Overview of Thursday Opening Workshops


On Thursday afternoon, the conference will begin with four highly interactive workshop sessions - each topic area featured was selected for their timeliness and value. The workshops will provide concentrated professional development and the range of topics offers opportunities for everyone from new faculty members to the most experienced educators to expand their skills and knowledge. A list of the scheduled workshops is given below.

To download a copy of each workshop description see the Program schedule.


Thursday, 1:00 p.m. – 2:45 p.m.

Thursday, 3:15 p.m. – 5:00 p.m.


Thursday Workshop Information

Workshop A: Thursday 1:00 - 2:45 pm 
First-Year Engineering Programs
Room: 318 Benedum Hall

Matt Ohland, Purdue University
Kerry Meyers, University of Pittsburgh and University of Notre Dame
Holly Matusovich, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University

This workshop will present the elements of multiple successful but different First-Year Engineering programs including:

  • program structures / program types
  • content areas (computer programming, design, discipline specific projects, technical communication)
  • administration and logistics (teaching, grading, etc.)
  • advising

Workshop participants will be asked to share the aspects of First-Year Engineering programs that have been particularly successful (or unsuccessful) at their institutions. Finally, participants will have the opportunity to draft and present a First-Year Engineering Program Structure that would be possible at their institution.

Workshop B: Thursday 1:00 - 2:45 pm 
Service-Learning in Engineering, Technology and Computing
Room: 309 Benedum Hall

William Oakes, Purdue University
Dan Budny, University of Pittsburgh

Goal of the workshop is to guide participants through the process of how to integrate service-learning into their own courses. Service learning is a rapidly growing pedagogy in higher education and within engineering, technology and computing. Service-learning provides a learning environment that is very well-matched with ABET. Students can learn strong technical skills while developing teamwork, communication and leaderships skills. The community and human context of service-learning provides rich learning experiences for contemporary social, global and ethical issues. Service-learning also provides the kind of curricular efficiency necessary to meet the attributes called for in the National Academy's Engineer of 2020. Evidence suggests that service-learning also has the potential to increase participation among underrepresented populations within engineering, technology and computing. This interactive workshop will provide an introduction to service-learning and allow participants to explore how it could be integrated into their own courses and curricula. Resources, partnerships and potential barriers will be discussed to provide strategies for successful implementation at the participants' own institutions.

Workshop C: Thursday 3:15 - 5:00 pm 
Student development: An alternative to "sink or swim"
Room: 318 Benedum Hall

Raymond B. Landis, California State University, Los Angeles

"Sink or Swim." For decades that policy has determined the success or failure of America's first-year engineering students. The general paradigm has been to put up a difficult challenge and "weed out" those students that don't measure up. Fortunately, engineering education in the United States is undergoing a revolution. We are in the process of a shift from the "sink or swim" paradigm to one of "student development." Engineering colleges all across the nation are revising their freshman year curricula with the primary goal of enhancing student success.

Basic concepts of "student development" defined as facilitating the growth, change, and development of first-year engineering students in areas that will enhance their success in engineering study will be discussed. Approaches for building first-year engineering students into a supportive community and for strengthening students' commitment to engineering will be described. Specific attitudes and behaviors that need to be changed will be delineated and pedagogical approaches for changing those attitudes and behaviors will be presented.

Topics for discussion are:

  • Building students in an Intro to Engineering course into a supportive, learning community
  • Strengthening the commitment of first-year engineering students through an Intro to Engineering course
  • Facilitating change in the attitudes of students in an Introduction to Engineering course to those appropriate to success in math/science/engineering coursework
  • Facilitating change in the behaviors of students in an Intro to Engineering course to those appropriate to success in math/science/engineering coursework
  • Involving first-year engineering students in co-curricular activities

Workshop D: Thursday 3:15 - 5:00 pm 
High School Students Expectations of Engineering
Room: 309 Benedum Hall

John Uhran, University of Norte Dame
Panelists: Margaret Pinnell, Dayton University
Ben Brubaker, PLTW Instructor, Reilly High School, South Bend IN
Matthew Modlin, PLTW Instructor, Reilly High School, South Bend, IN
Mary Ellen Scott, Director of Pre-Engineering, St Joseph Academy, Cleveland, OH
HS and College students

What are High School students expectations of engineering and what do they see as necessary to move forward in the discipline. To help increase the interest of engineering within the K-12 student population we must first understand what these students are thinking. Thus, this session will include input from students within the University and students in High School. In addition various individuals involved with K-12 education will be present to provide their input. Two panels are planned for this session: one of High School and College students and the other of those involved in both teaching and studying high school students going into an engineering program.