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Jon A. Leydens

Professor, Humanities, Arts, & Social Sciences

Jon LeydensDr. Jon A. Leydens is a Professor of Engineering Education Research in the Division of Humanities, Arts, & Social Sciences at the Colorado School of Mines (CSM). Dr. Leydens’ research interests are in three areas of engineering education: sociotechnical thinking, communication, and social justice.

Curriculum Vitae


During the past two decades, Dr. Leydens has
• Co-authored two books.
• Served as sole editor of one edited collection
• Authored or co-authored 19 peer-reviewed journal articles, and 30 peer-reviewed conference proceedings papers.
• Delivered 20 invited presentations and/or keynote addresses.
• Helped secure over $1.6 million in extramural research funding.
• Won three Best Paper Awards, in 2008, 2012, and 2017, along with other research awards.

He is co-author of Engineering and Sustainable Community Development (2010), which among other foci accentuated the need for engineers working in community development projects to listen to local community members’ needs and perspectives. His edited collection, Sociotechnical Communication in Engineering (2014), looks at how sociotechnical communication disrupts commonly held myths about engineering communication. His most recent book, Engineering Justice: Transforming Engineering Education and Practice (2018, Wiley-IEEE Press, with co-author Juan Lucena), fills a gap in our understanding of how engineering and social justice can align in and outside the engineering curriculum.


Dr. Leydens’ work has been published in journals such as Engineering Studies, European Journal of Engineering Education, IEEE Transactions on Professional Communication, International Journal for Service Learning in Engineering, Journal of Engineering Education, Journal of Geoscience Education, and Journal of Mechanical Design.


 Dr. Leydens wants his students to be empowered by understanding how and why to challenge common misconceptions in culture, science, and engineering. He teaches cross-listed graduate/undergraduate courses:
  • Intercultural Communication
  • Risk Communication
  • Mass Media Studies

Dr. Leydens has also taught a graduate course for engineers and scientists (Academic Publishing) as well as the undergraduate courses Writing Proposals, Nature and Human Values, and Design I (a first-year engineering design course that emphasizes communication and teamwork). Other past  classes included Rhetoric of Science/Scientific Controversies, Media and the Environment and Advanced Science Communication.


During his first seven years at Mines, Dr. Leydens wore three administrative hats: chair of the campus Writing Across the Curriculum (WAC) Committee, Writing Center Director, and Coordinator of First-Year Writing. He has also served on multiple HASS, CSM, and national committees.

Honors and Awards

In 2022, Dr. Leydens received the Sterling Olmstead Award, which “honors those who have made distinguished contributions to the development and teaching of liberal arts in engineering education. It is the highest award given by the Liberal Education/Engineering & Society (LEES) Division of the ASEE [American Society for Engineering Education].”

In 2017, Dr. Leydens served as lead author on a paper that won the Best Paper Award from the American Society for Engineering Education, Minorities in Engineering Division. In 2015-16, Dr. Leydens won the Exemplar in Engineering Ethics Education Award from the National Academy of Engineering (NAE), along with Mines colleagues Juan C. Lucena and Kathryn Johnson.

Research Funding

Dr. Leydens has been co-principal investigator in multiple NSF-funded research projects, including Enhancing Engineering Education through Humanitarian Ethics, focused on researching and developing curricula at the intersection between humanitarianism and engineering ethics, and Engineering and Social Justice: Research and Education of (In)commensurable Fields of Practice, in which researchers are implementing a research and educational initiative on the interface between engineering and social justice. His most recent NSF grant, Understanding the Formation of Sociotechnical Thinking in Engineering Education, investigated the processes by which engineering students form their abilities to engineer sociotechnically and how sociotechnical thinking impacts engineering habits of mind, including specific engineering values, attitudes, and skills. To date, Dr. Leydens has been PI or Co-PI on intra- and extramural grants totaling nearly $1.8 million.


Stratton Hall 420
jleydens <at> mines <dot> edu