December 1, 2009
ECE assistant professor David Ricketts joined 48 of the nation's brightest young engineering researchers and educators Nov. 15-18 in the National Academy of Engineering's (NAE) first Frontiers of Engineering Education (FOEE) symposium in Herndon, Va.
The program focused on effective ways to ensure that students learn engineering fundamentals, the expanding knowledge base of new technology and the skills necessary to be an effective engineer or engineering researcher.
Ricketts is developing experiential learning tools to teach basic electromagnetic concepts during the early part of the university's engineering curriculum.
"I want my students to develop an intuitive understanding of the material before getting bogged down by the more formal parts of the subject, especially as they work through their multiple course loads," said Ricketts, whose research was included in the 2008 McGraw-Hill Yearbook for Science and Technology.
"The Frontiers of Engineering Education program created a unique venue for engineering faculty members to share and explore interesting and effective innovations in teaching and learning," said NAE President Charles M. Vest. "We intend for FOEE to become a major force in identifying, recognizing and promulgating advances and innovations in order to build a strong intellectual infrastructure and commitment to 21st century engineering education."
The United States is producing a far smaller number of engineers per capita after almost 20 years of economic growth, according to The American Society for Engineering Education. Fewer than 5 percent of all bachelor's degrees awarded in 2004 in the U.S. were in engineering. By contrast, in 1990 China graduated more than 200,000 engineers --- 44 percent of their undergraduate degrees.