June 18, 2006
June 18, 2006
June 21, 2006
Educational Research and Methods
11.69.1 - 11.69.17
A Model for Building and Sustaining Communities of Engineering Education Research Scholars
Building and sustaining communities of new engineering education researchers is crucial for bringing people into an area of scholarship, supporting them working in this area, providing opportunities for long term professional development within a community of practice, and building capacity in the engineering education research infrastructure. The Institute for Scholarship on Engineering Education (ISEE), an element of the NSF-funded Center for the Advancement of Engineering Education (CAEE), is designed to build and sustain communities of engineering education scholars who can investigate student learning issues and transform findings into actionable improvements. The Institute has a revolving host structure across three schools – University of Washington, Stanford University, and Howard University. Over three consecutive year-long cycles, ISEE builds and extends a cohort of scholars at host and partner schools. In this paper we explore the question “how do we build capacity in engineering education research?” We pursue this question by examining the ISEE model, the successes and challenges experienced as we near completion of the second of three cycles, and implications for future community building efforts.
There is a critical need to invest in the infrastructure for scientific research in education in particular by developing mechanisms for educating and sustaining scientifically competent and highly qualified communities of education researchers1. This is particularly relevant for the engineering education profession. By investing in the research infrastructure in engineering education we can 1) advance the scholarship in teaching and learning and strengthen its capacity; 2) build coherence and rigor within the community; 3) assist collaborative and interdisciplinary research as well as relationships between practitioners and researchers; 4) promote professional development of current and future faculty; and 5) facilitate distributed cognition within a community of practice2,3. Given this motivation, a researchable question is how to proceed to meet this need: “how do we build capacity in engineering education research?”
Strategies for building capacity are often linked to community of practice models and a goal of identity development within that community. Communities of practice emphasize a social structure that allows novices access to roles that allow them to grow in their understanding and become members of the community; hence, a community of practice model recognizes the importance of social relationships in developing professional lives. As such, communities of practice foster learning and professional development by providing access to roles that encourage learning and membership in a community, cultivating and practicing leadership, and establishing an identity in the context of the community2. They also afford opportunities for building collaborative knowledge in which individual experiences become communal, distributed expertise can be shared, and standards of practice can evolve4-6.
Adams, R., & Bell, P., & Allendoerfer, C., & Chen, H., & Leifer, L., & Fleming, L., & Maring, B., & Williams, D. (2006, June), A Model For Building And Sustaining Communities Of Engineering Education Research Scholars Paper presented at 2006 Annual Conference & Exposition, Chicago, Illinois. 10.18260/1-2--1003
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