Jon A. Leydens honored with ASEE Sterling Olmsted Award
The highest award given by the Liberal Education/Engineering & Society (LEES) Division of the ASEE, the award honors those who have made distinguished contributions to the development and teaching of liberal arts in engineering education.
“Professor Leydens’ work represents a dynamic confluence of two scholarly areas of primary importance to the LEES community: social justice and communication in engineering. His work is extraordinary in both its immediate pedagogical impacts and its larger reframing of engineering as a space for the promotion of individual and collective well-being, and we are honored to name him as this year’s Olmsted Award recipient,” the citation reads.
Leydens has been a member of the Mines community since 1997, launching Mines’ campus writing program before becoming a tenure-track professor with a focus on engineering education research and communication. He became a full professor in the Humanities, Arts and Social Sciences Department in 2019.
Leyden’s research interests are in three areas of engineering education: sociotechnical thinking, communication, and social justice. He is co-author of Engineering and Sustainable Community Development (2010), which accentuated the need for engineers working in community development projects to listen to the needs and perspectives of local community members. His edited collection, Sociotechnical Communication in Engineering (2014), looks at how sociotechnical communication disrupts commonly held myths about engineering communication. His most recent book, Engineering Justice: Transforming Engineering Education and Practice (2018, Wiley-IEEE Press, with co-author Juan Lucena), shows how engineering and social justice can align in and outside the engineering curriculum.
Five current or retired Mines faculty have won the Olmstead Award, more than any other higher education institution in the U.S.: Barbara Olds (1997), Juan Lucena (2015), Dean Nieusma (2018, then a faculty member at RPI), Carl Mitcham (2021) and Leydens (2022).