Date: Oct. 31, 2003
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National Academy of Engineering


National Academy of Engineering Selects
First Engineering Education Fellows

WASHINGTON -- The National Academies' National Academy of Engineering (NAE) announced its first three Engineering Education Senior Fellows today. They will serve for six months and produce analyses relevant to one of four research thrusts of the NAE's Center for the Advancement of Scholarship on Engineering Education (CASEE). These analyses will be issued in a white paper and presented orally in a forum at the end of their term.

The fellows are:

Donovan Evans is an emeritus professor in the department of mechanical and aerospace engineering at Arizona State University (ASU) in Tempe. Evans' work will focus on assessing how students learn and instructional effectiveness. He will report on progress toward classroom implementation of effective assessment strategies called Concept Inventories, which measure students' understanding of important engineering concepts. The Concept Inventory method has been used with undergraduate students for more than 15 years and is now credited with stimulating reform of education in physics, biology, and geology. Evans was the founding director of the Center for Research on Science, Mathematics, Engineering, and Technology (CRESMET). CRESMET is a joint venture of ASU's Ira A. Fulton School of Engineering, College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, and College of Education. Evans was the founding director of the Center for Innovation in Engineering Education within what was then the College of Engineering at ASU. He is a member of Pi Tau Sigma (the Mechanical Engineering Honor Society), Tau Beta Pi (the Engineering Honor Society), the American Society of Mechanical Engineers, and the American Society for Engineering Education.

Myron Tribus is a consulting engineer in private practice and a member of the NAE. Tribus will focus his work on how to apply to engineering education the management principles of W. Edwards Deming and the teaching-learning principles of Reuven Feuerstein. Deming was a U.S. statistician and often called the father of the quality movement, which is based on management principles that often contradict conventional management wisdom but have proved effective in many countries as a way of reducing costs and improving quality and customer satisfaction. Feuerstein is a world-renowned Israeli psychologist and an innovator in education. His methods of "cognitive modifiability" seek to sharpen critical thinking and help students learn how to learn. Tribus believes that the works of Deming and Feuerstein can be combined to provide an innovative approach to the management of teaching and learning that promises engineering students more joy in learning and better preparation to master new and complex situations. Tribus retired after 11.5 years at MIT as director of the Center for Advanced Engineering Study. He was a senior vice president for research and engineering at the Xerox Corp., and served for two years as assistant secretary for science and technology in the U.S. Department of Commerce. For eight years he was dean of the Thayer School of Engineering at Dartmouth College, where he introduced the unified engineering curriculum and led the faculty in developing a curriculum based on engineering design and entrepreneurship.

Karan L. Watson is associate provost and dean of faculties as well as professor of electrical engineering at Texas A&M University in College Station. Watson has worked to increase participation of underrepresented populations -- particularly women and minorities -- in engineering. She will survey instructional and institutional strategies that value diversity among people, learning styles, and perspectives. She also will consider how these strategies can contribute to the formulation and solution of engineering problems. Watson believes that a diverse environment is a rich setting in which to work, and she stresses the value of discussing conflicts about diversity instead of simply resisting change. She has been heavily involved in the Women and Engineering Program Advocates Network and the National Association of Minority Engineering Program Administrators, and serves as the principal investigator for the Texas Alliance for Minority Participation. Watson is the recipient of multiple national awards including the Minorities in Engineering Award, the United States President's Award for Excellence in Science and Technology Mentoring, the American Association for the Advancement of Science Mentoring Award, and the Women in Engineering Programs and Advocates Network's Founders Award.

CASEE is part of a larger initiative on engineering education started by NAE President Wm. A. Wulf. In 1999 the Committee on Engineering Education was established as a standing program to study the issues surrounding engineering education through a series of projects that explore different, timely questions. In 2000 NAE revised its criteria for membership to more fully recognize contributions to engineering education. The Bernard M. Gordon Prize for Innovation in Engineering and Technology Education was established in 2001 as a biennial award of $500,000 to emphasize the importance of education to the future of engineering. And in 2002 NAE launched CASEE with a mandate to foster excellence in engineering education--education that is effective, engaged, and efficient.

The National Academy of Engineering is a private, nonprofit institution that provides technology advice under a congressional charter. NAE also salutes leaders in engineering for their lifetime dedication to the field, and their commitment to advancing the society through great achievements. NAE dedicates more than $1 million annually to recognize these leaders, and to bring better understanding of engineering's importance to society.

More information about the Center for the Advancement of Scholarship on Engineering Education is available at <>.

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