Clarkson University: Passionate about Research and Teaching

By: Brook Sattler, PhD
CPREE multi-campus coordinator

I had the pleasure of visiting Clarkson University in Potsdam, New York. On this campus visit, I met with a number of educators and campus leaders to talk about CPREE.

On my visit to Clarkson University, I hosted a half day workshop—“Reflection in Engineering Education: Creating a Reflection Mindset.” In this workshop, I (1) engaged participants in a rich pictures activity as a way to collectively define reflection; (2) offered our CPREE definition of reflection; (3) explained the goals and activities of CPREE; (4) shared emerging reflection activities; and (5) engaged the participants in developing a reflection activity. In this workshop, reflection seemed to resonate with the educators. This attitude was evident in the way the educators actively engaged in conversation about the topic, readily offered examples from their classroom, and actively engaged in developing a reflection activity to implement in their teaching. When the educators worked in groups to develop a reflection activity, they developed creative reflection activities (e.g., crib sheet preparation as a reflection activity, muddiest point in large lectures, etc.). When the group talked about one specific activity, individuals in the group were able to modify the reflection activity to fit the needs in their course.

What was evident in all my conversations with educators and leaders at Clarkson was a passion for both technical research, as well as engineering education research. As an institution, Clarkson has strived to be student centered, but much of this mindset has come from natural intuition. More recently, they have recognized the importance of grounding their education practice in best practice that is based on the literature. This shift is evident in the types of deep questions educators and campus leaders are asking about teaching and learning. I thoroughly enjoyed helping these educators think about their teaching and learning. I look forward to seeing Clarkson University emerge further as leaders in engineering education research and I hope to continue this partnership that we have started through CPREE.