Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy



Major Professor

Lisa C. Yamagata-Lynch

Committee Members

Craig D. Howard, Gary J. Skolits, Barbara J. Thayer-Bacon


Engineering faculty members often publish about their courses, but what is lacking from these articles is an understanding of why they make the decisions they make during the course design activity. Using cultural historical activity theory as a theoretical framework, this dissertation looks at how seven award-winning engineering faculty members approach their syllabus and their course. The course syllabus acted as a tool for faculty to both share about their course and course design process, and to communicate their beliefs to their students and to others within their disciplinary communities. However, the course syllabus was not always used in the way that participant faculty intended, and was often under-utilized by many of the students. As a result, participant faculty relied on their beliefs about teaching and learning, and the stakeholder position they held in their departments, as tools as they wrote their course syllabuses and taught their courses.

Available for download on Wednesday, May 15, 2019

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