Lee Harper's picture


Lee Ellen Harper retired in 2013 after a 26-year career in higher education.  As assistant director for the Maryland Seminar on US Foreign Policymaking, she managed daily operations of a graduate-level program that brought 15-20 international scholars, diplomats, and journalists to the University of Maryland's School of Public Affairs.  During this time she researched civil law in Vietnam.  Later, as a program manager at the American Association of Colleges and Universities, she participated in conference preparation and logistics and worked on reports and publications addressing diversity in post-secondary education, with a focus on the liberal arts.  She moved back to Maryland to serve as coordinator of education prorams in the Institute for Systems Research.  In this capacity she wrote and delivered conference papers on diversity in engineering education; wrote an original co-curriculum for ISR's REU program, for which she also co-wrote the successful proposal, entitled Introducing the Systems Paradigm to Young Researchers and Future Leaders; and completed an MA in higher education policy, planning and administration.  Her last position at Maryland was as assistant director for graduate programs in the Department of Mechanical Engineering, where she taught a revised version of the REU co-curriculum to graduate students in a course on professional practice.  In retirement, she works as a volunteer Court Appointed Special Advocate in addition to pursuing research.  She is married and has three children and three grandchilren.

Current research areas: 

A critical study of risk definition and allocation in large-scale engineering projects, with case studies focusing on Everglades water mitigation, construction of the World Trade Center twin towers, the US manned space program, road building in Maryland, and the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster. 

Recent scholarly activity: 

Cultural studies of the risks and trade-offs in large-scale engineering projects; most recently focusing on the World Trade Center and the aftermath of 9/11.

Recent publications: 

Dilli, Z., Goldsman, N., Schmidt, J., Harper, L., and Marcus, S (2002).  A new pedagogy in electrical and computer engineering: An experiential and conceptual approach. 
Conference paper #1242, Frontiers in Education, November 6-9, 2002; Benjamin J. Dasher Best Paper Award.
Harper, L.E. (2004).  The social consequences of design: PBL workshops for undergraduate researchers.  Session #3261, American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference and Exposition, June 20 – 23, 2004.
Harper, L.E. (2005).  9/11 as multicultural text: Embedded Narratives of World Trade Center historiography.  Conference on “Speaking Truth to Power: Rethinking/Relearning Diversity in a Post 911 World,” University of Maryland Baltimore County, October 15, 2005.
Harper, L.E. (2006).  Elite aspirations, equity, and diversity in postsecondary education.  University System of Maryland Diversity Network Faculty Initiatives Committee 4th Annual Conference, University of Maryland University College, October 13, 2006.
Harper, L.E., and Beer, D., Teaching from 9/11: The World Trade Center as Text.  ASEE Mid-Atlantic Section Meeting, April 15-16, 2005.

Forthcoming research: 

Revising, updating, and expanding critical work on the social consequences of engineering design projects

Other activities: 

Substitute teacher for Anne Arundel County, Maryland public high schools

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