Stephens recognized for excellence in engineering education and technology

By Peter Murphy

Published March 10, 2023

Lisa Stephens, PhD, assistant dean for digital education in UB’s School of Engineering and Applied Sciences (SEAS), was honored with the American Society for Engineering Education’s (ASEE) Best Session Award at the Conference for Industry and Education Collaboration.


Stephens’ panel presentation, “FLEXspace & LSRS: Practical Tools & Resources to Optimize Learning Environments,” was the most highly rated presentation at the conference. The session, led by Stephens with contributions from Kyle Bown, executive director of learning experience at Arizona State University, Kim Scalzo, interim senior associate provost of digital innovation and academic services at SUNY, and moderated by Octavio Heredia, director for global outreach and extended education in the Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering at Arizona State University,  advocated for the use of two free and available tools in the education community.

“The Learning Space Rating System (LSRS) quantifies learning potential of space based on a wide range of measures – now including inclusion,” Stephens says. “Empowering advisory groups with that data and peer exemplars in the Flexible Learning Environments eXchange – or FLEXspace – a highly visual database and community of practice, helps them to benchmark and ideate while building or renovating new space on campus.”

In addition to her role with the School of Engineering and Applied Sciences, Stephens also serves as senior strategist of academic innovation in the SUNY Provost’s office. Stephens joined FLEXspace while it was still a volunteer task group in SUNY. Since its inception several years ago, FLEXspace has expanded to educational institutions around the globe.

Two females stand side by side holding a plaque with an award description carved into it. They are each smiling and wearing formal attire.

Stephens (right) accepts the award from Sandra English (left), associate dean of career services and professional development at North Carolina Central University and general conference chair. 

This shared repository supports a highly engaged community of experts, decision makers, designers and technologists from higher education, K-12, libraries, museums and industry committed to improving learning space planning, design and implementation.

Many spaces at UB featuring interactive technology are part of the FLEXspace collection. This spring, UB Information Technology will host the SUNY Educational Technology Officers Association meeting, welcoming learning space professionals from across SUNY to visit UB’s new technology spaces.

Stephens also believes there were many takeaways she can use to enhance programs in the School of Engineering and Applied Sciences.

I was able to return with notes from several outstanding sessions for our operation in SEAS Online Education,” Stephens says. “From U.S. News & World Report ranking information, production assets and learning management system integration for video course creation to navigating post-pandemic academic technologies that may make life a little easier on faculty delivering larger courses.”

ASEE is a nonprofit organization of individuals and institutions committed to furthering education in engineering and engineering technology. The Conference for Industry and Education Collaboration is organized by ASEE’s College-Industry Partnership Division, Continuing Professional Development Division, Cooperative and Experiential Education Division and the Engineering Technology Division. Stephens received the award from ASEE’s Continuing Professional Development Division.