Providing students with experiences that can help them relate content learned in the classroom to experiences outside the classroom can support the development of skills necessary in engineering. My research has focused on efforts to support engineering students’ development of technical and professional skills, both in and out of the classroom.  

Out-of-Class Experiences

Engineering Students’ Professional Development in Living-Learning Communities

Living-learning environments have increased in popularity on college campuses as ways to support students and to connect what students learn in the classroom with their experiences outside the classroom as well. These communities are often centered around a topic or theme, such as communities for engineering students, and they provide programming designed to support the intended student population. My dissertation examines the activities in these environments that students perceive support their professional development. In my study, I interviewed students who had participated in an engineering living-learning community to determine the various ways that students defined professional development and the various experiences that students perceive helped them develop professionally. This understanding will help educators who aim to help students prepare for and enter the engineering workforce.

To learn more: All in a Day’s Work: Women Engineering Students’ Professional Development in a Living-Learning Community

Building effective interventions: A model for the design and modification of out-of-class interventions for undergraduate engineering students

In recent years, educators have incorporated intentionally designed learning environments, also known as interventions, to support engineering students. These interventions are often incorporated into out-of-class activities to supplement what students learn in the classroom. While research has focused on and examined outcomes of these interventions, there is a need for a framework that can be used by engineering educators when designing interventions for students. In this project, I developed a framework that includes various components that should be considered when designing, developing, and modifying sustainable interventions that promote student learning in these contexts.

Co-Curricular Experiences for Engineering Students

Several projects have examined co-curricular experiences (experiences designed to complement what students learn in the classroom) for engineering students. In particular, this work has focused on engineering student support centers, which are programs designed to offer of co-curricular support to students from traditionally underrepresented groups in engineering, and the structure of these programs.

To learn more:

  • Lee, W. C., Godwin, A., & Hermundstad Nave, A. L. (2018). Development of the engineering student integration instrument: Rethinking measures of integration. Journal of Engineering Education107(1), 30-55.
  • Lee, W. C., Lutz, B., & Hermundstad Nave, A. L. (2018). Learning from practitioners that support underrepresented students in engineering. Journal of Professional Issues in Engineering Education and Practice144(2), 04017016.

Curricular Experiences

Conceptual Understanding in Engineering Courses

Certain courses in the engineering curriculum, such as statics and heat transfer, have the reputation of being particularly difficult and contain concepts that are difficult to grasp. Therefore,  several projects that I have worked on have examined students’ understanding of important concepts in these courses. This work has examined the incorporation of a hands-on laboratory component and the incorporation of writing assignments into technical engineering courses to facilitate student understanding in these classes.

To learn more:

  • Hermundstad, A. L., Diller, T. E., Williams, C. B., & Matusovich, H. M. (2016, June). Exploring Conceptual Understanding in Heat Transfer: A Qualitative Analysis. In 2016 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition.

Faculty Development

Many programs exist to support faculty in incorporating research-based practices in their teaching. This area of research focuses on exploring the impact of these programs.

To learn more:

  • Vasquez, A. C., Hermundstad Nave, A. L., & Spiegel, S. (2020, June). “It’s Been a While”: Faculty Reflect on Their Experiences Implementing What They Learned During an Intensive Summer Program. In 2020 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Proceedings.