complex roles of technical leadership, service, andoutreach for our high-tech society, as well as prepare new engineering faculty for theexpectations of service based on the paths of prior generations of engineers and engineeringeducators.ReferencesBaillie, C., Pawley, A., & Riley, D. M. (Eds.). (2012). Engineering and social justice: In the university and beyond. Purdue University Press.Golde, C.M., & Walker, G. (Eds.). (2006). Envisioning the future of doctoral education: Preparing stewards of the discipline - Carnegie essays on the doctorate. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.National Academy of Engineering. (2008). Grand challenges for engineering. Washington, DC: National Academy Press.Author citations removed for blinded review

Berdanier, C. G. P., & Cox, M. F. (2015, June), Understanding Missions for Engineering Outreach and Service: How New Engineering Faculty Can Learn from Past Generations of Ph.D.-holding Engineers and Engineering Educators Paper presented at 2015 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Seattle, Washington. 10.18260/p.24959

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: © 2015 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