Investigating engineering education & technology tools to realize opportunities for diverse students around the world

Jennifer DeBoer, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor of Engineering Education × Purdue University
Co-Director × International Institute for the Development of Engineering Academics
+1-765-496-0195 × deboerj@purdue.edu




Advancing Knowledge

Research Agenda

The DeBoer Lab is motivated to understand how we can promote equity and success for diverse engineering students around the world. Specifically we are interested in:

International & Comparative Engineering education policy

What effects do local, national, and international engineering education policies have on the recruitment and training of diverse engineering students?

Social context and student background factors of Education

How do Individual (gender, race/ethnicity), Family (economic, socio-cultural status), and Institutional (classroom, school, community composition) factors intersect in the education of engineering students?

Technology use in providing learning opportunities for diverse students

Are there technologies that are effective in educating engineering students in low-resource contexts?  What role do MOOCs (Massive Open Online Courses) play in reaching these students?. 

Click below to learn more about specific past and present research efforts in the DeBoer Lab

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As an international education researcher, I know that there are myriad learning environments around the world.  My objective as a teacher is to use an empirical perspective and problem-based learning activities to support students’ study of engineering learning settings around the world.  I do this in courses such as research design, basic and advanced statistical methods, and education and technology. My classroom is a conversation. I help students identify the comparative knowledge, research design and analysis skills, and critical thinking and justice-oriented attitudes they require to reach their individual goals for education research and practice.  More specifically, for undergraduate students, my broad learning goal is to provide a sociological and cognitive perspective of how engineering education works in numerous contexts and via different technologies; for masters students, my goal is to prepare them to critically evaluate programs that are situated in a given learning context; and, for doctoral students, my goal is to prepare them to explore and generate new insights into the complex relationship between technological, social, economic, and cultural factors and learning.

IMplementation & Experimentation

Research findings from the DeBoer lab are implemented immediately in Dr. DeBoers sections of Purdue's ENGR131 First Year Engineering course. Effectiveness of classroom implementation is measured both quantitatively and qualitatively. The data from these experiments guides the research of the DeBoer Lab.  In this way, Teaching and Research work synergystically in a recursive cycle.



Leadership in Capacity building

Dr. DeBoer currently serves as Co-Director of IIDEA (International Institute for Development of Engineering Academics), which is the capacity building arm of IFEES (International Federation of Engineering Education Societies). In this role she helps to develop and coordinate capacity building workshops for national engineering training systems throughout Latin America, Africa, and Asia. Recent workshops include

Empowering Students

Undergraduate and graduate engineering students are often overlooked as important stakeholders in Engineering Education. Dr. DeBoer is committed to empowering students and helping their voices be heard both at the local level in their educational institutions, and at the international level in Engineering Education professional societies. As a graduate student, Dr. DeBoer cofounded and seved as president of SPEED (Student Platform for Engineering Education Development). 

SPEED is a global, non-profit student organization that functions as an interdisciplinary network of engineering students, who aspire to provide opinion and create an impact on future development of engineering education and its effect on society and environment.  Dr. DeBoer currently engages with  SPEED as an Advisory Council Member.  For more information visit the website at Worldspeed.org


Our Team

The Deboer lab welcomes graduate and undergraduate students regardless of race, religion, gender identification, sexual orientation, age, international, or disability status.

Update: We are part of a global community, and we stand with those who are singled out and marginalized. More detail on our values HERE.



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