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A System Approach to Instructional Change in Academia

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2019 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Tampa, Florida

Publication Date

June 15, 2019

Start Date

June 15, 2019

End Date

June 19, 2019

Conference Session

Faculty Development Medley

Tagged Division

Faculty Development Constituent Committee

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Paper Authors


Juan M. Cruz Virginia Tech

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Juan M. Cruz is an assistant professor of Electronic Engineering at Universidad Javeriana in Colombia and a Ph.D. candidate of Engineering Education at Virginia Tech. He has a B.S. in Electronic Engineering and a Masters in Education from Universidad Javeriana in Colombia, His research interests include using system thinking to understand how instructional change occurs, faculty development process, and faculty and students motivation.

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Cynthia Hampton Virginia Tech

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Cynthia Hampton is a doctoral candidate in the Department of Engineering Education at Virginia Tech. She also serves as program and student support for the Center for the Enhancement of Engineering Diversity (CEED). While at Virginia Tech, Cynthia has directed summer bridge programs, led peer support initiatives for underrepresented groups, and served on various commissions, committees, and research groups focused on student support, organizational change, graduate student policy, and culturally responsive evaluation. Her research interests include organizational behavior and change as it pertains to engineering education and broadening participation, faculty change agents, and complex system dynamics. Her research investigates narrative inquiry of faculty who use their agency to engage in broadening participation in engineering activities. Cynthia received her B.S. in Biological Systems Engineering from Kansas State University and will receive her M.S. in Management Systems Engineering from Virginia Tech in 2019.

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Stephanie G. Adams Old Dominion University

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Dr. Stephanie G. Adams is Dean of the Frank Batten College of Engineering and Technology at Old Dominion University. From 2011-16 she served was Department Head and Professor of Engineering Education at Virginia Tech. She previously served as Associate Dean for Undergraduate Studies in the School of Engineering at Virginia Commonwealth University and was a faculty member and administrator at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln (UNL). Her research interests include: Teamwork, International Collaborations, Faculty Development, Quality Control/Management and Broadening Participation. She is an honor graduate of North Carolina A&T State University, where she earned her BS in Mechanical Engineering, in 1988. In 1991 she was awarded the Master of Engineering degree in Systems Engineering from the University of Virginia. She received her Ph.D. in Interdisciplinary Engineering from Texas A&M University in 1998. She is the recipient of numerous awards and honors, including the National Science Foundation's most prestigious, Faculty Early Career Development (CAREER) award. She is a Fellow of the American Society of Engineering Education, holds membership in a number of organizations and presently serves on the National Advisory Board of the National Society of Black Engineers.

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Niyousha Hosseinichimeh

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The objective of this literature review (theory) paper is to present and describe a framework that illustrates factors in the academic system that drive or hinder the adoption of Research-Based Instructional Strategies (RBIS) in engineering education. Numerous initiatives to promote instructional change in engineering education have had low to moderate success. Such lack of success can be attributed to the fact that the academic system has numerous elements, which leads to a complexity that needs to be properly understood. We suggest that the low success rates from previous instructional change initiatives are due to a viewpoint of the academic system that does not account for the dynamic and detailed complexity of academia. By using a system perspective, this paper illustrates the internal elements of the complex academic system that have been shown to ultimately influence faculty to enact instructional change. To determine what factors are currently known to affect the success of such change initiatives, we reviewed the literature on instructional change in engineering and higher education. The refined search yielded 19 documents that were analyzed following several steps of constant comparative analysis. This review suggests the existence of at least 31 factors that can potentially impact the successful implementation of RBIS in the classroom. Hence, they could be barriers or drivers to instructional change in higher education. These 31 factors were classified and organized into six categories: 1) culture, 2) change management, 3) institutional support, 4) pedagogical knowledge and skills, 5) students´ experience, and 6) faculty motivation. .

Cruz, J. M., & Hampton, C., & Adams, S. G., & Hosseinichimeh, N. (2019, June), A System Approach to Instructional Change in Academia Paper presented at 2019 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition , Tampa, Florida.

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