Benson Wins Award for Workshop Presented at Engineering Education Conference

November 18, 2015

Benson Award 10-2015

Dr. Lisa Benson, associate professor in engineering and science education, pictured first row second from the right, was recently honored with the Helen Plants Award for Best Nontraditional Session at FIE 2014, along with her collaborators, at the IEEE Frontiers in Education 2015 Conference. This award was established in 1980, and is intended to recognize teams and individuals who present exceptional special sessions at the Frontiers in Education conference.

Dr. Benson’s research focuses on the intersection of student motivation and learning in engineering, with the goal of helping faculty educate and prepare students for solving complex global problems in engineering. She has collaborated on projects to bring innovative approaches to helping engineering and science students achieve academic success. She, along with her collaborators, have created a virtual community to support engineering education faculty and researchers at diverse locations through online and face to face interactions.

The special session Dr. Benson offered was titled, “Agents for STEM Change – Articulating the Goals of our Community.” This special session stemmed from a series of workshops and monthly meetings that have been supported by a collaborative National Science Foundation award (EEC-1314725 and 1314868). “Agents for STEM Change” coached participants on how to participate in positive change at their home institutions. Participants engaged in role-playing exercises to prepare for interacting with peers and power structures at their institutions in ways that clearly articulate the value of engineering education best practices and research.

“The conversations that we practiced during our workshop are those that our community members are passionate about,” Dr. Benson explains, “and the energy our participants brought was palpable. It is exciting to be recognized for providing our community with a way to support each other, even though we may feel isolated on our home campuses.”

Dr. Benson collaborated with Rebecca Bates, professor and chair of the integrated engineering department at Minnesota State University Mankato, Alan Cheville, department chair in electrical engineering at Bucknell University, Cynthia Finelli, Director of the Center for Research and Teaching in Engineering and associate professor of electrical engineering at the University of Michigan, Jennifer Karlin, professor of industrial engineering at South Dakota School of Mines and Technology, and Susan Lord, professor and chair of electrical engineering at the University of San Diego.

“Agents for STEM Change – Articulating the Goals of our Community,” Proceedings, 2014 Frontiers in Education Conference, pp. 1942 – 1943