Research

Engineering Education

USF ChBME faculty are leaders in innovation of new educational strategies at the undergraduate and graduate levels. Ongoing areas of pedagogical research and innovation benefiting our students include the following.

ChBME Senior Class of 2019

 

ChBME Undergraduate Peer Leader Program

Lead Faculty: Dr. Sandra Pettit, PE.

The USF ChBME Peer Leader program, initiated by Dr. Sandra Pettit, places senior undergraduate students in classes to serve as peer leaders to younger cohorts of students. Peer Leaders receive training in basic pedagogical skills such as classroom management, Socratic questioning, and facilitating collaboration and group work.  A pilot study performed in ChBME showed that blended classrooms with Peer Leaders result in better student performance and higher student satisfaction rates. Since Dr. Pettit piloted this program, data and learning modules innovated in ChBME have been employed in rolling out a USF-wide undergraduate peer leader program, benefiting the entire USF student community. 

Photo of peer leaders

Differential Equations in Engineering Context

Lead Faculty: Dr. Scott Campbell and Dr. Carlos Smith

Engineering students generally take a course in differential equations during their sophomore year, after completing a calculus sequence. With the belief that engineering students are better motivated to learn mathematics when they can see its applications, Professors Scott Campbell and Carlos Smith developed a course - EGN 3343 Modeling and Analysis of Engineering Systems - in which differential equations are introduced and developed in the context of mathematical modeling of physical systems. By comparing engineering students who took this course with those who take a standard differential equations course, Campbell and Smith have demonstrated that students who take Modeling and Analysis develop the ability to solve differential equations in subsequent courses to a higher degree than those who took a standard differential equations course. Moreover, results indicated that student satisfaction was higher among students who took EGN3343 than among those who took a standard Differential Equations course. Students taking the course now represent all seven engineering disciplines in the College of Engineering, and the course has been formally recognized by the College as a substitute for the standard Differential Equations course for all engineering students. 

Dr. Scott Campbell presenting.

Research Experiences for Undergraduates (REU) Program

Lead Faculty: Dr. Venkat Bhethanabotla

ChBME participates in the Functional Materials and Manufacturing Institute REU program, which provides research opportunities to undergraduates to explore the science and engineering of functional materials, nano-materials, and hybrid composite materials. 

Training World Citizens in Engineering

Lead Faculty: Dr. Norma Alcantar and Dr. John Kuhn

USF ChBME faculty have developed two courses that have recently been designated as Global Citizens Project courses, aimed at training engineering students to contribute and compete as global citizens in an increasingly interconnected world. ECH 4783 "Sustaining the Earth: An Engineering Approach"  offers a global perspective on ecological principles and the tools engineering can bring to bear to design solutions serving the environment, societies, and economies. ECH 4804 "Synthetic Fuel Production"  introduces students to the history and current practices in field production, helping students envision routes toward future greener fuel economies.