Department of Engineering Education Seminar

Friday, October 25, 10:20am-11:15am, Bolz Hall 316



Recent discussions of engineering education research have focused on engineering “ecosystems” as a metaphor to guide the conduct, translation, and dissemination of research. The ecosystem analogy, however, provides minimal guidance to researchers on how to move from metaphor to methods to study the educational environment. In this talk I focus on the conceptual, theoretical and methodological implications of the ecosystems metaphor, using examples from my research and that of my colleagues to illustrate the advantages – and also the challenges – of achieving an ecosystems perspective in studies of educational environments.  These examples encourage further exploration of the question of what we mean by “an engineering ecosystem,” and what our answers to that question mean for the design of engineering education research.  How might researchers realize the promise of the ecosystem metaphor for studying engineering education, and for informing the design of equitable educational experiences for the diverse populations of students who enroll in engineering programs?  

Speaker Bio

Lisa R. Lattuca is Professor of Higher Education in the School of Education at the University of Michigan. She also holds a faculty appointment in Integrative Systems and Design in Michigan’s College of Engineering, and is a core faculty member of the Engineering Education Research graduate program.  She studies curriculum, teaching, and learning in college and university settings, with a particular focus on how curricular, instructional, and organizational conditions, as well as disciplinary cultures, shape students’ educational experiences and learning outcomes.  Her research most often focuses on undergraduate engineering and STEM contexts.

Dr. Lattuca is co- principal investigator of an NSF-funded study, Defining and Assessing Systems Thinking in Diverse Engineering Populations, which seeks to understand and characterize systems thinking across the continuum of expertise.  Previous studies benchmarked undergraduate engineering programs’ buy-in to curricular and instructional reforms advocated in the National Academy’s “Engineer of 2020” reports, and investigated the impact of the implementation of the EC2000 accreditation criteria on engineering programs and student learning. For eight years, Dr. Lattuca served as an associate editor of the Journal of Engineering Education.

She earned her PhD from the University of Michigan, a master’s from Cornell University, and a bachelor’s degree from Saint Peter’s University. She previously held faculty positions at Penn State and Loyola University.

Lisa R. Lattuca