Leonhard Center recognized for interactive engineering education workshop

January 20, 2017

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — A team of educators from the Leonhard Center for the Enhancement of Engineering Education in Penn State’s College of Engineering recently received the IEEE Education Society’s Helen Plants Award.

The award honors the best special (nontraditional) session at the annual Frontiers in Education (FIE) conference, as demonstrated by originality, session content and presentation, including the use of written materials and visual aids, and participation of session attendees.

“The Leonhard Center has been working with Penn State faculty for more than 25 years, to advance their pedagogical endeavors,” said Tom Litzinger, assistant dean for educational innovation and accreditation in the College of Engineering and director of the Leonhard Center. “It is an honor to receive national recognition for our efforts to assist colleagues from around the world as they aim to advance engineering education.”

The group’s workshop, titled “Innovation T-Ball: Everybody Wins!!,” offered session participants the opportunity to collaborate with their peers, and members of the Leonhard Center, to develop specific strategies for how they can take their new ideas and turn them into classroom practice.

The structure of the session mimicked a T-ball game to help exemplify the Leonhard Center’s core values of exuberance and fun through learning, while allowing participants to work in teams and think about classroom practices from a different perspective.

In addition to Litzinger, the Helen Plants Award recipient team includes Michael Alley, associate professor of engineering communications; Sarah Zappe, director of assessment and instructional support and senior research associate; and Stephanie Cutler, assessment and instructional support specialist. Cutler was responsible for originating the idea; this is the second time she has received this award for an innovative session at the FIE conference. 

“We’re very excited about this recognition,” said Zappe. “This was the first time we brought together the combined expertise of all members of the Leonhard Center for a national conference presentation.”

According to its website, the FIE conference focuses on educational innovations and research in engineering and computing education. Sponsored by the American Society for Engineering Education and the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, the event provides a forum for experts to share ideas, learn about recent developments and interact with colleagues in various engineering fields.

(Media Contacts)

Last Updated January 20, 2017