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Board 159: The Researcher/Practitioner Strategic Partnership: Linking Theory and Practice for Change in Engineering and Computer Science Education

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Conference

2018 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition

Location

Salt Lake City, Utah

Publication Date

June 23, 2018

Start Date

June 23, 2018

End Date

July 27, 2018

Conference Session

NSF Grantees Poster Session

Tagged Topic

NSF Grantees Poster Session

Page Count

7

Permanent URL

https://peer.asee.org/29962

Download Count

25

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Paper Authors

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Ella Lee Ingram Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology

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Ella L. Ingram is an Associate Professor of Biology and Director of the Center for the Practice and Scholarship of Education at Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology. Her educational research interests include promoting successful change practice of STEM faculty, effective evolution and ecology instruction, and facilitating undergraduate research experiences. Her teaching portfolio includes courses on: nutrition, introductory biology, ecology and environmental studies, evolution, evolutionary medicine, and research practices in science.

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Elizabeth Litzler University of Washington

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Elizabeth Litzler, Ph.D., is the director of the University of Washington Center for Evaluation & Research for STEM Equity (UW CERSE) and an affiliate assistant professor of sociology. She has been at UW working on STEM Equity issues for more than 12 years. Dr. Litzler is a member of ASEE and a former board member of the Women in Engineering ProActive Network (WEPAN). She is currently the principal investigator on a dozen different research and evaluation projects focused on improving equity, diversity, and inclusion in higher education. Her research interests include the educational climate for students in science and engineering, assets-based approaches to STEM equity, and gender and race stratification in education and the workforce.

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Cara Margherio University of Washington

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Cara Margherio is a Senior Research Associate at the UW Center for Evaluation & Research for STEM Equity (CERSE). Cara serves as project manager for program evaluation on several NSF- and NIH-funded projects. Her research interests include community cultural wealth, counterspaces, peer mentoring, and institutional change.

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Kerice Doten-Snitker University of Washington

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Ms. Doten-Snitker is a Graduate Research Assistant at the University of Washington's Center for Evaluation and Research for STEM Equity, where she is part of a team conducting evaluation research for university-level educational and professional training, with a focus on increasing equity and participation of underrepresented and minority students and professionals. She has contributed to evaluation research for a range of programs funded by the NSF, NIH, and USAID. Additionally, she is a Doctoral Candidate in Sociology at the University of Washington, where her scholarship focuses on political processes of inclusion and exclusion.

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Julia M. Williams Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology

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Dr. Julia M. Williams is Interim Dean of Cross-Cutting Programs and Emerging Opportunities and Professor of English at Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology. Her research areas include technical communication, assessment, accreditation, and the development of change management strategies for faculty and staff. Her articles have appeared in the Journal of Engineering Education, International Journal of Engineering Education, IEEE Transactions on Professional Communication, and Technical Communication Quarterly, among others.

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Abstract

Our NSF funded project—Creating National Leadership Cohorts to Make Academic Change Happen (NSF 1649318)—represents a strategic partnership between researchers and practitioners in the domain of academic change. The principle investigators from the Making Academic Change Happen team from Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology provide familiarity with the literature of practical organizational change and package this into action-oriented workshops and ongoing support for teams funded through the REvolutionizing engineering and computer science Departments (RED) program. The PIs from the Center for Evaluation & Research for STEM Equity at the University of Washington provide expertise in social science research in order to investigate how the the RED teams’ change projects unfold and how the teams develop as members of national leadership cohorts for change in engineering and computer science education. Our poster for ASEE 2018 will focus on what we have learned thus far regarding the dynamics of the researcher/practitioner partnership through the RED Participatory Action Research (REDPAR) Project.

According to Worrall (2007), good partnerships are “founded on trust, respect, mutual benefit, good communities, and governance structures that allow democratic decision-making, process improvement, and resource sharing.” We have seen these elements emerge through the work of the partnership to create mutual benefits. For example, the researchers have been given an “insider’s” perspective on the practitioners’ approach—their goals, motivations for certain activities, and background information and research. The practitioners’ perspective is useful for the researchers to learn since the practitioners’ familiarity with the organizational change literature has influenced the researchers’ questions and theoretical models. The practitioners’ work with the RED teams has provided insights on the teams, how they are operating, the challenges they face, and aspects of the teams’ work that may not be readily available to the researchers. As a result, the researchers have had increased access to the teams to collect data. The researchers, in turn, have been able to consider how to make their analyses useful and actionable for change-makers, the population that the practitioners are more familiar with.

Insights from the researchers provide both immediate and long-term benefits to programming and increased professional impact. The researchers are trained observers, each of whom brings a unique disciplinary perspective to their observations. The richness, depth, and clarity of their observations adds immeasurably to the quality of practitioners’ interactions with the RED teams. The practitioners, for example, have revised workshop content in response to the researchers’ observations, thus ensuring that the workshop content serves the needs of the RED teams. The practitioners also benefit from the joint effort on dissemination, since they can contribute to a variety of dissemination efforts (journal papers, conference presentations, workshops). We plan to share specific examples of the strategic partnership during the poster session. In doing so, we hope to encourage researchers to seek out partnerships with practitioners in order to bridge the gap between theory and practice in engineering and computer science education.

Ingram, E. L., & Litzler, E., & Margherio, C., & Doten-Snitker, K., & Williams, J. M. (2018, June), Board 159: The Researcher/Practitioner Strategic Partnership: Linking Theory and Practice for Change in Engineering and Computer Science Education Paper presented at 2018 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition , Salt Lake City, Utah. https://peer.asee.org/29962

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