Tom Litzinger, Ph.D.

Professor, Mechanical Engineering, Penn State
Director, The Leonhard Center for the Enhancement of Engineering Education
Assistant Dean, Educational Innovation, Accreditation and Digital Learning

"Maximizing Student Motivation and Learning through Research-based Redesign of Engineering Curricula and Instruction"

Friday, Oct. 26, 2018 | 11 a.m. | Rogers Hall, Room 226

Professor Litzinger will begin with a discussion of issues with traditional engineering curricula and instruction, which research has shown to be less than optimal for maximizing student motivation and learning.  These issues include: an overemphasis on procedural knowledge at the expense of conceptual understanding, ineffective use of laboratory instruction, and inadequate number of opportunities to apply knowledge and skills to authentic engineering problems.  Drawing upon research in psychology, educational psychology, and engineering education, he will then describe changes to engineering curricula and instruction that address these issues.  The research on which the changes are based include the development of expertise, complex problem solving, conceptual learning, inquiry-based learning, and the impact of instructional methods on student learning.

Tom Litzinger’s work in engineering education involves curricular change, teaching and learning innovations, assessment, and faculty development. He has more than 50 publications related to engineering education including lead authorship of an invited chapter on translation of research to practice for the first edition of the Cambridge Handbook of Engineering Education Research. He teaches design and thermal sciences.  His disciplinary research on combustion in engines and rockets has resulted in more than 120 publications.  Dr. Litzinger is a Fellow of ASEE and of ASME.  He holds a B.S. in Nuclear Engineering from Penn State, an M.Eng. in Mechanical Engineering from RPI, and a Ph.D. in Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering from Princeton.