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Engineers strive to tackle complex interdisciplinary challenges such as those presented in the National Academy of Engineering Grand Challenges, ranging from energy solutions to health care and everything in between.

Given the complexity of these issues, there is a demand to train more engineers with diverse backgrounds and skills who are able to provide new perspectives.

“While current education practices have been successful in a number of ways, research suggests that engineering educators need to use new ways of engaging students in the practice of engineering, both inside and outside the classroom,” said Courtney Faber, research assistant professor and lecturer in the Cook Grand Challenge Honors program. “The discipline of engineering education is a critical component in developing the next generation of engineers ready to tackle the problems of today and tomorrow.”

To meet those needs, the Tickle College of Engineering is launching a graduate certificate program in engineering education this fall.

Offered over the course of two years, the four-course program will include three required courses and a final option between three elective courses, allowing students to tailor their experience in the certificate toward curriculum development, engineering education research, or general preparation for an academic career.

“Faculty advisors do an excellent job of preparing students for the research portion of a future academic position. We believe this certificate will continue to add to that excellent education by offering instruction in theory and pedagogy as they relate to the instructional mission of that position,” said Rachel McCord, lecturer in UT’s Engineering Fundamentals program. “We believe participation in this certificate program will help our TCE graduates be more competitive in the academic job market.”

The program is open to alumni as well as students who have completed a bachelor’s degree in any number of scientific, technological, engineering, mathematics, or education fields. Students can pursue the graduate certificate without committing to a master’s or doctoral program.

Additionally, current UT graduate students can choose to complete one or two of the courses without pursuing the full certificate.

“Besides the value within academia, the certificate program has importance for those who seek to be leaders within industry,” Faber said. “The topics covered by the classes include communication, diversity and inclusion, and theories of learning, all of which are relevant in a wide variety of settings.”

McCord added that similar programs are well established at other peer institutions, including Virginia Tech, Clemson University, the Ohio State University, and Purdue University, and that they were glad to offer this opportunity to UT students and establish the university’s presence in the growing field of engineering education.

Learn more about the program on the UT website.


David Goddard (865-974-0683,
Andrea Schneibel (865-974-3993,