Loyola University Chicago

College of Arts & Sciences

Spotlight On: Gail Baura

Gail Baura, Professor and Founding Director of the Engineering Program at Loyola University Chicago, has built a program with strong national rankings

Professor Gail Baura, Founding Director of the Engineering Program in the College of Arts and Sciences at Loyola University Chicago, has built a program that was just ranked #39 out of 239 peer institutions in the 2022 U.S. News and World Report list of Best Undergraduate Engineering Programs.

 

As the Founding Director of the Engineering Program, Baura in coordination with her outstanding faculty developed the curriculum, pedagogy, and standards to include a Jesuit focus on social justice and ethical context around the engineering profession. These efforts resulted in a rare perfect score in 2020 when the Engineering Program received accreditation from the national Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology (ABET).

 

Loyola Engineering is the first program in the U.S. to fully integrate engineering and social justice in its curriculum. The program was also included in the American Society for Engineering Education’s (ASEE) 2020 list of Top 10 Institutions by Percentage Bachelor's Degrees Awarded to Women.  Fifty-two percent of the Class of 2020 graduates were women. 

 

Dr. Baura received her BS in Electrical Engineering degree from Loyola Marymount University, MS in Electrical Engineering and MS in Biomedical Engineering degrees from Drexel University, and the PhD in Bioengineering from the University of Washington. Between her graduate degrees, she worked as a loop transmission systems engineer at AT&T Bell Laboratories. She then spent thirteen years in the medical device industry conducting medical device research and managing research and product development at several companies. She holds twenty U.S. patents.

 

Throughout her career, Dr. Baura has championed engineering curriculum excellence. She has written four engineering textbooks, three of which are medical device textbooks. The second edition of her nationally recognized and adopted textbook, Medical Device Technologies: A Systems Based Overview Using Engineering Standards, was published in 2020 by Elsevier. Indeed, Dr. Baura and her faculty together have constructed a general engineering curriculum that incorporates substantial industry input and prepares new engineering graduates for positions in the medical device, microelectronics, and wastewater treatment industries.

 

“In a very short period of time, Dr. Baura has built one of the top undergraduate engineering programs in the nation,” says Peter J. Schraeder, Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences at Loyola University Chicago. “She has done this with her own considerable expertise in engineering and in best-practice curriculum development, and she has recruited outstanding faculty and a stellar industrial advisory board to build a diverse, highly-ranked program that blends theory with real-world, problem-solving experience.”

 

A hallmark of the Engineering Program is an emphasis on active learning.  Rather than delivering a full lecture in each course, each professor provides a mini-lecture to go over fine points of the homework.  The class then breaks into small groups of 3-4 students, and conducts group activities (problem-based, collaborative, or service learning). You can learn more about the active learning methodology that facilitates student engagement and engineering retention here.