Past Projects

2021 Projects


Experience of Engineering Students with disabilities engaging in WIL placements Team
Mr Timothy Boye, University of Technology, Sydney
ACEN Aligned $10,000

Abstract: Universities put significant resources into supporting students with disabilities on campus. However, off-campus in work-integrated learning (WIL), employers are expected to take responsibility for students on a day-to-day basis. This project seeks to understand and communicate the experience of engineering students with disabilities on WIL placement in order to better support them in future.


Identifying current best practice and support mechanisms Australasian institutions Team for project based learning
Dr Sarah Grundy, UNSW Sydney; Dr Guien Miao, The University of Sydney; Dr Nick Brown, RMIT University; Dr Marina Belkina, Western Sydney University; Dr Tom Goldfinch, The University of Sydney
ACEN Aligned $20,000

Abstract: It is currently unclear what kinds of support and how much support is needed for teaching of project based units. This study will focus on gathering data from Australasian university faculties in order to compare and share experiences of project-based learning (PjBL) and build an understanding of unit outcomes in relation to the support provided to the educators of PjBL units. In addition, this study will identify exemplar practices and units. The outcomes of this study will provide information that will allow schools, faculties and T&L leadership across Australasia to make decisions around how best to support and retain the teachers of those units.


Engineering educator capability and capacity: How do we accelerate implementation of best practice to meet the 2035 vision for engineering education?
Dr Sarah Dart, Queensland University of Technology; Dr Alexander Gregg, University of Newcastle; Dr Sam Cunningham, Queensland University of Technology
ACEN Aligned $20,000

Abstract: Engineering educators fundamentally shape curriculum and student learning experiences, and will thus play a pivotal role in evolving engineering education practices to meet the 2035 Engineering Futures vision. However, there are persistent concerns about the poor quality of instruction within even present-day engineering programs, and there are numerous challenges to enhancing this teaching quality including workforce skill gaps, operational barriers, and disconnected hiring priorities. To address these issues , this project critically investigates how the key skills and attributes required of engineering educators are represented in academic recruitment through analysis of job advertisements. Interviews with educators in a range of roles are also performed to identify the operational factors supporting and hindering implementation of best educational practice. Bourdieu’s Theory of Practice is applied as the methodological lens, leading to novel and actionable insights for enhancing the quality of engineering education through transforming the capability and capacity of the engineering educator workforce to enact the 2035 vision.


Integrated inclusion: developing best practice for engineering education and the profession
Dr Nick Brown, RMIT; Dr Eva Cheng, University of Technology Sydney; Ms Karen Whelan, Queensland University of Technology
ACEN Aligned $10,000

Abstract: As identified in the ACED Engineering Futures 2035 Scoping Study, to tackle the biggest challenges the engineering profession of the future needs to reflect the diverse make up of Australian society. One cause for the lack of diversity is that underrepresented groups do not feel a sense of inclusion or belonging in their engineering studies/profession. Current university inclusion initiatives tend to focus on attracting a target minority and have largely had limited success. Classroom inclusion initiatives, disconnected from the course content, are often perceived as simplistic or tokenistic, placing the burden on the minority to modify their behaviour. This research project will develop education best practice where the successful participation and inclusion of marginalised and disadvantaged students is integrated into the course itself, comparable to how teamwork is often integrated in engineering courses. Validation will occur in a 3,000 student cohort across three universities. Dissemination will target engineering educators of first year courses where belonging is critical.

2022 Projects

Bringing a Human Dimension to Engineering: Delivery, Outcomes and Recognition of Humanitarian Engineering Education
Dr Jeremy Smith, The Australian National University; Dr Nick Brown, RMIT University; Dr Cris Birzer, The University of Adelaide; Dr Scott Daniel, University of Technology Sydney; George Goddard, Engineers Without Borders Australia.
(ACED Aligned)

Abstract: This project explores approaches and outcomes for embedding a human dimension in engineering education through the experiences of Humanitarian Engineering (HumEng). HumEng, now offered at over 10 Australian universities, will be evaluated and critiqued as an emerging specialisation of engineering which embeds cross-disciplinary, cross-institutional and community engagement in education programs. Surveys of recent graduates’ experiences and aspirations of HumEng and questionnaires with educators will identify the approaches, benefits, relevance, and support for HumEng education, particularly how a human dimension can be integrated with technical knowledge. Opportunities for HumEng within Engineers Australia (EA) frameworks to ensure appropriate practice and recognition will be identified through consultations with EA and discussions with international exemplars. From this research, recommendations for educators and EA will be made for further scaling and embedding of a human dimension in engineering enabling the impact from HumEng to be expanded for current students and future practice leading to a more human-focused engineering profession.

Indigenous Engineering in Australian Engineering Education – A Landscape Study
Ashlee Pearson, The University of Melbourne; Jennifer Leigh Campbell, Griffith University; Claire Elizabeth Dixon, The University of Melbourne.
(ACED Aligned)

Abstract: The Australian Council of Engineering Deans 2017 Position Statement on embedding Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander perspectives in the engineering curriculum outlined key priorities and recommendations. Five years on the progress against these priorities is unclear. This study provides a valuable snapshot of current initiatives and progress, formalises a national community of practice to strengthen networks and capabilities and facilitate opportunities for mutually beneficial and enduring relationships between engineering education and Indigenous communities. Led by three researchers, supported by an advisory group with Indigenous and non-Indigenous members, this study will survey the national landscape using an adaptation of a Participatory Action Research (PAR) methodology developed for a similar purpose in Canada [1],[2]. Engineering Educators and their Indigenous Community Partners whose knowledges, cultures and peoples are embedded in curriculum will be engaged to understand the initiatives being undertaken and the impact on Community of this work.

[1] Seniuk Cicek J, Steele A, Gauthier A, Adobea Mante A, Wolf P, Robinson M & Mattucci S, “Indigenizing Engineering education in Canada: critically

considered”, Teaching in Higher Education, 26:7-8, 1038- 1059, DOI: 10.1080/13562517.2021.1935847, 2021

[2] Seniuk Cicek J, Steele A, Burgart D, Rogalski P, Gauthier S, Mattucci S, Bazylak J, et al. “Indigenous Initiatives in Engineering Education in Canada: Collective Contributions.” In CEEA-ACEG 2020 Proceedings of the Canadian Engineering Education Association Conference. doi:, 2020

Identifying potential mismatches between students’ perceptions of industry placements and the industry’s perception of work-integrated learning
Ivan Gratchev, Griffith University; Simon Howell, Griffith University; Hugo Espinosa, Griffith University; Saeed Shaeri, Charles Sturt University.
(ACEN Aligned)

Abstract: This project aims at investigating the students’ perceptions of industry work and how it is aligned with the current industry needs and expectations. Students and industry partners at Griffith University and Charles Sturt University will be surveyed and interviewed to identify how well students’ knowledge and skills match the current needs of the industry. The collected data (in conjunction with the QILT data) will point out the areas for improvement in the WIL programs at each university and inform other engineering schools across the country on how to better prepare students for WIL placements. The outcomes of this project will be research-based recommendations for institutions and relevant industry on how to assist students in acquiring the knowledge and critical skills required by the industry.