Educational development of students is one of the most important jobs we have as engineering educators.  If we are not able to impart knowledge to students who are critically interested in understanding their chosen field of study, what chance do we have to convince others of the relevance of our work?  The ability to successfully communicate information to our students is closely related to our ability to effectively inform our colleagues, peers, and the general public.

The research within these pages details some of the work that we have done already, along with some other information that is useful for students.  My research in educational development has been primarily centered on helping students find their difficulties and then help them to overcome them.  Many students have had significant difficulty in my introductory chemical engineering course for various reasons.  Some students come into this sophomore level course with poor problem solving skills.  Other students have English as a second language and have difficulty with the language of the course.  Still other students are deficient in some background material like mathematics, physics, or chemistry.  Identifying these difficulties allows students to intensely focus their efforts on a single area where a large impact can be felt.  Ongoing efforts to help students identify problems they are having in my course are documented in a related site.

One recent project we have done involves the integration of communication and teamwork skills into our sophomore chemical engineering course.  We had student groups run the discussion and present example solutions to the class.  Their peers evaluated their presentation and provided specific advice on how to improve their presentation skills.  Students remarked that this exercise was a powerful learning tool, not only for the material from the course, but for teamwork and presentation skills.

Another project we have worked on involves the educational testing of a computer simulation module within the sophomore chemical engineering course.  The computer-based learning environment was created within the Engineering Research Center for Environmentally Benign Semiconductor Manufacturing here at the University of Arizona.  The simulator offers visual aids and hands-on investigation of the implications of waste recycling methods within an industrial problem.  This work will also be presented at the ASEE conference in the Summer of 2001.

2007 Arizona Board of Regents for The University of Arizona