Call for Papers


Special Issue on Using Design Projects to Spur Cognitive Development of Students in Science and Engineering

Initial Submission Deadline: 15 August 2018

PDF of the call is available from: IEEE DesignEng-call-for-papers

Guest Editors


Aims and Scope:  The IEEE Transactions on Education (ToE) publishes significant and original scholarly contributions to education in electrical and electronics engineering, computer engineering, computer science, and other fields within the scope of interest of IEEE. Contributions must address discovery, integration, and/or application of knowledge in education in these fields. Articles must support contributions and assertions with compelling evidence and provide explicit, transparent descriptions of the processes through which the evidence is collected, analyzed, and interpreted. While characteristics of compelling evidence cannot be described to address every conceivable situation, generally assessment of the work being reported must go beyond student self-report and attitudinal data (

The journal solicits original manuscripts for a special issue exploring overlaps between design thinking/education/projects and theories on student development. Manuscripts appropriate for the special issue should be aligned with the aims and scope of ToE and generally address the guiding question: To what extent do design projects influence cognitive and epistemological development of undergraduates in science and engineering?

Research shows students who can restructure their thinking get more out of their higher education and are much better prepared for their careers than those who do not [1]. However, most university undergraduates do not progress markedly along the continuum of development outlined by William Perry [1] and others [2]-[5]. Epistemology is the study of how an individual conceptualizes knowledge, where it comes from, and how it originates. Students with sophisticated epistemic cognition consider multiple points of view, make decisions in context, and recognize their own ability to create new solutions and generate new knowledge. Such skills are necessary for effective performance in STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics), yet the typical engineering student progresses fewer than two positions along Perry’s nine-position scheme while in college [6]. Investigation of how to foster development among engineering students will be the focus of this special issue.

The guest editors of this special issue believe that design-, project-, and problem-based learning environments can have significant impact on student learning. Such environments can elicit enthusiastic student engagement in solving complex problems. They can involve real-world contexts so that students see relevance—to themselves and society—and connect new experiences to prior knowledge. The guest editors posit that, when thoughtfully applied, such pedagogies can promote high-level, holistic development among students. The Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching supports these beliefs through its publications, which include Boyer and Mitgang’s extensive report of architectural education [7] that found architecture students deeply engaged and achieving impressive levels of development. The Carnegie Foundation promotes the use of architecture’s hands-on and design-based pedagogies to improve the teaching of engineering and other STEM subjects [8].

Theories on student development are well known among student affairs professionals who provide extra-curricular and auxiliary support to students, yet these theories are less frequently known or applied by academic staff [9]. Understanding these theories may aid engineering educators in communicating clearly and effectively with students—helping students develop incrementally, providing effective scaffolding for student learning, and providing an appropriate balance of challenge and support.

The guest editors seek to provide engineering educators, particularly educators in IEEE’s focus areas of Electrical and Computer Engineering (ECE), with tools and theories to facilitate high-level development among students.


This special issue solicits contributions to knowledge connecting two or more of the following fields: design education, social psychology, student development theory, and cognitive neuroscience.

The guest editors envision a range of explorations and empirical studies involving topics such as:

  • Assessments of learning and developmental growth among students studying design alongside science and engineering
  • Quantitative studies using new or existing instruments to identify student conceptualizations, identities, or epistemologies
  • Replication of prior studies on cognition or epistemology within the context of design and engineering education
  • Qualitative studies of students’ changes in metacognition over time
  • Qualitative studies using think-aloud protocols to understand and assess students’ design rationale related to existing student development theories
  • Creation and testing of new diagnostic tools for educators to use in supporting and retaining engineering students
  • Studies of brain activity or changes in brain structure during the process of design
  • Comparisons of epistemological differences between various professional groups, e.g., people practicing physical and social sciences

Cognitive-Structural Theories are of particular interest. These include the seminal theory of intellectual and ethical development by Perry [1] and various adaptations of the theory, including:

  • Women’s ways of knowing by Belenky et al [2]
  • Knowing and reasoning in college by Baxter Magolda [3]
  • Developing reflective judgment by King and Kitchener [4]
  • Personal epistemology by Hofer and Pintrich [5]
  • The development of epistemological understanding by Kuhn at al [10]
  • Explaining the epistemological belief system by Schommer-Aikins [11]

Other theories of interest include, but are not limited to:

  • Psychosocial development theories such as Chickering’s seminal theory of identity development [12]-[13] and other theories related to professional [14], gender [15], spiritual [16], racial [17]-[18], or ethnic [19] identity
  • Typology theories involving Myers-Briggs [20], theories of experiential learning [21], person-environment theories [22], or similar

Manuscripts can investigate general engineering- and design-related topics but must include text explicitly discussing the applicability of findings to engineering education, including education in fields within the scope of interest of IEEE.

Submission Criteria

Initial submissions are expected to be in the form of full-length manuscripts. However, authors are invited to submit ideas, topics, and extended abstracts to the Associate Editor ( for feedback before preparing full manuscripts. The following selection criteria apply:

  • Manuscripts should clearly identify the topic, research methodology, findings, who the finding will be of use to and how.
  • Well-designed empirical research studies are solicited. In addition, the following types of submissions will be considered:
  • Case studies that present compelling evidence to support key assertions, in addition to describing the initiative.
  • Scholarly position papers that contain arguments with sound theoretical justification.
  • Authors must support their claims with compelling evidence and provide explicit, transparent descriptions of the processes through which the evidence has been collected, analyzed, and interpreted.
  • For inclusion in the IEEE Transactions on Education, a study must generally go beyond analysis of course- or event-survey data. Attitudinal data about a program or once-off student self-reports are not typically sufficient for publication in this journal.

Papers must be submitted electronically to the journal’s ScholarOne web site at no later than 15 August 2018.

  • For identification purposes the authors’ cover letter is expected to include the statement: “This is a submission to the Special Issue on Design and Student Development.” Without this information, the manuscript may not be assigned for review for the special issue. The cover letter should also indicate the major area of scholarship related to the three IEEE categories: discovery, integration, or application. Authors are referred to the Author Resource website ( for more information on selecting the appropriate area of scholarship.
  • Authors should select “Special Issue” as “Manuscript Type” in the corresponding menu during submission.
  • Submissions must follow the “Information for Authors” available at
  • Please contact Dr. Kirsty Mills ( for any assistance needed during the submission process.


  • May 2018: Publication of the call for papers for this Special Focus Issue. As noted above, authors are encouraged to contact the Associate Editor, Dr. Shannon Chance ( to receive preliminary feedback, or with questions related to the topic of study.
  • 15 August 2018: Initial submissions are due on or before Wednesday, 15 August 2018 using the manuscript portal for the IEEE Transactions on Education, Manuscripts will be peer reviewed using the journal’s published review criteria as well as the criteria for this call provided above.
  • 30 October 2018: Authors will be notified of the editorial decision on or before 30 October 2018. For manuscripts of suitable focus and quality, authors can be invited to either: (a) make minor changes or (b) revise and resubmit with major changes. Initial acceptance does not ensure publication of any given manuscript, since publication decisions will be made in light of fit and quality of the final manuscript.
  • 15 January 2019: Fully developed and revised manuscripts are due on or before 15 January 2019. Manuscripts should be submitted to the manuscript portal for the IEEE Transactions on Education,
  • 15 March 2019: Authors will be provided with a final set of peer reviews. Any necessary revisions will be requested by 15 March 2019.
  • 1 May 2019: All final manuscripts are due for final editorial decision.
  • 15 May 2019: Handover of all final manuscripts to IEEE for proof setting and author proof checks.
  • August 2019: Anticipated publication of the special issue.


[1] Perry, W. (1970). Forms of ethical and intellectual development in the college years: A scheme. (1st ed.). San Francisco: Wiley.

[2] Belenky, M. F., Clinchy, B. M., Goldberger, N. R., & Tarule, J. M. (1986). Women’s ways of knowing: The development of self, voice, and mind. New York: Basic Books.

[3] Baxter Magolda, M. B. (1992). Knowing and reasoning in college: Gender-related patterns in students’ intellectual development. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.

[4] King, P. M., & Kitchener, K. S. (1994). Developing reflective judgment: Understanding and promoting intellectual growth and critical thinking in adolescents and adults. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.

[5] Hofer, B. K. & Pintrich, P. R. (2002). Personal epistemology: The psychology of beliefs about knowledge and knowing. Mahwah, NJ: Erlbaum.

[6] Pavelich, M. J., & Moore, W. S. (1996). Measuring the effect of experiential education using the Perry model. Journal of Engineering Education85(4), 287-292.

[7] Boyer, E. L., & Mitgang, L. D. (1996). Building community: A new future for architectural educ. and practice. Princeton: Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching.

[8] Boyer Commission on Educating Undergraduates in the Research University. (1998). Reinventing undergraduate education: A blueprint for America’s research universities.

[9] Evans, N. J., Forney, D. S., & Guido-DiBrito, F. (1998). Student development theory in college: Theory, research, and practice. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.

[10] Kuhn, D., Cheney, R., & Weinstock, M. (2000). The development of epistemological understanding. Cognitive Development, 15(3), 309-328.

[11] Schommer-Aikins, M. (2004). Explaining the epistemological belief system: Introducing the embedded systemic model and coordinated research approach. Educational Psychologist39(1), 19-29.

[12] Chickering, A. W. (1969). Education and identity. Jossey-Bass.

[13] Chickering, A. W., & Reisser, L. (1993). Education and Identity. The Jossey-Bass Higher and Adult Education Series. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.

[14] Loui, M. C. (2005). Ethics and the development of professional identities of engineering students. Journal of Engineering Education94(4), 383-390.

[15] Bilodeau, B. L., & Renn, K. A. (2005). Analysis of LGBT identity development models and implications for practice. New directions for student services2005(111), 25-39.

[16] Parks, S. D. (2011). Big questions, worthy dreams: Mentoring emerging adults in their search for meaning, purpose, and faith. John Wiley & Sons.

[17] Cross Jr, W. E. (1978). The Thomas and Cross models of psychological nigrescence: A review. Journal of Black psychology5(1), 13-31.

[18] Helms, J. E. (1997). Toward a model of White racial identity development. College student development and academic life: Psychological, intellectual, social and moral issues, 49-66.

[19] Phinney, J. S. (1993). A three-stage model of ethnic identity development in adolescence. Ethnic identity: Formation and transmission among Hispanics and other minorities61, 79.

[20] Myers, I. B. (1962). The Myers-Briggs Type Indicator: Manual.

[21] Kolb, D. A., Boyatzis, R. E., & Mainemelis, C. (2001). Experiential learning theory: Previous research and new directions. Perspectives on Thinking, Learning, and Cognitive Styles1(8), 227-247.

[22] Strange, C. C., & Banning, J. H. (2001). Educating by Design: Creating Campus Learning Environments That Work. The Jossey-Bass Higher and Adult Education Series. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.