Nathan Johnson

Nathan Johnson, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor, The Polytechnic School, Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering, Arizona State University
Director of the Laboratory for Energy And Power Solutions (LEAPS)

"FROM ENERGY ACCESS TO GRID RESILIENCY: A Story of Anthropology, Engineering, and Business"

Friday, Feb. 8, 2019 | 5 p.m. | Rogers Hall, Room 226

Innovation is a process that encompasses and eclipses engineering practice to more comprehensively include  skill sets from anthropology, economics, and business. It  is challenging, however, within our academic career paths to identify opportunities to apply that process in earnest.  This talk will demonstrate opportunities for innovation  with global impact by beginning with methods that capture and interpret user insights before diving deeper into four  synergistic project areas that each connect user insights  with technical research to the delivered product.

Dr. Nathan Johnson is an Assistant Professor at Arizona State University and the Director of the Laboratory for  Energy And Power Solutions (LEAPS). His 25-person  research team takes energy innovations from concept to construction with a focus on grid modernization, micro-grids, off-grid solutions, critical infrastructure, and  workforce development. Dr. Johnson manages a one acre  micro-grid test bed and combines simulation-based design with hands-on prototype development to create  next-generation solutions to current market needs. Before  joining ASU, he spent ten years in industry and academia working in product development for the energy sector  with projects across 15 countries. He now helps start and  advise small businesses. Dr. Johnson is an active educator with training and workforce development programs inside  and outside the university.

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.