Engineering education for the 21st century: scholarship, synergy and student success

Jane Andrews, Robin Clark

Research output: Chapter in Book/Published conference outputConference publication


Starting with the question “How can University level Engineering Education be developed in such a way so as to enhance the quality of the student learning experience?”, this discussion paper proposes an approach to engineering education developed by a senior engineering educator working alongside a pedagogical researcher in an attempt to engage colleagues in contemporary debates about the issues currently faced across the Sector. Such issues include difficulties with recruiting students onto programmes as well as high levels of student attrition and failure. Underpinned by three distinctive concepts: Synergy, Variety & Relationships (S+V+R), the approach brings together pedagogic and engineering epistemologies in an empirically grounded framework in such a way so as to provide an accessible and relevant learning approach that, if followed, engenders student success [S2].
Specifically developed with the intention of increasing retention and positively impacting student success [S2], the S+V+R=S2 approach provides a scholarly and Synergetic (S) approach to engineering education that is both innovative and exciting. Building on the argument that Variety (V) in education is pivotal to promoting originality and creativity in learning and teaching, this paper shows how, by purposefully developing a range of learning and teaching approaches, student engagement and thus success can be increased. It also considers the importance of Relationships (R) in higher education, arguing that belonging and relationships are crucial factors impacting student experiences. When taken together (Synergy, Variety and Relationships) and applied within an Engineering Education context, students are provided with a unique learning environment – one that both promotes individual success and improves organisational effectiveness. The uniqueness of the approach is in the synthesis of these three concepts within an Engineering Education epistemology.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationConference proceedings for EE2012
Subtitle of host publicationinnovation, practice and research in engineering education
PublisherHigher Education Academy
Number of pages6
ISBN (Electronic)978-1-907632-16-7
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2012
EventInternational conference on innovation, practice and research in Engineering Education - Coventry, United Kingdom
Duration: 18 Sept 201220 Sept 2012


ConferenceInternational conference on innovation, practice and research in Engineering Education
Abbreviated titleEE 2012
Country/TerritoryUnited Kingdom

Bibliographical note

Copyright © September 2012, authors as listed at the start of this paper. This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0)


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