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Publications in VIVO

Tsai, Janet Yi-Jen Instructor


Research Areas research areas


research overview

  • Janet Y. Tsai is a researcher and instructor in the College of Engineering and Applied Science at the University of Colorado Boulder. Her research focuses on ways to encourage more students, especially women and those from nontraditional demographic groups, to pursue interests in the field of engineering. Janet assists in recruitment and retention efforts locally, nationally, and internationally, hoping to broaden the image of engineering, science, and technology to include new forms of communication and problem solving for emerging grand challenges. A second vein of Janet's research seeks to identify the social and cultural impacts of technological choices made by engineers in the process of designing and creating new devices and systems. Her work considers the intentional and unintentional consequences of durable structures, products, architectures, and standards in engineering education, to pinpoint areas for transformative change.


  • qualitative data analysis, design thinking, inclusive design


selected publications


courses taught

  • GEEN 1400 - Engineering Projects
    Primary Instructor - Spring 2018 / Fall 2018
    First-year students solve real engineering design problems in interdisciplinary teams. Design projects vary by section. Curriculum focuses on iterative design process, teamwork and team dynamics, supporting design with testing and analysis, and technical writing. Completed projects are exhibited at an end-of-semester design expo. Students responsible for contributing towards their design project budget and poster costs, and purchasing safety glasses (approximately $75).
  • GEEN 3830 - Special Topics
    Primary Instructor - Fall 2018 / Fall 2019
    Explores topics of interest in engineering. Content varies by instructor and semester.
  • MCEN 3025 - Component Design
    Primary Instructor - Spring 2019
    Application of mechanics and materials science to the detailed design of various machine elements including shafts, bearings, gears, brakes, springs, and fasteners. Emphasizes application and open-ended design problems.
  • MCEN 4026 - Manufacturing Processes and Systems
    Primary Instructor - Fall 2019 / Spring 2020 / Fall 2020 / Spring 2021 / Fall 2021
    Examines manufacturing processes for metals, polymers, and composites as well as manufacturing systems that integrate these processes. Lecture topics include forming, machining, joining, assembling, process integration, computer-aided manufacturing, and manufacturing system engineering.
  • MCEN 4228 - Special Topics in Mechanical Engineering
    Primary Instructor - Spring 2021
    Subject matter to be selected from topics of current interest. May be repeated up to 15 credit hours. Same as MCEN 5228.
  • MCEN 5055 - Advanced Product Design
    Primary Instructor - Fall 2020 / Fall 2021
    Introduces engineering design and development of consumer products. Includes learning sketching, brainstorming, idea generation, design thinking, user-centered design, product requirements and specifications, product constraints, human factors, aesthetics, industrial design, intellectual property, concept prototyping, idea selection, tolerancing, cost estimating, design for assembly, and materials selection. Entails a semester-long team re-design of a consumer product.
  • MCEN 5228 - Special Topics in Mechanical Engineering
    Primary Instructor - Spring 2021
    Subject matter to be selected from topics of current interest. May be repeated up to 15 credit hours.


International Activities

global connections related to teaching and scholarly work (in recent years)

Other Profiles