Jon A. Leydens

Associate Professor, Humanities, Arts, & Social Sciences

Jon LeydensDr. Jon A. Leydens has worked in the Division of Humanities, Arts, & Social Sciences at the Colorado School of Mines (CSM) since 1997. Dr. Leydens’ research and teaching interests are in engineering education and communication, as he investigates a life-long fascination with multiple dimensions of an overarching question: How do people learn to communicate effectively to move from “outsider” to “insider” in various contexts?

Curriculum Vitae


Although his graduate degrees are in rhetoric/composition and education, the nature of the above question has led Dr. Leydens to become an interdisciplinary scholar. His investigations have ranged from the role of writing in engineering workplaces (Leydens, 2008) to the role of listening in engineering and sustainable community development contexts (Leydens and Lucena, 2009; Lucena, Schneider, and Leydens, 2010). The latter research led Dr. Leydens to be 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 recent 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 Language and Learning Across the Disciplines, Journal of Engineering Education, Academic.Writing, IEEE Transactions on Professional Communication, and Journal of Geoscience Education.


 Dr. Leydens wants his students to be empowered by understanding why and how to communicate better in various contexts. He teaches cross-listed graduate/undergraduate courses:
  • Scientific Controversies (Rhetoric of Science)
  • Intercultural 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 EPICS I (a first-year engineering design course that emphasizes communication and teamwork). Other past  classes included 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. Remarkably, he remained sane (well, for an academic). He continued to chair the campus WAC Committee until 2011, and has served on multiple HASS, CSM, and national committees.

Honors and Awards

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. In 2016, our initiative, “Enacting Macroethics: Making Social Justice Visible in Engineering Education” was showcased on the NAE’s Online Ethics Center for Engineering and Science website.

Research Funding

Dr. Leydens has been co-principal investigator in NSF-funded research and curriculum development 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, investigates 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 over $1.3 million.


Stratton Hall 420