Distinguished Lecture | Women in Computing

Advancements in engineering education at UM and beyond: Two decades of transformation

Cynthia FinelliDavid C. Munson, Jr. Collegiate Professor of EngineeringUniversity of Michigan
Johnson Rooms, Lurie Engineering Center (3rd floor)Map
Cindy Finelli headshot

Cynthia Finelli has been named the David C. Munson, Jr. Collegiate Professor of Engineering. A reception will immediately follow the talk. 

Since its integration into higher education in the late 18th century, engineering education has undergone significant change, spurred by professional societies, funding agencies, and accreditation bodies. In this presentation, I will reflect on transformations in the engineering education landscape I have observed over the past two decades and highlight some of my research group’s contributions to this space. Specifically, I will touch on advancements in faculty development initiatives, pedagogy and instruction, the integration of sociotechnical issues into the curriculum, and support for a diverse student body in engineering. Collectively, these advancements have instilled a culture of inclusive teaching and learning at UM and beyond.


Cynthia J. Finelli is Professor of EECS (with a courtesy appointment in Education) as well as Director and Graduate Chair of Engineering Education Research (EER) at UM. She is the first UM tenure-line engineering faculty member hired under the College’s EER initiative, and she helped develop the College of Engineering’s EER graduate program. Dr. Finelli’s research focuses on learning and teaching at the undergraduate level, and she currently studies faculty adoption of evidence-based teaching, academic success of STEM college students with neurodiversities, and social responsibility among undergraduate engineers. She is also known for her research on engineering students’ ethical development and her efforts to create a taxonomy for EER, which is still in use by the leading journals in the field.

She is a Fellow of both IEEE and the American Society of Engineering Education, and she has received several awards, including the Trudy Huebner Service Excellence Award, the Department’s Outstanding Achievement Award, and multiple best paper awards. In addition, Dr. Finelli has published more than 200 journal and conference papers, has served on the editorial board of leading journals in EER, and has had several national and international leadership roles.

She founded the Center for Research on Learning and Teaching in Engineering at UM in 2003 and was director for 12 years. Dr. Finelli earned the B.S.E., M.S.E., and Ph.D. degrees in Electrical Engineering from UM.

Cindy Finelli presented this professorship lecture January 16, 2024.


Ann Stals