In this paper, we report and expand on research questions designed to improve undergraduate engineering education. These questions are based on a yearlong process that included a three-step Delphi study and a subsequent two-day workshop. The Delphi study, conducted during winter and spring of 2015, engaged subject matter experts from engineering education research and engineering academic administration. It resulted in the formation of three writing teams, one each for the critical areas of improving student learning in undergraduate engineering education, improving and diversifying pathways of engineering students to increase retention, and using technology to enhance learning and engagement in engineering. Participants in the two-day workshop, held in October 2015, were chosen for their expertise in one or more of the three areas, such that the workshop could explore priorities for research that would address each of these areas. Using results from the Delphi study and the workshop, the writing teams worked to synthesize and expand on the research questions to guide future work. This paper addresses the first area: improving student learning in undergraduate engineering education.
Comprehensive, systemic, and systematic improvement of student learning in the undergraduate engineering education system will require change across numerous elements in the system. The Del- phi study and the subsequent workshop clustered major issues related to these numerous elements into four themes: (1) change the organizational culture, (2) research effective assessment practices, (3) promote adoption of research-based teaching practices, and (4) characterize successful faculty development. For each of the four themes, we present a rationale to support selection of the theme and offer categories to organize the research questions. We expect these questions will catalyze scholars to generate new areas of research, will inspire engineering instructors to pursue ideas for improving teaching and assessment in their classrooms, and will galvanize administrators to apply insights to change institutional policies, teaching and assessment activities, faculty development initiatives, and, ultimately, their organizational cultures.