A unique research experience in bioengineering education for undergraduates in the VaNTH REU

Robert Linsenmeier*, Jean Alley, Penny Hirsch, Stacy Klein, Julie Greenberg, Mark Bourgeois

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalConference articlepeer-review


Most Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU) programs are designed to provide summer research opportunities in a particular domain of engineering or science. The VaNTH REU has been unique in focusing instead on education research projects in bioengineering. These projects allow students from various fields to gain a different perspective on their education while making the decisions about content and pedagogy that instructors usually make. After an introductory session at Vanderbilt, students spend the next nine weeks working with mentors from Vanderbilt University, Northwestern University, Massachusetts Institute of Technology or the University of Texas at Austin. While at these sites, students meet weekly by video- or tele-conference to report on their projects. Work on ethics and communication were integrated into the REU experience. The REU students, who are mostly in engineering, have become engaged in the process and methods of engineering education research and, in many cases, have made substantial contributions to the development and/or classroom evaluation of educational materials. At the same time, they have learned a particular field of bioengineering more deeply. This paper discusses the VaNTH REU program and illustrates the contributions of REU students to successful innovations in bioengineering pedagogy. While it would be difficult to replicate the VaNTH REU program in its entirety, many of its components are transferable and could help students who are considering faculty careers or graduate school in engineering education.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalASEE Annual Conference and Exposition, Conference Proceedings
StatePublished - Jan 1 2008
Event2008 ASEE Annual Conference and Exposition - Pittsburg, PA, United States
Duration: Jun 22 2008Jun 24 2008

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Engineering(all)

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