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  • Full-Time and Part-Time Graduate Enrollment, 2014–2018

Sponsored Content: NCEES

  • Univeristy of Nebraska-Lincoln wins 2019 NCEES Engineering Education Award


  • European Journal Zeroes in on Student Transitions
  • UK Schools Cited for Innovative Engineering Programs


  • Tap Their Excitement


  • Inclusion Starts With Us


  • What’s On Tap for the Feb. 2020 Issue of Prism?


  • Mid-Atlantic Section Conference


By Charles M. Stuppard

The accompanying graphics show trends in full-time and part-time graduate enrollments from 2014 to 2018 in the eight fields with the highest 2018 graduate enrollment: Biomedical Engineering, Civil Engineering, Computer Science (inside engineering), Electrical Engineering, Electrical/Computer Engineering, Industrial/Manufacturing/Systems Engineering, Mechanical Engineering, and Other Engineering Disciplines—a category that contains numerous small programs. For those disciplines, part-time Doctoral enrollment declined by an average of 11 percent. Computer Science (inside engineering), Industrial/Manufacturing/Systems Engineering, and Biomedical Engineering experienced growth in each other enrollment type. While there was growth in full-time doctoral enrollment for Mechanical and Electrical/Computer Engineering, Master’s enrollment and part-time enrollments decreased. Conversely, there was growth in Master’s enrollment in Other Engineering Disciplines, but a decrease in doctoral enrollment. Of the eight disciplines with the highest graduate enrollment, Electrical Engineering had the greatest decline with a 41 percent decrease in full-time master’s enrollment and a 23 percent decrease in part-time master’s enrollment.

Figure 1

Table 1

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Charles W. Durham School of Architectural Engineering and Construction takes $25,000 grand prize for musical arts center project.

The 2019 NCEES Engineering Education Award $25,000 grand prize went to the University of Nebraska-Lincoln Charles W. Durham School of Architectural Engineering and Construction for their submission, Jack H. Miller Center for Musical Arts. Architectural engineering students collaborated with professional engineers, architects, and other professionals to design the structural, mechanical, and electrical systems for the Jack H. Miller Center for Musical Arts on the Hope College campus in Holland, Michigan. The design offers superior acoustics, integrated timber or engineered wood throughout 25 percent of the building, and a rooftop amenity space that can be used year-round.

The NCEES Engineering Education Award is awarded each year to college programs that connect students, faculty, and professional engineers in collaborative projects. “The Engineering Education Award is a great program,” said NCEES Engineering Education Award juror Steven Barrett, Ph.D., P.E. “It’s an outstanding method that celebrates engineering student design and collaboration with professional engineers.”

A jury selected this year’s winners, which also include seven $10,000 awards. The jury was composed of engineering educators, members of state engineering licensing boards, and representatives from several engineering-related societies.

Looking to 2020
NCEES invites EAC/ABET-accredited programs from all engineering disciplines to compete for the 2020 awards by submitting projects that integrate professional practice and education. Projects must be in progress or completed by March 9, 2020. The entry deadline is May 4, 2020. Learn about NCEES Engineering Education Award project ideas, evaluation criteria, and more at ncees.org/award.



In its final issue of 2019, the European Journal of Engineering Education published a special edition on the topic of Transitions in Engineering Education, comprising two invited editorials and six research papers from authors located in Europe, Australia, and the United States. It noted that while engineers typically face several transitions during formal and informal education, the issue focused on two major ones: making the move from secondary to higher education, and taking the first step from formal education to engineering practice. The first of the editorials, written by three academics in the Warwick Manufacturing Group at the University of Warwick, presents a “conceptual framework for depicting the phases of student transition into engineering education,” and argues for realistic and socially-relevant activities to help ease students into the study of engineering. The second editorial, written by James Trevelyan, an emeritus professor at the University of Western Australia, looks at the process of transitioning newly-minted graduates into the workforce. He says there’s a need for more research that tests the relationship between how students acquire practice knowledge and engineering job performance.

Among the six papers published was one by three Irish academics (Una Beagon, of the Dublin Institute of Technology is the lead author), who looked at how first-year students perceived the effectiveness of a problem-based learning design project. Surveys before and after the course found that students felt they had improved across a range of professional skills, thanks to the project. In particular, they said their teamwork and communication skills had improved, as had their understanding of the design process and self-directed learning. The students also said the project improved their confidence and helped them develop friendships—“an important element of a module like this as they transition from secondary to higher education.” Topics covered in the other five papers included an analysis of how students acquire macroethics principles and a look at how many recent graduates in the workplace are disappointed that their jobs don’t allow them to do more to help people and society. LINK: https://www.tandfonline.com/toc/ceee20/44/6?nav=tocList


A paper published jointly last year by the Institution of Engineering and Technology and the Engineering Professors Council in the United Kingdom identified six British universities that were demonstrating new, successful ways to deliver engineering courses and programs that could serve as a template for other schools. The two organizations formed a working group in 2017 to advocate ways to change engineering education so it more effectively graduates students with skills that better meet the needs of businesses, educators and students themselves. The working group cited six new goals engineering education should seek to achieve: incorporating more creativity into the curriculum; broadening the diversity of the student body; placing more emphasis on project work; incorporating more industry engagement in design and delivery; giving students more workplace experience; and ensuring that more student projects require interdisciplinary teams. The paper says the six institutions cited are “excellent models of where strong progress is being made to advance creativity, diversity, project work, industry engagement, work experience, and interdisciplinarity.”

One of the six programs highlighted in the paper is a five-year engineering design course (major) at the University of Bristol. The course aims to graduate top-level engineers who can lead complex engineering projects vital to society. Students undergo a broad, common first-year curriculum, then choose to specialize in mechanical, aerospace or civil engineering, taking technical classes alongside students majoring in those disciplines. The course is unique, the paper says, because students have an opportunity to take bespoke design units, work for a short period in industry, and work on real-world projects. The paper says the combination of design teaching, industrial experience, and challenging, open-ended projects allows students to develop skills in creativity, problem-solving, and entrepreneurship. The course is flexible, so students also have opportunities to take classes from different engineering departments as well as departments outside engineering—which helps foster interdisciplinary design skills. The course also makes students aware of how technical issues are linked to the wide set of social, economic and environmental constraints found in most real-world projects. Currently, the Bristol course has 25-30 students in each year, of whom approximately 65 percent are male and 35 percent are female. Among the other five schools cited are the University of Coventry for its degree in manufacturing engineering, and the University of Sheffield for its Women in Engineering program. LINK: https://www.theiet.org/media/3460/new-approaches.pdf



3-D printers are captivating students and transforming industries. Engineering educators can—and should—make them an integral part of their program.

By Frank A. Fuller

The advancement of technology has always been the foundation of what fascinates and motivates engineers to pursue careers in the field. Over the past century, we have seen accelerated breakthroughs in robotics, cellphones, computers, drones, solid modeling, alternative energy applications, and 3-D printers, among other technologies. For engineering educators, this rapidly evolving landscape raises a key question: How do we efficiently and effectively integrate new technologies into our curriculum in a way that maximizes learning?

In 13 years as an engineering educator and in years of industrial experience, I have never seen a new technology captivate students as much as 3-D printers do. The allure is easy to understand, given rapid prototyping’s almost magical transformation of computer-aided designs into solid objects that can be turned and examined from all angles. My students’ eyes shine with amazement as they watch their drawings being printed to their exact dimensions. Many want to spend extra time designing additional parts and print them outside of class. Employers on my engineering advisory committee reinforce this passion by sharing how 3-D printers save time and money while enabling the production of customized new parts for clients’ machinery. They also constantly recommend more 3-D printer applications in our curriculum to better prepare graduates for the workplace.

Indeed, many of my students tell me about their amazing internship and employment experiences with 3-D printing. They even ask me for recommendations on the best 3-D printers to buy for home use. Engineering undergraduates in disciplines that don’t require a 3-D printing course often ask if they can switch majors. One of my electrical engineering students stopped by my office the other day to say he was considering switching to mechanical engineering, for example. He recently had completed an internship that required him to design 3-D models and then make them on the company’s large printer, and the experience impressed him deeply. He ultimately opted to stay and take several courses related to 3-D printing—but only after several advising sessions that included asking him to reevaluate his initial reasons for majoring in electrical engineering.

The experience made me think about the positive impact that 3-D printing has on student interest in different engineering careers—and if we could integrate 3-D printing throughout our curriculum. The issue arose in our advisory committee and faculty meetings. One discussion centered on including 3-D printing in existing courses that traditionally don’t incorporate the technology. For example, civil engineering courses such as Building Materials and Construction Methods and Architectural Drafting could incorporate 3-D printing of scaled-down building or house designs, maximizing the use of this learning tool. Circuits labs offer a variety of 3-D printing applications, while biomedical engineering has made huge advances in the printing of human tissue from stem cells.

Including 3-D printing in a course’s title proved a great marketing tool. We also found that retitling courses—changing SolidWorks to SolidWorks and 3-D Printing, for example—lets professional engineers and others seeking continuing education credits readily identify the needed content. Our school also developed two new stand-alone courses: Introduction to 3-D Printing and Advanced 3-D Printing. However, they apply only in our applied industrial technology major because our engineering programs already were maxed out in credit hours.

We obtained 3-D printers through grants and our equipment budget, but YouTube videos of the process can be an effective, cheap, and easily implemented option. I made a video on 3-D printing for our engineering technologies program website, for instance, that includes testimonials from employers and students. Thus, 3-D printing can be a marketing tool to increase enrollment and interest in engineering careers.

As engineering educators, we need to constantly investigate new technologies to improve our curriculum. While the best way to implement 3-D printing—or even how to fit more course hours into engineering’s tight curricula—is not always clear, we can start by asking how much is 3-D printing used in non-CAD or design-based engineering disciplines. If there’s a fit, what is the appropriate level of implementation? One thing’s clear: This technology will only continue to transform industries and attract students to engineering. Let’s not squander this great opportunity to increase engagement, relevance, and value.


Frank A. Fuller is department chair and associate professor of engineering technology at Stark State College in North Canton, Ohio.



Engineering educators contribute to our community’s enduring lack of diversity. We also have tools to address it.

By Michael Eastman, Monica L. Miles and Randy Yerrick

Extensive research has claimed that engineering education favors white men at the exclusion of blacks, Latinx individuals, Native Americans, and women. We studied a cohort of longtime engineering educators, three women and seven men, who had elected to enroll in a Ph.D. program focused on STEM education. We soon learned that our group, like most faculty who teach in engineering programs, had little or no background in educational theory and were unaccustomed to engaging with education research. Regularly throughout the Ph.D. program, the cohort was challenged to consider diversity, accepted norms, and for whom higher education is designed.

Our research focused on developing a deep understanding of the perspectives of one white male engineering educator who was confronted with conceptions of his own privilege throughout the Ph.D. program. Roger (a pseudonym) had been a faculty member at a teaching-focused university for nearly 30 years when he enrolled in the Ph.D. program at a research-intensive university. We leveraged this unique circumstance to use ethnographic tools to follow him through four years of a doctoral program that challenged his thinking related to diversity, inclusion, and the culture of engineering education. Not only could we review his written reflections on educational theory, pedagogical strategies, and education research, but we also were able to interview Roger both formally and informally and to observe him in his first attempts to teach using inquiry-based strategies.

Early in the Ph.D. program, Roger shared with us his perspective that he believed in treating all students equally. Other faculty used similar terms, such as “I don’t see color; all students are the same to me.” Roger also said that he believed all students had the same level of opportunity to succeed in his classroom. Through readings and discussions in the Ph.D. program, doctoral faculty asserted that Roger and his colleagues were privileged and that their privilege had influenced their achievements. Despite the consistent and regular challenges, Roger continued to resist the notion that he was privileged.

For Roger, listening intently to the narratives of the black, urban college students he interviewed for a research project initiated a deeply personal reflection on his own family’s situation. His son had taken Advanced Placement courses at a highly ranked high school. Those experiences stood in stark contrast with the struggles of Roger’s project participants, including under-resourced schools, teacher upheaval, and an overall dearth of academic opportunity in the local school district. The research project coincided with his son being offered, and able to afford, an unfunded research position as an undergraduate. This juxtaposition set the stage for Roger to recognize that privilege had indeed played a significant role in his life, and illuminated for us the potency of deeply rooted personal perceptions.

Our country is currently engaged in wide-ranging conversations regarding race, privilege, and opportunity. Our college campuses represent perfect venues to refine those conversations as well as to explore and question established norms through civil discourse and shared purpose. Our engineering communities on those campuses should welcome the chance to look at ourselves in the mirror and ask how we can help those reflections become accurate representations of the larger population.

While a broad base of engineering faculty engages with education research, our various interactions with educators lead us to believe that Roger’s story is representative of the beliefs and biases of the engineering education community at large. How can we thoughtfully consider not only that we may be part of the problem but, more important, that we must be part of the solution? How can we get more faculty to consider alternative teaching methodologies that have been shown to support a diverse body of learners? Current research offers hope that we can indeed create classrooms that are more inclusive, more equitable, and more effective. A grass-roots effort from committed educators willing to promote and argue for more effective learning environments and administrators committed to achieving retention and graduation goals for all students could help make engineering education more welcoming and more effective for all students.


Michael G. Eastman is an associate dean and professor in the College of Engineering Technology at Rochester Institute of Technology. Monica L. Miles is a coastal literacy specialist in the New York Sea Grant program at Cornell University. Randy Yerrick is an associate dean and professor in the University at Buffalo’s Graduate School of Education. This article was adapted from “Exploring the White and Male Culture: Investigating Individual Notions of Equity and Privilege in Engineering Education” in the October 2019 issue of the Journal of Engineering Education.


Job-hunting? Check out scores of openings geared to engineering education on ASEE’s Classifieds Website, including these:

1. Aeronautical Engineering -- 1 opportunity

2. Computer Engineering & Electrical Engineering -- 3 opportunities

3. Mechanical Engineering -- 3 opportunity

Visit here for details: http://https://www.asee.org/sales-and-marketing/advertising/classified-advertising/job-postings



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FEATURE: HIGHLIGHTS—A peek at ASEE’s upcoming 2020 Annual Conference in Montreal.



Abstracts must be received by January 31 for the Spring 2020 ASEE Mid-Atlantic Section Conference hosted by Johns Hopkins University. The theme of the March 27–28 conference is Inter- and Multi-Disciplinary Engineering Education. Learn more here.


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