CREATE Science Seminar Speaker: Dr. Mary Besterfield-Sacre, University of Pittsburgh


Wednesday, January 24, 2018 - 12:00pm to 1:00pm


252 Erickson Hall

Title:  GenZ and STEM Education Today – How to Capitalize on the Crossroads

Abstract:  Freeman and colleagues (2015) provided substantial proof what we have intuitively known for quite some time - active learning improves students’ learning in STEM.  However, given the digital age, learning science research and students’ access to information, we as educators are continuously challenged in the classroom, as the number of active learning practices are large and unwieldly.  So where does one start?


This presentation discusses current practices and trends in STEM education that promote student learning with an eye on Generation Z – those individuals who are entering college.  These true digital natives have a negative reputation of being “glued” to their phone, yet this generation has many positives and is concerned about their education.  Unlike Millennials, GenZ students might be more in tune with solving problems of today and tomorrow as their passions are coupled with practicality.    To this end, a framework is provided, along with examples, to guide educators to navigate the active learning-GenZ landscape.


Bio:  Mary Besterfield-Sacre is the Nickolas A. DeCecco Professor of Industrial Engineering  and the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs in the Swanson School of Engineering at the University of Pittsburgh.  She is also the Founding Director of the Engineering Education Research Center.  Dr. Sacre received her B.S. in engineering management from the University of Missouri-Rolla, her M.S. in industrial engineering from Purdue University and a Ph.D. in industrial engineering from the University of Pittsburgh. She joined the industrial engineering department at Pitt as a faculty member in 1999. Prior to her work and research here she was an assistant professor at the University of Texas – El Paso and has worked as an industrial engineer at ALCOA and with the U.S. Army Human Engineering Lab. Dr. Sacre’s current research focuses on three distinct areas—innovative product design, entrepreneurship, and models and modeling in the engineering classroom as well as investigating the impact of international education on engineering students.  She received her Ph.D. in Industrial Engineering from​the University of Pittsburgh.