Project ExCEED is just one of the academic efforts that helped earn Frank Bowman an endowed professorship
Editor’s note: This story originally appeared in the Spring 2022 issue of the UND Alumni Magazine.
Dr. Frank Bowman has been an asset to the University of North Dakota as a professor and chair for the College of Engineering & Mines (CEM) over the past 16 years. Bowman now holds the Thomas C. Owens Endowed Chair of Chemical Engineering, a title that was fully endowed in March 2022 thanks to gifts from many alumni and friends of the college. The position was named in honor of longtime CEM professor, chair and interim dean, Dr. Tom Owens.
Bowman formerly held an associate professor title in Owens’ name and received allotted funds for special projects and research. With the funds, he launched Project ExCEED (Exploring Culturally Relevant Engineering Education Design), a joint research study between UND’s College of Education & Human Development and CEM, funded by the National Science Foundation. This project benefits elementary and middle school teachers who teach Native American and rural students in North Dakota.
The main goal of Project ExCEED is to help teachers integrate culturally relevant engineering tasks into their classrooms, benefiting underserved communities in our state.
Project ExCEED launched in spring of 2021 with eight teachers participating in the professional development sessions. In these sessions they learned to incorporate the engineering design process into their existing curriculum. Bowman is proud of the creativity and adaptability of the teachers and hopes that students begin to see applications of engineering in relevant aspects of their lives.
“Engineering is about addressing some sort of real-world problem and finding a solution. In order to do that you need to understand the community and cultural concerns of the people involved, and that’s what we’re doing with this project,” Bowman said.
Bowman is passionate about his students and is always looking for fresh ways to help them grow. Aside from launching Project ExCEED, he’s devoted his time to developing high-quality online course materials for his classes, allowing his students to have a rich learning experience. The CEM has one of the highest ranked online programs in the nation, which is a big attraction for prospective students to the University.
Bowman is honored to hold the endowed chair position named after Owens, an influential leader within CEM who served the college for 33 years – 23 of them as chair of the Department of Chemical Engineering – before retiring years ago.
“Obtaining the endowed position named after Owens is a great honor because Tom was amazing. Even in retirement, he’s still active in helping the department. As we bring in alumni, they’ll still talk about him and the great experiences they had with him as a teacher and mentor,” Bowman said. Through projects like ExCEED, Bowman is carrying on his predecessor’s influence on future generations of engineers.
Bowman is eager to follow the results of this project. At this point, his research is focused on improving teachers’ self-efficacy and their integration of culturally relevant engineering instruction. In the future he’s interested in exploring the impact of these teachers on student perceptions as a part of future iterations of the project.
Editor’s note: Two additional endowments were created to fund faculty in the College of Engineering & Mines (CEM). The following were awarded their new titles by Dean Brian Tande for their excellence in teaching and research:
The Michael and Sitney Lodoen Endowed Professorship in Civil Engineering was awarded to Dr. Daba Gedafa in March. Gedafa has been on staff since 2011 and has served as chair of the Department of Civil Engineering since 2018. Michael Lodoen, a 1965 CEM graduate, was former owner and president of L & D Construction Co, Inc. He and Sitney live in Cupertino, California.
The Tom and Carolyn Hamilton Fellowship was awarded to Dr. Sven Egenhoff in January. Egenhoff is the chair of the Department of Geology & Geological Engineering and director of the Harold Hamm School of Geology & Geological Engineering. Dr. Tom Hamilton, ’67, ’70, ’93, was chairman, CEO and president of Enserch Exploration Inc-EEX. He and Carolyn live in Houston, Texas.