people at a workshop

Previous Workshops

Facilitating Psychological Safety in Engineering Student Teams

Psychological safety is a shared belief that the team is safe for interpersonal risk taking. In a psychologically safe climate, members are more likely to speak up and overcome fears of incompetence that accompany learning by minimizing the negative ramifications of mistakes and failure. Psychological safety has also been shown to be a consistent, generalizable, and multilevel predictor of numerous outcomes important to individuals, teams, and organizations. The goal of this workshop is to provide training on what psychological safety is, and its role in engineering design teams. In addition, we will provide web-based interventions that can be easily integrated into a variety of engineering courses and discuss research evidence of their impact on teams in cornerstone engineering design. Participants will leave the workshop with an understanding of both what psychological safety is and how to foster it in engineering education. The Leonhard Center is excited to have Scarlett Miller, director of the Engineering Design program and associate professor of engineering design and industrial engineering; Sarah Ritter, associate director of engineering design undergraduate programs and associate teaching professor of engineering design; and Susan Mohammed, professor psychology facilitating this workshop based on their NSF- and Leonhard Center-funded projects. 

Reach out to the Leonhard Center for resources and access to the recording.

Using Kahoot to Teach Engineering Students

Many of us assign readings or films to our engineering students before class and ask the students questions to make sure they understand the material. A disadvantage of this strategy is that only one person usually answers at a time. One way to have everyone participate is through polling software. This workshop explores the use of the online program Kahoot, which poses questions and polls to students in a fast-moving and competitive game. While Kahoot gained its reputation as a tool for teaching school kids at the memory and understanding levels, the program does allow for questions to be posed at higher levels of Bloom’s taxonomy. Moreover, during the pandemic, Kahoot has found its way into many university classrooms. This workshop explores using Kahoot to teach engineering subjects. In this online workshop, participants will first play a Kahoot that covers a range of engineering subjects. Following that will be a discussion of the advantages and disadvantages of the game for teaching engineering subjects.

Reach out to the Leonhard Center for resources and access to the recording.

Fellowship of the Faculty

Come join the Leonhard Center and your fellow faculty members to talk about teaching! No formal programing, just conversations about teaching and student learning—whatever you want to talk about. Bring some snacks and enjoy the company!

Growth Mindset and Inclusion

One factor that has been shown to impact student success across underrepresented groups is mindset. Mindset here refers to Dweck’s fixed (innate) and growth (malleable) nature of intelligence and other characteristics. This workshop will present how organizational and classroom culture with respect to messages around mindset can impact the experience of underrepresented students. Specifically, the mindset beliefs of the course instructor with respect to the nature of their students’ ability (fixed or growth) can have substantial and significant impact on closing the achievement gaps for underrepresented students. This workshop will focus on reflecting on faculty’s instructional practices, messaging and perspectives to move towards promoting a growth mindset and an inclusive classroom.

Reach out to the Leonhard Center for resources and access to the recording.

Integrating Values in Engineering Design

To meet the challenges facing society in the 21st century, engineering designers must look beyond technical and economic factors. The new ABET student outcomes reflect this reality and include an expectation that engineering undergraduates consider global, cultural, social and environmental factors when doing design. This workshop, which is intended for any faculty members teaching design, will introduce a methodology that substantially expands the range of factors that students consider early in the design process as they develop the list of specifications that a design must meet. The methodology calls on students to consider of values and needs of a wide range of stakeholders, not just customers. The workshop will include an overview of the methodology and application to a case study.

Reach out to the Leonhard Center for resources and access to the recording.

Combating Stress and Burnout

If you are anything like the folks here in the Leonhard Center, you are feeling stressed, tired, and perhaps even burned out after a year of working and living in the pandemic. Your experiences and feelings are shared by many in higher education. During this workshop, we would like to come together to share our experiences and feelings as well as the strategies that we are using to cope with stress and to combat burnout. After we share, the Leonhard Center will provide a few strategies that we have found in the literature that have helped others including caring for your students, self-compassion, and practicing self-care.

Developing a Scholarly Education Plan for your CAREER Proposal (Part 1)

Early career faculty, have you started thinking about your CAREER proposal yet? Or have you been unable to stop thinking about it?

Come join the Leonhard Center workshop on March 23 or 24 to discuss your education plan with your colleagues and the Leonhard Center. The workshop will assist you in:

  • Choosing the goals/objectives for your education component
  • Developing an outline for a scholarly education plan
  • Identifying appropriate references related to your plan
  • Identifying evidence for assessment to determine if your goals/objectives are being attained

The workshop will be hosted in two sessions in an effort to accommodate busy schedules. The same material will be covered at each session, so you only need to attend one. A follow-up workshop will be held in May to provide specific feedback on your education plan, including the assessment plan. You must attend this workshop in order to attend the May workshop.

The Impact of Reflecting on your Teaching 

Engineering education scholars note that “reflection, or exploring the meaning of experiences and the consequences of the meanings for future action, has always been essential in the development of expertise,” according to the Consortium to Promote Reflection in Engineering Education (CPREE). The benefits of self-reflection are becoming clearer, potentially leading to higher productivity, more planful future actions, and a greater sense of accomplishment. This workshop will help you understand the potential for reflection to enhance your teaching and will provide suggestions on how to start reflective teaching practice. The workshop may assist you in writing the teaching section of your narrative statement of your dossier.

Mark Huerta, Arizona State University
Workshop: Mindfulness and Work/Life Balance

man wearing backpack standing on a mountain overlook

In this workshop, Mark Huerta will introduce the topic of mindfulness including the theory and emerging research within the domains of health, neuroscience, and even engineering education in recent years. Discussion will focus on how mindfulness can support faculty in work-life balance and their teaching practice. Huerta will provide practical, simple approaches for faculty members to begin cultivating mindfulness in their lives. He will also share his personal reflections on his own mindfulness journey including specific experiences that catalyzed his own mindfulness practice, and the benefits he has observed in his own personal and professional development including specific connections in his roles as a doctoral student and now as a faculty member. If you are interested in learning about and discussing how mindfulness may support your well-being, work-life balance, and teaching practice, this is a great seminar to attend!

Huerta is lecturer in the Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering at Arizona State University (ASU) with a focus on teaching project-based learning courses focused on engineering/human-centered design and humanitarian engineering. He is also the co-founder and chairman of 33 Buckets, a non-profit that provides sustainable clean water access solutions in the developing world. Huerta has experiences as a teacher, researcher, engineer, social entrepreneur, and in higher education program management.

Huerta is the recipient of the Barrett Early Career Achievement Award, Pritzker Prize Top 5 Finalist for Emerging Environmental Genius, and Tempe Sister Cities “Making a World of Difference” Award. His work with 33 Buckets was featured in an ASU commercial that was aired locally during Super Bowl LI. He earned his doctorate in engineering education at ASU and also has a bachelor of science degree and a master of science degree in biomedical engineering.

Tricia Bertram Gallant
Webinar on Academic Integrity in Online Environments and Open Forum on Academic Integrity

The Leonhard Center is pleased to announce that we will host Tricia Bertram Gallant, Ph.D., for a webinar and open forum on academic integrity on Feb. 11. In her webinar, Bertram Gallant will discuss an alternative frame through which to view student violations of academic integrity, one that is healthier, uses positive rather than negative energy, and has greater results for all. She will also discuss methods to encourage students to act with integrity in online environments. In addition to the webinar, Bertram Gallant will be available for discussion during an open forum.

Bertram Gallant is an internationally recognized scholar and practitioner of integrity and ethics in education. She is the author of Academic Integrity in the Twenty-First Century: A Teaching and Learning Imperative (Jossey-Bass, 2008), co-author of Cheating in School: What We Know and What We Can Do (Wiley-Blackwell, 2009), editor of Creating the Ethical Academy: A Systems Approach to Understanding Misconduct & Empowering Change in Higher Education (Routledge, 2011), and section editor for the Handbook of Academic Integrity (Springer, 2016). She is the director of the University of California San Diego Academic Integrity Office and board member of the International Center for Academic Integrity and has been an ethics lecturer with the Rady School of Management.

December Leonhard Center Workshop: GIFTs from Fall 2020 – Great Ideas For Teaching

Give the GIFT (Great Ideas For Teaching) of knowledge sharing! In the spirit of the holiday season and celebrating the end of a very unique semester, the Leonhard Center is hosting a GIFT session for all faculty to come share their experiences from the fall 2020 semester. This will be a festive (Leonhard Center hosts will wear “ugly sweaters” and you are welcome to join them) and fun event all about sharing and learning from our experiences this semester!

Designing Remote Exams to Enhance Student Success and Reduce Opportunities for AI Violations

The Leonhard Center and the Office for Digital Learning are teaming up for this workshop on remote exams. On Nov. 20, all Penn State courses will be going remote, which means remote final exams. This workshop will provide strategies for helping students be successful on their exams while limiting the opportunities for academic integrity violations. There is no ONE solution for addressing this challenge, but we hope to facilitate a productive dialogue around the topic and highlight some key considerations, strategies, and technologies to make this a more successful experience for everyone!

Student Perspectives: Learning in the Time of COVID

In recent months, faculty lives and work responsibilities have been turned upside down by the shift in how we instruct our students. While we have been working to re-invent our teaching, it has been difficult for many of us to find time to understand the impact of the instructional changes, and COVID, on our students. Inspired by the customer discovery process initiated by entrepreneurs, this workshop will focus on the student experience as told by student voices. As part of the Entrepreneurial Mindset for Innovative Teaching (EMIT) project, the Leonhard Center will host a student panel with the intention to better understand how the COVID-19 pandemic and remote learning experiences have impacted students. A panel of engineering students will join us to discuss their experiences with remote courses and provide their perspectives on how instructors can help improve their learning. Participants will have the opportunity to submit questions in advance or through Zoom chat during the session. Following the panel, participants will break out into groups to discuss what the students shared during the panel and how they may integrate these perspectives into their teaching. Click here to download "Summary of October 2020 Leonhard Center Student Panel."

Bridging the gap between the general writing that students have learned and the engineering writing that we expect at Penn State

At Penn State, although students are taught general writing in their first year, they often do not take a technical writing course until their third or fourth year. Meanwhile, they are called up to write as engineers in design courses, laboratory courses, and internships. This workshop first gathered participant input on what is needed to bridge this gap. Second, this workshop presented the results of our one-on-one interviews and surveys of engineering students and faculty to learn both what students are missing and what misconceptions they hold when they attempt to write as engineers. Finally, the workshop presented our newest resources to address this problem. These resources include a short online tutorial on writing engineering reports.

Mentoring and Supporting Engineering Graduate Students

Ever find it difficult to mentor the graduate students in your research group? Feel like you need more support to support your graduate students? You are not alone! The Leonhard Center hosted this workshop in December 2019 to help faculty learn from each other and discover new strategies to better enable graduate student success. The workshop discussion focused on providing specific strategies to answer participants’ questions about mentoring as well as common concerns raised by other faculty.

For more information on the workshop, click here. If you have any additional questions about mentoring your graduate students, please feel free to contact the Leonhard Center any time.



The Leonhard Center for Enhancement of Engineering Education was established in 1990 by an endowment from William and Wyllis Leonhard. Its mission is to catalyze the changes that are crucial to maintaining world-class engineering education at Penn State. In 2006 the Leonhard Center became the home for two other major programs that support teaching and learning in the College - the Office of Assessment & Instructional Support and Programs for Engineering Writing & Speaking.

The Leonhard Center

201 Hammond Building

The Pennsylvania State University

University Park, PA 16802-4710

Phone: 814-865-4020