Karen Davis Wins National ASEE Sharon Keillor Award

By: Ashley Duvelius
Date: June 24, 2016

UC CEAS professor, Karen C. Davis, PhD, is receiving the ASEE Sharon Keillor Award for Women in Engineering Education for her outstanding record in teaching engineering students, and a demonstrated history of research and service.

Karen Davis

Karen C. Davis, PhD and professor in the UC College of Engineering and Applied Science (CEAS) Department of Electrical Engineering and Computing Systems, will be presented with the American Society for Engineering Education (ASEE) Sharon Keillor Award for Women in Engineering Education on June 27, 2016 at the 2016 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition in New Orleans, LA.

The Sharon Keillor Award recognizes and honors outstanding women engineering educators. The award consists of an honorarium of $2,000 and an inscribed plaque which is presented annually at the ASEE Annual Conference. Awardees must hold an earned doctoral degree in an engineering discipline, or in an engineering related field of natural science, including mathematics, and will have at least five years of teaching experience in an engineering school.

Davis received her BS in Computer Science from Loyola University in New Orleans. She earned her MS and PhD in Computer Science from the University of Louisiana Lafayette. Davis joined UC in 1991 and served as Associate Department Head of Electrical Engineering and Computing Systems from 1999 to 2003.

Davis regularly contributes to keeping our curricula up-to-date and continually seeks out innovative techniques such as “classroom flipping,” which has achieved notable success in student performance, and new ways to use technology to improve students’ learning outcomes. She helped found an ACM-W student chapter that has embraced K-12 outreach, including Microsoft DigiGirlz and the Bearcat Coders program funded by a Google IgniteCS grant.

Davis is deeply involved in numerous advising and mentoring activities designed to encourage young women to consider careers in computing, such as her efforts to participate in the “Girls on the Go” computing camp for high school women.

Davis co-teaches the senior design capstone sequence for Electrical Engineering and Computer Engineering. Each team has a technical advisor but she helps to review all documentation and provide feedback to every project team throughout the year. The projects are proposed by industrial and community partners, professors, federal agencies, and the students themselves. This year there were 77 students and 22 projects. In addition to her role as a course coordinator, she has supervised 92 students and 50 projects as the technical project advisor.  She organizes the EECS Department’s poster exhibit, judging, and awards every spring for all the undergraduate majors in the department.

Davis has been successful in attracting funding from NSF and elsewhere to support for her educational research. She has served as PI or Co-PI on numerous grants totaling more than $2.5M for innovative educational projects. She led the NSF Broadening Participation in Computing: “Mentoring for Connections to Computing (MC2)” program. MC2 brought 21 undergraduate students from seven different engineering majors into STEM classrooms to connect high school curricula to engineering experiences. 

Karen Davis (right) receives the new Dean's Award for Faculty Excellence from Dean Lim (left).

Karen Davis (right) receives the new Dean's Award for Faculty Excellence from Dean Lim (left).

Davis has expended significant effort to disseminate her findings and observations on educational research. She has published 28 papers covering innovative curriculum development from freshman courses to senior capstone to graduate seminars about advanced database research, ABET assessment, K-12 outreach, and conducting workshops for high school teachers.  She has published with 48 undergraduate and graduate co-authors (21 in educational research).  She has advised more than 50 MEng/MS/PhD graduates.

Davis has spent considerable time working with high school students. She has been a speaker at the UC Women in Engineering Summer Camp (2002, 2008), the EDGE Workshop for Gifted Female High School Students (2006), the Cincinnati Arts and Technology Center (2007, 2008), the Computer Science Summer Camp for high school students (2007, 2008, 2014, 2016), freshman women in STEM disciplines (2008), and the Girls-on-the-Go Mobile Application Development Camp (2012, 2013).  She has participated in Microsoft DigiGirlz (twice in 2015), Grace Hopper Celebration of Women in Computing (2014, 2015), regional Women in Computing conferences (2007, 2011, 2013, 2016), the Tapestry Workshop for High School Teachers (2009, 2010), and Google IgniteCS activities (2015-16).

Davis eagerly looks forward to what the future holds as she and her UC colleagues prepare for the first JCI/CQU senior class to arrive for their “exchange” year in the US.  She says, “My family has hosted high school exchange students several times, and now we’re going to have a class of them in CEAS for a whole academic year.  It’s a really neat opportunity for our US students to have a global experience that will really add distinction to their already distinguished resumes.”

Davis’ talent and dedication to classroom teaching is evident through numerous awards including: The EECS Department’s Restemeyer Teaching Excellence Award (1992, 2000, 2012); the College of Engineering and Applied Science (CEAS) Wandamacher Teaching Award for Young Faculty (2000); the Dean’s Award for Innovation in Teaching (2002, shared); the CEAS Master of Engineering Education Award (2006-08, 2012, 2016).  Dr. Davis has consistently been acknowledged by students for her outstanding teaching. She received the Engineering Tribunal Professor of the Quarter (2000), the HKN ECECS Student Body Outstanding Professor (2004, 2015) and a Darwin T. Turner Scholars Breakfast of Champions award, recognizing faculty for dedication to students (2014).

Most recently, Davis was awarded the inaugural Dean’s Award for Faculty Excellence. This award, which was created by UC Provost Beverly Davenport and UC Vice President for Research Patrick Limbach, is intended to recognize outstanding faculty members in each college who represent excellence in all its forms.

Additionally, Davis was recently named an Executive Board Member for the Teradata University Network (TUN).  TUN provides a portal for educators world-wide to access software from a variety of providers (i.e., Teradata, SAS, Microstrategy, Tableau) for free, and it also includes teaching resources shared by professors. 

Davis reflects, “It’s a joy for me to watch the students achieve so much in such a short time – conducting outreach activities at local schools, obtaining support from Google and Microsoft, and attending the Grace Hopper Celebration of Women in Computing along with 8,000 other female students and professionals.  I truly feel lucky to be taken along on this terrific ride as their advisor, I just sit back and watch them achieve!”

The College of Engineering and Applied Science congratulates Professor Davis on her well-deserved ASEE Sharon Keillor Award!


About ASEE

The American Society for Engineering Education is committed to furthering education in engineering and engineering technology. This mission is accomplished by promoting excellence in instruction, research, public service, and practice; exercising worldwide leadership; fostering the technological education of society; and providing quality products and services to members. The Society seeks to encourage local, national, and international communication and collaboration; influence corporate and government policies and involvement; promote professional interaction and lifelong learning; utilize effectively the Society's human and other resources; recognize outstanding contributions of individuals and organizations; encourage youth to pursue studies and careers in engineering and engineering technology; and influence the recruitment and retention of young faculty and underrepresented groups.