The 2021 ASEE Gulf-Southwest Annual Conference was held virtually from March 24- March 26, 2021, and hosted by Baylor University. The yearly conference is an excellent opportunity for educators across Louisiana, Texas, and New Mexico to explore the different facets of engineering education.
In 2020 and 2021, the Engineering Education community rose to a challenge of the ever-changing constraints imposed by the COVID-19 pandemic. Educators around the globe taught in a completely virtual environment. The task at hand was to deliver course content in a new medium and keep the students engaged and meet course learning outcomes. We are still facing an uncertain future, where nobody knows what the new ‘’normal’’ will be. The 2021 conference provided a venue to discuss the lessons learned while transitioning to online education. More importantly, open dialogue addressed where we go from here. The conference’s theme was “Reimagining Engineering Education for a Changing World” and challenges facing engineering education as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Texas A&M’s growing efforts in the scholarship of teaching and learning in engineering education were evidenced at the conference. There were 12 papers from Texas A&M University faculty and students: 9 from College Station, 1 from Prairie View A&M, and 2 from West Texas A&M. These papers represented nearly 20% of the moderated papers at the conference. Moreover, out of the 24 authors from Texas A&M University, this was the first time that nine of the authors had ever published at ASEE GSW.
“The Development of a Texas A&M University Faculty of Engineering Education,” a paper by Tracy Hammond, Karan Watson, Samantha Ray, Robert Lightfoot, Shawna Thomas, and Drew Casey, won third place in the Faculty/Staff/Professional Papers category. The paper presented Texas A&M University’s development of an interdisciplinary faculty group to foster and support research and innovation in engineering, engineering technology, and computer science education. TAMU’s Faculty of Engineering Education is composed of members all across the university, including faculty from the college of engineering, college of education, and the colleges of business, liberal arts, and geosciences. The group supports collaborations for education research, curricular and pedagogical innovations, professional development, and mentoring current and future scholars in these fields. In a little over a year and during a pandemic, TAMU’s Faculty of Engineering Education went from being a disparate group of individuals into a strong, cohesive community of practice.
In addition to Texas A&M’s scholarship, faculty actively served in the local conference. Dr. Tracy Hammond, Director of the IEEI, was a moderator for the undergraduate student session. The students were extremely skilled and she found that the session was an excellent place for recruiting diverse and brilliant graduate students.
Dr. Shawna Thomas, Instructional Assistant Professor, Computer Science & Engineering, Texas A&M University and Seth Polsley, Graduate Student, Texas A&M University helped review the best student papers. Dr. Charles Patrick, Professor of Practice, Biomedical Engineering also helped review the best faculty papers, along with several other TAMU faculty.
Dr. Randy Brooks, Associate Professor of Practice, Texas A&M Engineering Academy – Brenham, Texas A&M – College of Engineering was elected onto the GSW Executive Committee as Secretary (for a three-year term June 2021-June 2024) and Dr. Paula De Witte, Associate Professor of Practice & Adjunct Professor of Law, Computer Science and Engineering, Texas A&M University School of Law, Texas A&M Engineering Experiment Station was elected onto the executive committee as the Section Newsletter Editor for the same three-year term.
ASEE GSW 2022 will be held at Prairie View A&M University and ASEE GSW 2026 is anticipated to be held at Texas A&M University, College Station.