Education Research


Snapshots of our Work:




Professional Development

Study Abroad in Brazil

Important Links:

  1. Tools for Teachers

  2. Tools for Researchers (soon)

  3.    Data (soon)


  1. Elizabeth Burpee (MPH)

  2. Ryan Campbell (PhD)

  3. Jeff Chen (BSEE)

  4. Cassandra Hooper (BSEE)

  5. MJ Kim (Phd Education)

  6. Tien Nguyen (MS, Inf Sci)

  7. Xingyi Shi (BSEE)

  8. Ken Yasuhara (Phd CSE)

Basic Research:

  1. Belonging

  2. Co-curricular Activities

  3. Faculty Support

  4. Peer Support

  5. Psychological Sense of Community

  6. Self-Efficacy


  1. Instructor Effectiveness

  2. STEM Persistence

  3. Student Engagement


  1. Higher Ed Teaching Technique

  2. Professional Development Curricula

  3. Sustainability Curricula


What do we do?  Where does our team fit?

The Study of Belonging:  

Belonging is considered a fundamental human need and in work and education environments, has been shown to be a stronger indicator of future engagement in tasks than competence, confidence, or related parameters.   In STEM education, belonging may be particularly relevant to persistence in keeping students engaged in their programs through touch curricula and periods of isolation.  Our work focuses on studying belonging in undergraduate STEM education as it relates to academic engagement.  

The Study of Co-Curricular Activities: 

While student participation in co-curricular activities (both academic and non-academic) has been tied to academic performance, persistence, and engagement in K-12, such connections in higher education are mixed and often inconclusive.   This lack of clear connection may be about the fact that the student’s experience and daily life in higher education is so much more varied than that of the high school or middle school student.  Our study of co-curricular activities focuses on the outcome of academic engagement and the role that co-curricular activities play on engagement through other important variables (such as self-efficacy).  Our goal is to identify consistent relationships that these activities offer to understand which students are affected by their participation in activities outside the classroom and how.

Professional Development Curricula: 

Engineering students lead busy lives and often do not participate n in extracurricular professional development activities as their non-engineering peers.  However, when students are exposed to professional development instruction inside their curriculum within the context of their chosen field, they enjoy and learn underlying principles and strategies associated with successful professional and personal development.  Our team has developed professional development course modules that can be integrated into an engineering class or readily converted into a standalone course in engineering.  

Faculty Activity: 

Student evaluations of teaching have long been controversial as a measure of teaching effectiveness.   Our goal is to bring additional data to the table regarding what faculty do and why they do it in STEM environments.  To this end, our team’s effort focuses on collecting student perceptions, faculty perceptions, and objective observations of what goes on in the classroom.   We seek to understand how “active” learning environments in STEM are and what kinds of intermediate techniques between traditional lecture and full-blown student-driven learning are effective in engaging students in the active process of learning and growing in their educational pursuits. 

Select Publications

  1. 1.Denise Wilson, Mee Joo Kim, Cheryl Allendoerfer, Diane Jones, Rebecca Bates, Joy Crawford, Tamara Floyd-Smith, Melani Plett,, and Nanette Veilleux (2014).  The Link between Cocurricular Activities and Academic Engagement in Engineering Education, Journal of Engineering Education, in press.

  2. 2.Cheryl Allendoerfer, Denise Wilson, Elizabeth Burpee, and Mee Joo Kim (2014) Mapping Approaches to Learning to Patterns of Teaching within STEM, Teaching in Higher Education, in press.

  3. 3.Cheryl Allendoerfer, Denise Wilson, Joy Crawford, Diane Jones, Tamara Floyd-Smith, Melani Plett, Elaine Scott, Nanette Veilleux, and Rebecca Bates (2012) Strategic Pathways for Success: The Influence of Outside Community on Academic Engagement. Journal of Engineering Education, vol. 101, no. 3, pp. 512-538.

  4. 4.Denise Wilson, Cheryl Allendoerfer, Ryan Campbell, Elizabeth Burpee, and Mee Joo Kim (2013)  When Engineering Students Write about Waste Electronics: Trends in how they Think of Global Impacts, ASEE (American Society of Engineering Education) Conference: Atlanta, Georgia.

University of Washington  |  College of Engineering  |  Electrical Engineering

Contact us:

Professor Denise Wilson

Department of Electrical Engineering

University of Washington

Seattle, Washington 98195-2500

206-221-5238;  denisew (at)