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Mechanical Engineering
Phone: (208) 885-6579
Toll-free: 88-88-UIDAHO
Fax: (208) 885-9031
Email: medept@uidaho.edu

Engineering Physics (EP)
Room 324K

875 Perimeter Drive MS 0902
Moscow, ID 83844-0902


Contact Denise Engebrecht
Phone: (208) 364-6123
Fax: (208) 364-3160
Email: denisee@uidaho.edu

Idaho Water Center
322 E. Front Street
Boise, ID 83702


Idaho Falls

Contact Debbie Caudle
Phone: (208) 282-7983
Fax: (208) 282-7929
Email: debrac@uidaho.edu

1776 Science Center Drive, Suite 306
Idaho Falls, Idaho 83402

Distance Education

Engineering Outreach
Phone: (208) 885-6373
Toll-free: (800) 824-2889
Fax: (208) 885-9249
E-mail: outreach@uidaho.edu


Donald Elger

Donald Elger, Ph.D., P.E.

Office: EP 324H
Phone: 208-885-7889
Email: delger@uidaho.edu
Mailing Address: 875 Perimeter Drive, MS 0902

Moscow, Idaho 83844-0902

College of Engineering
Department of Mechanical Engineering

Home Town: Albany, Oregon
Campus Locations: Moscow
With UI Since 1987

  • Research/Focus Areas
    • Technology Entrepreneurship
    • Learning Theory
    • Organizational Theory
    • Fluid Mechanics
    • Heat Transfer
  • Biography

    Dr. Donald Elger, a Professor of Mechanical Engineer, has been at the University of Idaho for 22.5 years and in industry for three years. Technical interests are heat transfer, fluid mechanics, and design. Dr. Elger is a co-author of Engineering Fluid Mechanics, a nationally-recognized text. Current research and practice areas include technology entrepreneurship, organizational theory, and learning theory. In 2005, Dr. Elger and his colleagues won the Best Paper Award at the American Society for Engineering Education. In 2007, a documentary describing a project to produce safe drinking water in Kenya won the Gold Award (first place) in the Association for Communications Excellence (ACE) Critique and Awards competition.

    Scholarly Projects and Creative Activities

    • Better World Inc. (BWI is a “not-for-profit” company for educating college students by inspiring them to (a) do service projects involving technology and (b) create technology companies. Both the projects and companies are aimed at creating a better world. 
    • Connect! Learning Systems (Connect! delivers web-based lessons to support three goals: (a) Transform individuals into “joyful professionals”, (b) %ransform organizations into “extreme organizations,” and (c) transform educators into “inspiring mentors.” ) 
    • Kenya Computer Venture (This venture, run by UI students, is creating a sustainable computer classroom in the MAGOSO school in Kenya)
    • Kenya Safe Water Venture (This venture is creating safe water technology applied in Kenya)
    • Technology Ventures (This program involves inspiring and educating UI students so that they innovate new technology projects and launch new technology companies. The long term aim is to grow the economic pie in Idaho and to build companies that people love.) 
    • Organizations that People Love (Extreme Organizations) (This project involves building a theory that describes how to build and improve extraordinary organizations. An extreme organization has the following attributes: (a) great financials, (b) customers love the products, and (c) people in the organization are growing, collaborative, joyful, and “kicking ass.”)
  • Research Publication Honors

    Research Publication Honors

    Bailey, J., Elger, D., Metlen, S. (2009). The “Joyful Professional” construct: A motivational force for college students. The Ninth Annual Teaching and Learning Conference #338T, Las Vegas, October.

    Elger, D.F., Metlen, S., Carson, R., Utschig, T., Cordon, D., Racine, M., and Beyerlein, S. (2008). A Case Study To Explore Factors That Promote Effective Learning, Review of Business Research, 8(6), 9-22.

    Crowe, C.T., Elger, D.F., Williams, B.C. Roberson, J.A., (2009). Engineering Fluid Mechanics, 9th edition, Wiley: New York.

    Williams, B.C., He, B.B, Elger, D.F., Schumacher, B.El, (2008) Peer Evaluation as a Motivator for Improved Team Performance in Bio/Ag Engineering Design Classes, Int. J. Engr. Ed..

    Zemke, S., & Elger. D.F. (2008). Developing a Practical Tutoring Model Based on Elements in Naturalistic Tutoring and Cognitive Theory, Int. J. Engr. Ed.

    Elger, D.F. Theory of performance, in “Faculty guidebook: A comprehensive tool for improving faculty performance, 4th ed., editted by Beyerlein, S.W. Holmes, C., & Apple D.K. Lisle ILL: Pacific Crest.

    Zemke, S. Carson, R. and Elger, D., Curricular elements that promote professional behavior in a design class, Proceeding of the 2006 American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference & Exposition, Salt Lake City, Utah, June, 2006.

    Utschig, T.T., Elger, D.F, and Beyerlein, S.W. Key issues surrounding faculty development of expertise in instructional design. Proceedings of the ASEE/IEEE Frontiers in Education Conference, October 2005, Indianapolis, Indiana.

    Schumacher, B.E., Elger, D.F., and Leydens, J.A. Exploring intrinsically motivated learning by engineering students. Proceedings of the 2005 American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference & Exposition, Portland, Oregon, June 2005.

  • Outreach Projects

    JEMS (Junior Engineering Math and Science Workshop). The JEMS program is a two-week summer program taught to high-school juniors. The primary goals are to introduce students to engineering and to recruit high caliber students. In my role as a teacher of engineering design, I have introduced a pedagogy (DBT projects) that allows students to learn and experience engineering. I have been involved with JEMS for the past 5 years, each year spending approximately 140 hours on this program.

    American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME), Student Section. For four years, I served as faculty advisor to our student section. During this time, we took at three to four overnight field trips per year, visiting industry and participating in conferences. We also hosted the Regional Student Conference, attended by approximately 180 students from throughout the Pacific Northwest.

    American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME), Professional Section. For the past twelve years, I have served in Fluids Engineering Division of the ASME. For six years, I served in a leadership position on the Fluids Applications and Systems Technical Committee, a committee with sixty members. I also served four years on the student paper contest committee. I am presently serving on the honors committee. Finally, I have organized six technical sessions, and served as co-organizer on other sessions.

    Faculty Advisor for the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (1993-97)

    Faculty Advisor for M.E. students Ron Stanley and John Barinaga, who participated in the ASME Fluids Engineering Division Student Paper Contest. The students won first place and the paper citation is Barinaga, J.A., and Stanley, R.F., “Analysis of a Rocket Balloon,” Cavitation and Multiphase Flow Forum, ed. by O. Furuya, FED Vol. 153, ASME: New York, 1993, pp. 5-9.

    Organized Teaching Thinking and Decision Making, a College of Engineering Teaching Seminar (with R. Gill) (1992).

    Organized the Fifty Years of Excellence Mechanical Engineering alumni reunion (1991).

    Faculty Advisor for master’s level nuclear engineering graduate students at IFCHE (1987-90).

    Faculty Advisor for the American Nuclear Society Student Section (1987-90).

  • Awards and Honors

    Naval ROTC Teaching Award: 1998, 2000, 2003.

      University of Idaho Alumni Award for Faculty Excellence (with Jim Woodward), 1992

      University of Idaho Alumni Award for Faculty Excellence (with Glen Reidham), 1989

      University of Idaho Alumni Award for Faculty Excellence (with Ted Dennler), 1989


    Best Conference Paper, 2005 ASEE Annual Conference and Exposition, Portland, Oregon. This award recognizes the best overall paper the approximately 1500 papers that were presented at the 2004 conference. 

    Best Presentation, “Using Design, Build and Test Projects in Engineering Science Courses,” presented at the ASEE PNW Section Meeting, Pullman, Washington, 1993.

    NSF Fellowship to NATO Advanced Study Institute on Microelectronics Materials and Process, Italy, 1986.


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