For several years, Rebecca ‘Becky’ Komarek, associate director of Idea Forge, Angela Bielefeldt, program director and professor of Integrated Design Engineering, and Daniel Knight, program assessment and research associate for the Paul M. Rady Department of Mechanical Engineering have been attending the American Society for Engineering Education (ASEE) Annual Conference & Exposition. ASEE’s vision is to provide excellent and broadly accessible education that empowers students and engineers professionals to create a better world.
“Each year, it serves as a spark of motivation to improve engineering education. The community of individuals at the conference are passionate about their area of focus, whether it’s making engineering education more inclusive, more hands-on, or more cross-disciplinary,” said Komarek.
“It has been a great journey. A reinforcing cycle of questions that arise to improve engineering education, explorations in my own classes and partnering with others, and taking what I learn to improve my teaching. Every year I come away from the conference with multiple ideas to improve every class that I teach, multiple ideas of new topics to read about, and more inspired to keep improving,” said Bielefeldt.
Receiving recognition for Best Paper
Last summer, over 3,500 leaders from more than 500 university and college engineering schools attended the conference. Komarek and her co-authors, Bielefeldt and Knight won Best Paper LEAD Division and the Best Overall Professional Interest Council (PIC) paper award across a group of divisions.
The paper, titled Self-Assessment of Leadership Behaviors over time among students in a Mechanical Engineering Capstone Design Course, was part of Komarek’s dissertation. Their research takes a systems perspective on leadership development among engineering students.
The paper investigated leadership in engineering design teams through the Competing Values Framework, which explores the impact of different leadership styles in the team and the impact of behavioral complexity, which is the ability to rotate between different leadership styles to solve a problem. “ASEE was a good venue to get our work out into the community, find out about cutting edge research and network with people who are interested in the same research areas," said Knight.
Bielefeldt shared, “having a good instrument to measure student confidence in different leadership styles can be useful as we explore teaching interventions that bolsters student leadership abilities.”
Advice for future conference participants
As ASEE accepts papers for the Annual Conference and Exposition 2023, in Baltimore, Maryland, Komarek’s advice to anyone interested in participating in the ASEE community is to attend the events hosted by your 1 or 2 top divisions.
“By doing this, you will create a network of educators who share your interests. This can lead to future collaboration or simply camaraderie and exposure to varied expertise. After spending so much time working on this research project, it felt great to share the results with the broader community,” she said.
Knight noted that “the conference caters to researchers and practitioners, so instructors without an engineering education research background are encouraged to share their curriculum and teaching practices.”
Author deadline for abstract submission is Monday, Oct. 31. Visit the 2023 conference "For Authors" page to learn how to submit your abstract for the conference.