Pioneers of engineering education focus of Purdue event

Nov 12, 2013

The School of Engineering Education at Purdue is beginning to celebrate its 10th anniversary.

It was the first such academic unit in the country, and a decade later; it claims more Ph.D. graduates than similar programs at other universities.

David Radcliffe, the Kamyar Haghighi Head of Engineering Education, says the annual Engineering Colloquium will pay tribute to the scholars who first studied how to educate future engineers.

“I think it’s profoundly important to recognize those people who were doing important things before it was popular, before it became the hot topic,” he says. “We owe a profound debt of gratitude to those folks for making possible.”

Panelists will be John Lindenlaub, professor emeritus of electrical and computer engineering; Phillip Wankat, Clifton L. Lovell Distinguished Professor of Chemical Engineering and Engineering Education; and Frank Oreovicz, retired education specialist in communication in chemical engineering. A video message from William LeBold, professor emeritus of engineering and director of educational research and information systems, will be shown as well.

Radcliffe says the work from decades ago began to ask important question, such as: What is engineering? What could it be? And who decides? He says finding the answers might shape what the profession is and how it’s taught.

“It could have profound impacts on being in a much more inclusive profession that tends to be attractive to a whole range of people currently not represented.”

As the College of Engineering expands in the coming years, Radcliffe says the program will have a key role in training future professionals.

“We just can’t do it by methodical guesswork, so we have the opportunity to create the world-leading engineering school on the basis of the technical work we do and the way we educate engineers.”

The School of Engineering Education serves undergraduates from various disciplines and has roughly 70 students in the Ph.D. program.

The Engineering Colloquium is Thursday, Nov. 14 at 3:30 p.m. in Armstrong Hall’s Kurz Atrium. More information is HERE.