Ph. D. Applied Sciences – May 2017

Southern Methodist University, Dallas, TX

My research interests lie broadly in the area of engineering education.  Specifically, I’m interested in how we develop innovativeness in undergraduate engineering students.  It is not uncommon to hear that the US needs more innovative engineering graduates, but the work of measuring innovativeness is mostly just beginning for this age group.  My goal is to advance our understanding of the skills and behaviors associated with innovativeness, and how we can foster them in our students through different types of learning experiences.  Towards the PhD, I’ve completed advanced course work in computer science, software engineering, and educational research.

Dissertation Title: An Exploratory Study of Innovative Work Behavior

Dissertation Abstract:

Many undergraduate STEM degree programs strive to produce graduates that are innovative in their problem-solving abilities. However, little work has been done related to measuring the individual innovativeness of undergraduate students, particularly those in STEM disciplines. One operationalization of individual innovativeness from the organizational psychology literature is Innovative Work Behavior (IWB). Three different behavioral tasks compose IWB: idea generation, idea promotion, and idea implementation. Idea generation consists of producing useful and novel ideas. Idea promotion consists of seeking support from important constituents such as fellow team members or supervisors. Finally, idea implementation consists of producing a prototype or model. These behaviors are not necessarily linear and an individual could be engaged in a combination of the behaviors simultaneously.

While there are multiple studies published measuring IWB, a review of the literature has not revealed any related specifically to undergraduate STEM students. Common ways of measuring of innovativeness of employees include number of patents, number of publications, or number of products generated. These measures of innovativeness are not typically applicable to undergraduate students for obvious reasons. This research builds on previous work of IWB and offers the results of two studies. Study 1 examines the reliability and validity of a modified version of the IWB instrument (IWB-M) referenced in the scholarly literature with a general population sample. Results show that the IWB-M instrument possesses acceptable reliability and validity given the nature of exploratory research. Study 2 examines the relationship between IWB-M and peer ratings of innovativeness in an undergraduate engineering and computer science sample while also seeking further support for the reliability and validity of the instrument. Results of Study 2 provide support for a statistically significant relationship between self-reported levels of IWB and peer ratings of innovativeness.

M.S. Computer Science, May 2003

Southern Methodist University, Dallas, TX

During my masters degree work, I was interested in database systems and data mining.  I also caught the bug for teaching and mentoring undergraduate engineering and computer science students.  While I am still very much a CS guy, my research interests have shifted towards engineering education.

B.S. Computer Science, May 2001

McNeese State University, Lake Charles, LA