Letter from the President
ASEE’s Future—Driven by Membership
Exciting initiatives are transforming engineering and engineering technology education. It’s time to get involved and make a difference.
By Joseph J. Rencis
I can’t believe that this is my last letter as ASEE President. This year has surely gone quickly and has also been very productive and rewarding. I recall when I became the incoming ASEE President-Elect and I had the opportunity to sit down with then President Ken Galloway and President-Elect Nick Altiero at the 2014 Engineering Deans Institute. We had great discussions regarding ASEE and the future of engineering and engineering technology education. We made one strategic change during that meeting. It is traditional for an ASEE president to focus on his/her agenda during their presidential year, and for the next president to introduce a new agenda. Presidents have been very successful with this process, and have done some wonderful things over the years. However, Ken, Nick, and I collectively decided as a presidential team that the board of directors would transition from a managerial board to a strategy and policy board. This decision was ultimately embraced by the ASEE Board of Directors. This meant that board meetings would focus on strategic priorities and invest in those priorities that support the ASEE mission. The board’s intent is that the future direction of ASEE, and engineering and engineering technology education, be driven by membership. The board’s forward-thinking focus is best described in a quote by management guru Peter Drucker, “The best way to predict the future is to create the future.”
A strategic priority this year has been using Strategic Doing to drive the future direction of ASEE. The Society has formed seven strategic focus area teams: governance, innovation, connection, transformation, PK-12, diversity, and globalization. During the February ASEE Board of Directors meeting, the seven strategic focus teams reported on their status. We were very pleased with their progress and thank each team member for their passion, hard work, and dedication in setting the future for ASEE. If you’d like to become a team member, log in to the ASEE website and go to https://www.asee.org/strategy. On this page you will find an overview of Strategic Doing, the strategic focus teams, and how to get involved. Attendees at the ASEE Annual Conference can participate in the session titled, “T357 ASEE Strategic Doing Update & Input” on Tuesday June 28, from 11:30 a.m. to 1:00 p.m., in the Focus on Innovation Pavilion in the Exhibit Hall. This is an opportunity to learn and ask questions of ASEE leadership and team members, as well as to join a strategic focus team.
The ASEE Board of Directors was very pleased at the report of the progress of the Society’s financial status during the February board meeting. We are encouraging everyone at the ASEE Annual Conference in New Orleans to attend a conference panel discussion titled, “T557 ASEE Finances Town Hall” on Tuesday June 28, from 3:00 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. in convention center Room 261. This will provide an opportunity to learn about ASEE’s financial status and ask questions of the ASEE leadership.
Over my terms as President-Elect and President I have enjoyed visiting with members and learning about the exciting initiatives that are transforming engineering and engineering technology education. In my conversations with members and stakeholders, I have promoted 14 reasons why ASEE is unique.
First, ASEE is the only member of the American Association of Engineering Societies that has engineering education in its name. ASEE’s organizational structure also has four unique councils for member organizations to come together: Corporate Member Council, Engineering Deans Council, Engineering Research Council, and Engineering Technology Council. Furthermore, ASEE offers the following eight unique conferences to the membership: Annual Conference and Exposition, Conference for Industry and Education Collaborations, Engineering Deans Institute, Engineering Deans Public Policy Colloquium, Engineering Research Council, Engineering Technology Leaders’ Institute, International Forum, and K-12 Engineering Workshop. Finally, ASEE also administers fellowships and research opportunities for several federal agencies.
On behalf of the ASEE, I would like to take this opportunity to thank the Engineering Deans and Engineering Technology Councils for stepping up last year by supporting a significant increase in their institutional dues. They realized the unique and valuable asset ASEE’s existence is for its membership, stakeholders, and the future of engineering and engineering technology education worldwide.
The journey before ASEE over the next few years is electric with possibilities. It is a game changer! But that journey requires more than a few of us to make it happen. Now more than ever, it is time for you to get involved and make a difference. Join us in revolutionizing engineering and engineering technology education!
It has been a great honor to serve as ASEE President this year, and it has also been rewarding, enjoyable, and a privilege working with the ASEE Board of Directors, ASEE staff, and ASEE membership in the pursuit of moving the Society forward. I am committed to ASEE’s mission and will continue to advocate and promote the value of engineering and engineering technology nationally and internationally. I look forward in seeing you all at the ASEE Annual Conference and Exposition in New Orleans in what is expected to be the largest in our history!
“A good hockey player plays where the puck is. A great hockey player plays where the puck is going to be.” – Wayne Gretzky
Joseph J. Rencis is president of ASEE.
ASEE members elected Bevlee Watford to serve as ASEE President-Elect for 2016–2017. Watford is the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs for the College of Engineering at Virginia Tech. She will assume the position of ASEE President-Elect at the 2016 Annual Conference and become President the following year.
Full election results for all ASEE offices are as follows:
Bevlee Watford (431 votes)
Associate Dean, Academic Affairs
College of Engineering
Jenna Carpenter (325 votes)
Dean, School of Engineering
Vice President, Member Affairs
B. Grant Crawford (371 votes)
Professor, Mechanical Engineering
Charles McIntyre (327 votes)
Director, Construction Engineering Management Technology Program
Indiana University – Purdue University Indianapolis
Chair, PIC I
Agnieszka Miguel (486 votes)
Chair, Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering
Hossein Mousavinezhad (155 votes)
Professor, School of Electrical Engineering
Idaho State University
Chair, PIC IV
Teri Reed (329 votes)
Associate Professor, Harold Vance Department of Petroleum Engineering; Assistant Vice Chancellor of Academic Affairs; Assistant Agency Director of Workforce Development for Engineering Experiment Station
Texas A&M University
Trevor Harding (208 votes)
Professor, Materials Engineering Department
California Polytechnic State University
Michael White (158 votes)
Librarian, Engineering and
Chair, PIC V
Julayne Moser (328 votes)
Director of Graduate Studies, School of Mechanical Engineering
Nancy Kruse (294 votes)
Director of Program Management, College of Engineering &
University of Tulsa
Chair-Elect, Zone I
Shane Rogers (183 votes)
Associate Professor, Department of Civil & Environmental Engineering
J. Kemi Ladeji-Osias (135 votes)
Associate Professor, Department of Electrical & Computer Engineering
Morgan State University
Chair-Elect, Zone I
Raju Dandu (263 votes)
Director, Professional Master of Technology Program; Professor, Engineering Technology
Kansas State University Polytechnic
Call for Nominations
The ASEE Nominating Committee, chaired by Most Immediate Past President Nicholas J. Altiero, requests member participation in nominating board officers for the 2017 ASEE elections. Officers to be nominated for Society-wide positions are: President-Elect, Vice President External Relations, Vice President Finance, and Chairs of Professional Interest Councils II and III.
- All nominees must be individual members or institutional member representatives of ASEE at the time of nomination and must maintain ASEE membership during their term of office. Nominating Committee members are not eligible for nomination. The slate of candidates selected by the committee will not exceed two candidates per office.
- Candidates for President-Elect must be active members who have served or are serving on the Board of Directors. Candidates for Vice President External Relations shall be limited to those members of the Society who have previously served on the Board of Directors or from the present members of the Board of Directors. Candidates for Vice President Finance shall be individual members or institutional member representatives of ASEE.
- Candidates for Chair of the Corporate Member Council and Chair-Elect for Zone II and Zone IV will be nominated and selected by their respective councils and zones, as the ASEE Constitution stipulates.
- For each proposed candidate for a Society-wide office, submit a biographical sketch of fewer than 400 words that documents career contributions, ASEE offices held, awards and recognitions received, and educational background. Include comments on leadership qualities, ability to cooperate with others to achieve objectives, and willingness to serve if elected. For nominations for the office of President-Elect, please include a statement summarizing why you think your nominee is a good candidate for the position. A listing of members who meet constitutional eligibility requirements for the offices of President-Elect, Vice President External Relations, and Vice President Finance is available from the Executive Director’s office at ASEE headquarters.
- Nominations will be accepted electronically at email@example.com. Please include a subject line that begins with the words “2017 Nomination” so that it can be forwarded to the Nominating Committee. Please be assured that your nominations are confidential and will be seen only by the Assistant Board Secretary and Members of the Nominating Committee. The deadline to submit nominations is June 1, 2016.
Nominations postmarked by June 1, 2016 will also be accepted by mail. Please mark the envelope CONFIDENTIAL and address it to Nicholas J. Altiero, Chair, ASEE Nominating Committee, ASEE, 1818 N Street, N.W., Suite 600, Washington, DC 20036.
If you have any questions, please contact ASEE Assistant Board Secretary, Christian Evangelista at (202) 350-3516 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
K-12 Workshop is What You Make of It
By Jennifer Pocock
The Maker Movement is picking up worldwide steam, fueled by adults’ desires to get their hands dirty as they did in childhood. The fact that it’s spread to schools, then, is unsurprising. Kids love to tinker, play, and revel in the unknown. That’s why, on June 26, ASEE will host an interactive workshop on Teaching Engineering Through Making on the second day of our annual K-12 Workshop. Held this year in New Orleans, just before the start of ASEE’s Annual Conference, the workshop is a results-oriented, interactive program of professional learning for pre-college teachers.
What is the Maker Movement in schools, and how does it differ from shop and home economics classes of yore? According to AnnMarie Thomas, it’s more about the process, joy, and community of making (and makers)—and less about grades and gender roles. Thomas is an associate professor in the University St. Thomas’s School of Engineering and author of Making Makers: Kids, Tools, and the Future of Innovation. Her office is filled with play dough, circuits, and blinking LEDs, and all of her classes involve heavy elements of fun. The point, she says, is to take the joy of design and making things and add the rigors of science, math, and analysis early on—that’s what makes engineers.
June’s workshop will feature presentations by Thomas about teaching creative circuitry (elementary electrical projects using play dough, drawing, and sewing) as well as “An Introduction to the Maker Movement and a Maker Mindset.” Co-presented with Deb Besser, the director of the University of St. Thomas’s Center for Engineering Education, this will help educators learn the fundamentals of what makes a Maker and how to encourage that mind-set (curiosity, playfulness, openness to risk, responsibility, persistence, resourcefulness, generosity, and optimism) in students.
Shaunna Smith, an assistant professor of educational technology at Texas State University, will also present making and digital fabrication techniques for K-12 teachers in an interactive session. She hopes the teachers will walk out with easy, low-cost, and “no-tech” ideas for introducing making into the classroom.
Smith and Thomas both are adamant about one thing: Makers don’t have to have high-tech labs to be successful. “It’s my life’s mission to make sure that people don’t feel like they have to have expensive tools in order to have a maker space or to do making activities,” says Smith. “People have been making for thousands upon thousands of years.”
“It’s not all about 3-D printers,” adds Thomas. “Some schools get 3-D printers thinking that they have to do it to be on the cutting edge—but then they don’t know what to do with them! Maker spaces can happen with cardboard and duct tape and sewing machines, and they aren’t lesser for that.”
Jennifer Pocock is assistant editor of Prism.
Loves Teaching, Travel, and Sand Underfoot
By Nathan Kahl
Stephanie Harrington, ASEE’s Director of Membership Marketing, is one of the few on ASEE’s staff who can call herself an actual Washington, D.C., native. She just had to travel the world first before settling in back at home.
After spending her first few years in the District, Stephanie said aloha and moved to Hawaii for her formative years, an experience she says provided vivid memories and influences, only one of which is a preference for going barefoot when possible. Coming back to the Washington area for high school, she had an “amazing” physics teacher who instilled in her a love for science. So she went off to study architecture and structural engineering at the University of Virginia.
“The architecture school there allowed me to take a lot of liberal arts classes,” she says. “Thomas Jefferson, the school’s founder, considered himself an architect, and I liked that historical connection.”
After college, she landed what she still considers a fantastic job for someone young in her field—working at the State Department in the Office of Foreign Buildings. “The Soviet Union had just collapsed, and we were doing plans for our embassies in these new foreign capitals. We did restoration, security, and more.” In addition to the good work experience, she got to live in such exotic places as Hong Kong and Bangkok.
From there, Stephanie moved to Texas and busied herself with teaching at UT-Arlington and consulting. She then got even busier by completing her M.S. in civil engineering while working. A few years later it was back to D.C. and with the education bug still there she started teaching at Catholic University. In a move that presaged her interest in ASEE, she redid the curriculum for the undergrad and graduate architecture program. “That’s why I find pedagogy so interesting. No one ever told me how to teach—I had to figure it out for myself. If I had gone to just one ASEE workshop!” She joined ASEE as a staff member in 2013.
In her free time, Stephanie can be found with her kids, ages 17, 14 and 9, kayaking or biking (but sadly for the Hawaiian barefooter, not surfing) or at a Dave Matthews Band concert, of which she has attended . . . well, more than she cares to count or admit.
As the director of membership marketing, Stephanie loves getting to meet all the various entities engaged with ASEE and encourages members, companies, or prospective members to reach out and say hi.
Updates on Spending Reductions, Year of Commitment
By Norman Fortenberry
(This is the first in a series of quarterly letters to ASEE members from the executive director.)
With the leadership of new Managing Director of Finance and CFO Joe Dillon (Joe joined us in August 2015), our financial team has been making great strides on catching up on key filings and reports that had fallen behind due to significant turnover. We welcome the stability.
As had been previously communicated, ASEE’s FY 2014 closed with a reported loss of $1.2 million, due in large part to a “rolling up” of prior year adjustments to revenue (e.g., writing off bad debt that extended back to at least 2002). I am happy to report that our projection for FY 2015 (though not yet audited) is a positive balance.
ASEE headquarters’ commitment to reduce expenditures by $750,000 has been nearly met, with $691,000 either achieved or marked for cuts. Our efforts to further reduce costs are underway, with more savings to be realized in FY 2017.
I’m happy to report that at our winter Board of Directors meeting in late February, the Board voted to make the Society Year 2016-2017 the Year of Commitment to P-12 Education. Activities during this year will operate under the exhortation to “Commit to P-12: When Engineering Begins.” I look forward to the various activities and products that our dedicated members, led by the P‐12 Committee of the Board, will roll out during this period.
A subset of actions taken by the ASEE Board this Society Year includes the following (we have posted Board minutes under the “For Members” section of the main navigation bar on our website):
- Allocation of $25 per contact representative from institutional dues to pay for mailing expenses of the Journal of Engineering Education and Prism to contact representatives.
- Approval of Life Members as of February 2016.
- Approval of Stephanie S. Harrington as Director of Membership Marketing. This position combines the previously separate positions of Director of Membership and Director of Business Development. The position reports to the Managing Director of Member Services (Patti Greenawalt).
- Annual conference site selection through 2023.
- Changes to the Bylaws Template and to various Division/Council/Section/Zone bylaws and constitutions (primarily dues and diversity statements).
- Endorsement of the Pre-College Engineering Division Working Group on the proposed Advanced Placement examination in engineering.
- Approval of setting the dues level for international institutional members at $1,500.
- Encouraging engineering departments and colleges to consider affiliation with UTeach and PhysTEC.
- Allowing the Board’s Diversity Committee, International Advisory Committee, Long-Range Planning Committee, and P-12 Committee to submit items for the ASEE Annual Conference and Exposition program using the “Board-sponsored Session” heading.
Our Strategic Doing process is ongoing, with teams actively meeting via conference call and using a website dedicated to Strategic Doing ideas and feedback. President Joe Rencis has begun to investigate a process to prioritize and budget for various requests that will emerge from these teams and oversee their progress so the Board can assist with goals.
Lastly, early metrics indicate that our 2016 annual conference in New Orleans is going to be one of our most highly attended ever. I hope to see you there.
I think now is a time to be optimistic about ASEE’s future. We are finding financial footing after several years of losses, our members are engaged and active, engineering education has grown in prominence as an area of national attention and concern, and the products and services ASEE offers to its members have never been more diverse or far reaching.
I hope to see you in New Orleans.
Norman L. Fortenberry
Norman Fortenberry is executive director of ASEE.