Paul Eason, Ph.D.,P.E.
Associate Professor, Engineering
A native of Jacksonville, Florida, Paul Eason completed his undergraduate and graduate studies in Materials Science and Engineering at the University of Florida. As an undergrad, Dr. Eason specialized in two fields of study; metallurgy, and ceramics engineering. Taking this hybridized knowledge base, in grad school, Dr. Eason was able to apply traditional ceramic powder processing techniques to in-situ processing of intermetallic matrix composites for potential use as high-temperature structural aerospace materials. Following graduate school, he pursued a career in engineering consulting, while always remaining attached to the academic community. While maintaining his consulting practice, Dr. Eason began teaching materials engineering courses as an adjunct professor at the University of North Florida, and now serves as an Associate Professor in the Mechanical Engineering program. Concurrently, Paul was appointed to the Graduate Faculty of the Materials Science and Engineering Department at the University of Florida, where he also serves on the Distinguished Alumni Advisory Board.
Through his involvement with the UNF Honors program, Dr. Eason became involved with the Ghana Project, an immersive, study-abroad project that combined service learning with intercultural experiences. Thanks to the dedication of some UNF Engineering students, an Engineers Without Borders chapter was founded at UNF, and Dr. Eason volunteered to serve as their faculty advisor, which provided the mechanism of the Ghana Project as an engineering Senior Capstone Design project. For the last 5 years, Dr. Eason has been the instructor for all Mechanical Engineering Senior Capstone Design classes, including one year of Expedition Ecuador, and 4 consecutive years of the Ghana Project. Dr. Eason has taken the valuable lessons learned though community based learning, and applied them to all senior design projects, regardless of the topic. An example of his syllabi can be found here.
Working with CBTL, and as a Community Scholar, provided Dr. Eason with the following perspective regarding community based learning in engineering: all engineering projects must serve some societal need. The identification of a problem or need statement is common to all design efforts. As such, each Senior Capstone Design team should be able to articulate the societal benefit of the project they undertake. In addition, these teams are accountable to the end users of these designs and products, and should be required to assess and document the degree to which the end user’s needs are met. Regardless of the nature of the community partner (internal, external, professional, service, etc.) the teams must develop intercultural competency and draw from integrated connections to demonstrate the success of their project. In this sense, it’s impossible to teach Engineering Capstone Design without the lessons of community based learning.