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University-community partnerships and program development in pre-college engineering education

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2013 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Atlanta, Georgia

Publication Date

June 23, 2013

Start Date

June 23, 2013

End Date

June 26, 2013



Conference Session

Secondary (6-12) Outreach

Tagged Division

K-12 & Pre-College Engineering

Page Count


Page Numbers

23.1283.1 - 23.1283.13



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Paper Authors


Ethan Alexander Peritz Tufts Center for Engineering Education and Outreach

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Undergraduate researcher and curriculum developer focused on expanding the breadth and depth of engineering programs in public schools.

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Morgan M Hynes Arizona State University

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Morgan Hynes is a Research Faculty Associate at Arizona State University
conducting research on the impact of product archaeology dissection activities
on students’ knowledge and abilities to engineer in broader contexts. Before
joining ASU, Hynes was a Research Assistant Professor in the Education
Department and Education Research Program Director at the Center of
Engineering Education and Outreach at Tufts University. Hynes received his
B.S. in Mechanical Engineering in 2001 and his Ph.D. in Engineering Education
in 2009 (both degrees at Tufts University).  In his current positions, Hynes
serves as PI and Co-PI on a number of funded research projects investigating
engineering education in the K-12 and college settings. He is particularly
interested in how students and teachers engage in and reflect upon the
engineering design process. His research includes investigating how teachers
conceptualize and teach and how students engage in engineering through in-
depth case study analysis.

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University-community partnerships and program development in pre-college engineering educationWith the increasing discussion on STEM principles in K-12 education, specifically onengineering skills and practicum, public schools look to university-based education researchersfor curriculum development. These partnerships are low cost to the school district, yet theyremain mutually beneficial. Such is the nature of the growing relationship between TuftsUniversity and Somerville High School, which is initiating a four year “pre-engineering”program for students in its Center for Career and Technical Education (CTE) with the help of theCenter for Engineering Education and Outreach (CEEO). This “pre-engineering” program drawsfrom a number of introductory collegiate engineering and service learning courses, focusing onproject-based, interactive class work, some elements of an inverted classroom model, andconstructionism. Additionally, the program’s development reveals issues that can arise incommunity-university partnerships, specifically the vital importance of communication betweenboth parties. Programs like “pre-engineering” also provide university students and faculty withopportunities for outreach and community involvement, incorporating a rare service record intothe heavily prescribed collegiate engineering track. In this paper, we discuss these issues as wellas the focus on engineering as more than a career path for students who are in accelerated mathand science programs, stressing the importance of the social functions and components ofengineering projects. We will also describe the four-year track that constitutes the “pre-engineering” program as an intentional progression from basic knowledge of structure, materials,and drafting to complete ownership over all components of an engineering service project in acapstone requirement. Each year builds an increasing awareness of the dynamic engineeringdesign process as a guide, tool, and resource for engineers of all experience levels and fields.We draw upon appropriate math and science skills while also challenging students to considerbudgetary restrictions, organizational efficacy, and knowledge of human factors. We hope toilluminate the mutually beneficial outcomes of these community partnerships and establish asolid framework for engineering preparation and instruction in secondary education.

Peritz, E. A., & Hynes, M. M. (2013, June), University-community partnerships and program development in pre-college engineering education Paper presented at 2013 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Atlanta, Georgia. 10.18260/1-2--22668

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