SOUTHFIELD—The Kern Family Foundation has named Lawrence Technological University engineering Associate Professor Elin Jensen as an “Engineering Unleashed Fellow” for 2023.
Foundation officials said the designation recognizes leadership in undergraduate engineering education, as evidenced by Jensen’s participation in foundation activities and its encouragement of an entrepreneurial mindset among engineers.
Jensen chairs the Department of Civil and Architectural Engineering in the LTU College of Engineering.
“We’re grateful for our relationship with the Kern Family Foundation and its support for entrepreneurial engineering education at LTU,” said Lawrence Tech President Tarek M. Sobh. “And we’re proud of Dr. Jensen’s accomplishments that were recognized by this Fellowship.”
And Richard Heist, LTU provost and chief academic officer, added: “Professor Jensen’s recognition as an Engineering Unleashed Fellow comes as no surprise to LTU. It is certainly well deserved, in large part, due to her long history of innovative and supportive involvement with our College of Engineering students. She helps set the standard for the quality of education that is a hallmark of our great University.”
Recognition as a Fellow begins with participating in the foundation’s faculty development events, where participants develop programs to apply an entrepreneurial mindset to engineering education. The faculty members work with peer coaches, who nominate what they consider the best projects for Fellowship status. Those nominations are reviewed by an independent committee of past Fellows. Recognition as a Fellow comes to less than 10% of workshop participants.
Jensen’s project was to create a civil engineering introductory course that prepares students for upper-level work while introducing them to their profession’s highest-priority stakeholders: society, and the natural and built environment. In the course, students are asked to redevelop a large vacant lot in an inner-ring suburb. Considering a community partner’s priorities, the student-proposed project must promote diversity, equity, and inclusion; connect residents and businesses; provide easy access to amenities; create destinations using placemaking; and use low-impact development to manage stormwater.
In the course, students meet with city planners, review survey results, and develop pitch sessions, written project impact statements, and poster presentations to the community partner.
Jensen said the goal of the Fellowship is expanding and advancing the project, and sharing the educational strategies developed with the overall engineering education community.
Jensen earned a Master of Science in civil engineering from Aalborg University in Denmark and a Ph.D. in civil engineering from the University of Michigan. She joined the LTU faculty in 2003.
The Kern Family Foundation was established in 1998 by Robert D. and Patricia E. Kern, founders of Generac Power Systems. Among its efforts is the Kern Entrepreneurial Engineering Network, or KEEN, a group of 50-plus universities that use Kern methodologies in their curricula. LTU stands as one of the founding member institutions of the KEEN network since its inception in 2004. Engineering Unleashed is a community of 5,300 members from 385 institutions of higher education, powered by KEEN, that shares a mission to graduate engineers with an entrepreneurial mindset who are equipped to create societal, personal and economic value for others.
This year, 30 individuals from 24 higher education institutions were named Engineering Unleashed Fellows. Recognition as a Fellow carries a $10,000 grant to advance each Fellow’s projects, conduct further research, and participate in conferences.
Lawrence Technological University is one of only 13 private, technological, comprehensive doctoral universities in the United States. Located in Southfield, Mich., LTU was founded in 1932 and offers more than 100 programs through its Colleges of Architecture and Design, Arts and Sciences, Business and Information Technology, Engineering, and Health Sciences, as well as Specs@LTU as part of its growing Center for Professional Development. PayScale lists Lawrence Tech among the nation’s top 11 percent of universities for alumni salaries. Forbes and The Wall Street Journal rank LTU among the nation’s top 10 percent. U.S. News and World Report list it in the top tier of the best Midwest colleges. Students benefit from small class sizes and a real-world, hands-on, “theory and practice” education with an emphasis on leadership. Activities on Lawrence Tech’s 107-acre campus include more than 60 student organizations and NAIA varsity sports.