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Ewing Earns ASEE-GSW Best Faculty Paper Award

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

David Ewing, a senior lecturer in the College of Engineering who oversees the Engineering 1300 course for freshmen, recently won the Best Faculty Paper Award at the ASEE Gulf-Southwest Annual Conference. 

David EwingThe conference accepted papers from faculty, graduate students, and undergraduate students, with awards for the top 3 papers submitted in each category. Ewing’s paper was judged the best of 30 faculty papers that were accepted and presented at the conference.

“It is an honor to be able to represent UTA and the great educational advances that the College of Engineering is striving to accomplish. This award puts a spotlight on the entire ENGR 1300 team and the many countless hours it took to create, implement, and improve the course,” Ewing said. “It has been a privilege to lead the implementation of this course and to work with such a great group of people, from the lecturers who have helped deliver the content, to the committees that helped organize and continue to steer the course, to the support from Dr. Peterson, Dr. Behbehani, and Dr. Crouch.

“I am grateful to have served UT Arlington in this capacity and I am honored to receive this award on behalf of the team. As we continue to provide and improve upon these cutting-edge practices in engineering education, we look forward to receiving more recognitions like this award in order to truly put UT Arlington on the map of engineering education.”

Ewing’s paper, “Using the SCALE-UP Method to Create an Engaging First-Year Engineering Course,” focuses on the cutting edge pedagogical practices that ENGR 1300 employs and shows the performance of the class through many different groupings of students. It shows that the methods are highly effective and, through anonymous surveys, are well-received by the students.

Engineering 1300 studentsTo meet the growing demands for professional engineers, much emphasis has been placed on recruiting and retaining increasing numbers of engineering students. A UTA study found that students were ill-equipped to deal with the rigors of the engineering curriculum. Specifically, students were found to be deficient in the areas of problem solving, professional writing, and computer programming. Therefore, to address these areas, UTA created a first-year engineering course focused on improving these specific skill areas. In order to adapt to the wide dispersion of learning styles, socio-economic backgrounds, and prior knowledge that students have at UTA, the course utilizes the Student-Centered Active Learning Environment with Upside-down Pedagogies (SCALE-Up) method. This method, created at NC State University and now utilized in many of the nation’s top universities, focuses on creating a highly active and collaborative environment that fosters interaction among student groups and among students and their instructors.  The method has been shown to be effective due to its reliance on peer instruction, problem-based learning, and a host of other “high touch” implementations. UTA’s first-year engineering course also employs undergraduate students as in-class instructional assistants who not only assist during the active participation within class but also coordinate evening problem-solving sessions for additional instruction.

The American Society for Engineering Education is a nonprofit organization of individuals and institutions committed to furthering education in engineering and engineering technology. The Gulf-Southwest Section of ASEE represents ASEE members in New Mexico, Texas, and Louisiana. Through the Gulf-Southwest Section, members participate in professional activities at the local level, and form regional networks of educators with common interests and goals.