UW–Madison’s Burt earns Wickenden Award from American Society for Engineering Education

UW–Madison’s Brian Burt received the William Elgin Wickenden Award of the American Society for Engineering Education (ASEE) on Thursday, July 29, for his article, “Broadening  participation in the engineering professoriate: Influences on Allen’s journey in developing professorial intentions.”

Burt is an assistant professor with the School of Education’s Department of Educational Leadership and Policy Analysis.

Brian Burt

Burt’s award-winning article was published in the October 2020 issue of the Journal of Engineering Education (JEE). The annual Wickenden Award recognizes an article that represents the highest standards of scholarly research in engineering education among the articles published in this journal each year. Burt’s article was selected by the Editorial Board of the Journal of Engineering Education from the articles published in 2020.

“I want to express my sincere appreciation to the ASEE and JEE Awards Committee for recognizing my work with the Wickenden Outstanding Publication award,” Burt said in accepting the award virtually during the ASEE Annual Conference and Exposition.

The abstract of Burt’s article begins by noting: “Given the significant roles that faculty play, it is important to understand how and why engineering graduate students choose faculty careers over other professional opportunities. Yet little is known about this decision-making process, particularly for students of color.”

In this work, Burt goes on to offer “a rich, empirically grounded account of the development of one graduate student’s professorial intentions as a launch‐point from which to explore how to broaden participation in the professoriate among underrepresented students of color in engineering,” the abstract continues.

The article explains how the “underrepresentation of historically marginalized individuals among engineering faculty will remain a problem until more knowledge is gained about why students choose to pursue the engineering professoriate. Future studies that follow this line of inquiry by focusing on smaller numbers of participants may similarly identify key experiences and factors that promote interest in, or turn students away, from faculty careers.”

In accepting the award, Burt says: “Much like Allen’s experience through higher education — ‘Allen’ being the sole student featured in the article — the journey of getting this manuscript published was a testament of perseverance. I am grateful to family members and colleagues who never let me give up on telling this story. I would also be remiss if I failed to mention the anonymous reviewers and JEE editorial team who reviewed, and reviewed, and reviewed many iterations of this article. In doing so, you pushed, encouraged, and helped with the evolution of my thinking and writing of this manuscript. I am a stronger scholar because of you.”

Burt adds: “This award isn’t about me. It’s about the work. This article and award represent a commitment to the work of broadening participation, and a community that valued what this manuscript could offer to the engineering education knowledge base. Finally, I would like to share this award with underrepresented students of color in engineering, whose stories of perseverance and triumph are buried within large datasets. I see you. I hear you. Your valuable stories will continue to be told!”