Gourley to represent Penn State at national engineering education conference

Stefanie Tomlinson
March 24, 2015

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Chemical engineering senior Braden Gourley will represent Penn State at an American Society of Engineering Education (ASEE) workshop April 10-11 in Washington, D.C.

The meeting is part of ASEE’s multi-phase initiative, "Transforming Undergraduate Education in Engineering" (TUEE). Supported by the National Science Foundation, TUEE aims to produce a clear understanding of the qualities engineering graduates should possess and to promote changes in curricula, pedagogy and academic culture needed to instill those qualities in the coming generation of engineers.

The series’ Phase I workshop, Synthesizing and Integrating Industry Perspectives, was held in May 2013. Representatives of industry and academia discussed the knowledge, skills and abilities (KSAs) needed in engineering today and in the coming years.

Gourley will participate in Phase II, Insights from Tomorrow’s Engineers, which is bringing together approximately 40 graduate and undergraduate engineering students from a pool of more than 185 nominees to share their views on the strengths and weaknesses of the current chronological curricula structure and teaching methodologies and to suggest changes in the academic setting.

Prior to attending the workshop, students were asked to complete a survey, ranking the importance of 36 KSAs for engineering that were identified by industry at the Phase I meeting.

Gourley said, “It was interesting to read through the results of the survey to see how the KSAs matched up with what we’re doing at Penn State.”

He referenced his role as an engineering ambassador as an example: “We do a lot of outreach to middle school and high school students, explaining what engineers do and the career opportunities available to them. Communication, which is one of the 36 KSAs, is a big part of what we do, so it was good to see that 100 percent of the respondents also ranked this skill as ‘very important.’”

Gourley added that Penn State’s College of Engineering is already spearheading efforts to prioritize other KSAs on the list. “The Leonhard Center, especially, is leading the way in changing engineering education," he said.

After the workshop, he plans to bring back ideas that he feels have the potential to make a positive impact in the college.

“At some point during the workshop, we will come to a consensus about what we would like to see changed about the way aspiring engineers are being taught," said Gourley. "Why not start now?”

The remaining TUEE workshops include Phase III, Voices on Women’s Participation and Retention; Phase IV, Views of Faculty and Professional Societies; and Phase V, Mobilizing the Community for Change.

For more information visit the TUEE website.

Founded in 1893, the ASEE is a global society of individual, institutional and corporate members committed to furthering education in engineering and engineering technology by promoting excellence in instruction, research, public service, professional practice and societal awareness.

Last Updated March 25, 2015