Dean speaks on innovations in engineering education in India

Campbell University School of Engineering Dean Jenna Carpenter offered a TED Talk and a presentation on providing engineering students with broader skills at two conferences in India this month.

Carpenter was one of 17 engineering professors from the United States — most of them American Society for Engineering Education fellows — invited to speak at the International Conference on Transformation in Engineering Education at SRM University in Amaravati and the Indo Universal Collaboration for Engineering Education Leadership Summit in Goa. The goal of these conferences is to encourage innovation in engineering education for institutions and faculty in India and to include more project- and team-based learning strategies with an increased emphasis on applications rather than theory only.

According to Carpenter, the IUCEE has been working for the last decade to encourage collaboration between universities to support these “educational innovations.”

“These types of collaborations between faculty and universities are not common in India, nor are these approaches using more active learning strategies and hands-on, applied curricular approaches,” Carpenter said. “It was interesting to learn about the challenges and opportunities in engineering education in India. In some ways, they face many of the same challenges that we do in the U.S. In other ways, they have cultural challenges unique to their country. We also face challenges in the U.S. rooted in our culture, such as successfully recruiting more women to engineering. Changing culture is a much more difficult task, both here and in India.”

Carpenter spoke on Campbell’s hands-on approach to engineering education and providing students with more professional skills like communication, teamwork, global awareness and understanding the impact of engineering; in addition to the more technical skills. She said there have been numerous calls over the last 20 years to reform undergraduate engineering education so that graduates are prepared for the 21st century workforce.

“It was truly an honor to be invited to participate as part of this prestigious group of engineering educators from across the U.S.,” she said. “We are creating an innovative engineering program at Campbell that produces high quality graduates who are in demand in both industry and graduate schools. The fact that our faculty are presented with opportunities like is a confirmation of our success.”