Chair's Message

headshot Patricia Ralston

Dr. Patricia Ralston

The Department of Engineering Fundamentals (EF) was created in 2007 specifically to engage and support our newest students to help insure their success as they pursue an engineering degree. We are committed to students and excited to help students navigate the important transition from high school to university life.

We introduce students to the practice of engineering via a two-course sequence: Engineering Methods, Tools, and Practice I and II. The sequence focuses on the areas of engineering professionalism, computational and programming skills, communication (graphical, written and oral), problem solving, design analysis, teamwork and project management. The first course focuses on skill development, and the second course requires demonstration of skill acquisition and integration culminating in completion of a team project in the Engineering Garage. We also teach all the undergraduate mathematics courses for engineering students as well as additional graphics courses.

Our faculty are continuously working to improve their teaching strategies and delivery methods using current evidence-based research, and we utilize the latest technology where appropriate.  Supporting these efforts is Speed’s Center for Teaching and Learning Engineering (CTLE). The Center collaborates with UofL’s Delphi Center for Teaching and Learning and is housed in the Department of Engineering Fundamentals.

We are engaged in research with educational psychologists and teacher educators from the College of Education and Human Development and cognitive scientists from the Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences to evaluate and improve our teaching practices. Ongoing improvement efforts include incorporation of active and collaborative learning activities in our traditionally formatted courses, as well as full utilization of the emporium and flipped classroom models in other courses. I encourage you to explore our webpage where you can find out more about  the educational research that we are doing to guide our methods!

Dr. Patricia A.S. Ralston
Dept. Chair, Engineering Fundamentals