Getting to know Dawn Laux
Dawn Laux is a clinical assistant professor in the Department of Computer and Information Technology (CIT) at Purdue University. She has been with the University since 2007 and is responsible for teaching database fundamentals and introductory technology courses. She earned her M.S. degree from Iowa State University in Information Systems in 2007, and has 10 years of industrial experience in the information technology field. She is pursuing her Ph.D. in human-computer interaction at Iowa State as well.
What I teach: I teach CNIT 272, which is a database fundamentals course, and CNIT 136, which is PC applications and technology. CNIT 136 is an online technology course for non-CIT students, and we go over Office and Technology concepts. I try to stress how to use computer technology ethically and effectively. There are lot of students from sales, HTM and general studies. The class is serving more of the university. I’ve also been teaching TECH 120 (Technology and the Individual), and I’ll teach it again in the fall. I do not like to be the only one talking in the room. It’s important to me that I get a discussion going in the room, and then go wherever that leads us. I do that in CNIT 272 and TECH 120.
On the focus of TECH 120: We’ve been trying to engage the students and expose them to student organizations and other areas outside of the classroom. We’re working to instill the idea that you can’t just go to class and get good grades and be able to easily get a job. We tell them they have to expand their horizons through internships, leadership possibilities and taking a more active role. We also stress good time management, and we try to give them good examples on how to do that. Our big push now is problem solving and good critical thinking and technical writing. We’re trying to prepare them for their courses in CoT for all of their lab work.
On the future of TECH 120: We’re getting ready to work with IMPACT. Ethics, teamwork and problem solving are our three pillars. Through IMPACT, it will be an active learning environment. They’ll come into class once a week, we’ll give them the material for the topics, and they’ll have to do a series of readings, homework, etc. In classroom, they’ll get an active project to work on with their classmates.
On her involvement with other college initiatives: I am the diversity coordinator for CIT, so I am helping put together a diversity plan for the college. I assist with the Women in Technology group, and I’ve tried to take a more active role in recruitment of women and underrepresented minorities to our department. I’m on the Pathways grant for Statewide to create a virtual learning community. We’ll be taking the concept of learning communities, and, since all of these students are spread all over the state, we want to develop a virtual learning community where they can collaborate with each other without having to be in the same facility. Brandeis Marshall [assistant professor of CIT] and I also are taking on an initiative to take the largest cohort of female student to the Grace Hopper Celebration of Women in Computing in the fall. Our goal is to fund all CIT female students and any other computing student within the College of Technology. By attending, these emerging computer technologists will see and engage with established computing women, thus assisting in fulfilling the college’s diversity initiatives.
Outside of work: My husband, Chad, and I try to take the kids to a different national park every summer, so we spend a lot of time outside. We are thinking about Acadia in Maine. We’ve already been to Washington, D.C., Great Smoky Mountains, Shenandoah, and Mammoth Cave.