Given the digital society we live in now, it’s important to think about how well students are prepared for it.
This was a point made clear by George Mason University Systems Engineering and Operations Research and Mechanical Engineering professor and National Science Foundation (NSF) Program Director Janis Terpenny, during a panel at the 2023 American Society for Engineering Education (ASEE) Southeastern section conference. The conference was hosted by Mason this week at Mason Square in Arlington, with this year’s theme Educating the Inclusive Engineer: Diverse, Innovative, Accountable.
Alongside Terpenny, the ASEE SE panel Changing the Landscape of the Digital Workforce and DEI: A Call to Action and Research in Engineering Education included Mason Divisional Dean of the School of Computing Gurdip Singh and other education experts like NSF Division Director of Engineering Education & Centers José L. Zayas-Castro.
“My interest is in the perspective of how digital transformation can be embraced in the computing curriculum,” Singh said. “We can develop and think more on how to do that.”
Fuse (at Mason Square) will be a new, 345,000-square-foot hub for digital innovation that will promote the exchange of new ideas and the transfer of technology between Mason’s researchers and students and industry partners to accelerate the development of digital innovation. According to College of Engineering and Computing Dean Ken Ball, Mason is proud to host such an important conference for the first time, and at such a great venue.
“It is an honor and a privilege to host fellow engineering educators here in the Washington, D.C., area,” says Ball who is Chair of ASEE’s Engineering Deans Council, the leadership organization of engineering deans in the United States, with approximately 300 members.
The 2023 ASEE SE conference brought together engineering educators, industry leaders, and students to discuss and learn about the importance of promoting a diverse, digitally prepared workforce within engineering and STEM education paths. Conference attendees joined a variety of plenary sessions to learn about topics like ChatGPT use, creating optimal learning environments for student success, early outreach for K-12 students, and structural design.
Students competed in a poster competition during the conference, detailing work they’ve accomplished. Projects included creating environmentally sound recreation space from toxically saturated "brownfield" sites of abandoned gas stations, and a virtual reality rock climbing experience for those with disabilities.