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Bridging the Valley of Death: A 360° Approach to Understanding Adoption of Innovations in Engineering Education

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2011 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Vancouver, BC

Publication Date

June 26, 2011

Start Date

June 26, 2011

End Date

June 29, 2011



Conference Session

NSF Grantees Poster Session

Tagged Topic

NSF Grantees

Page Count


Page Numbers

22.295.1 - 22.295.15

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Paper Authors


Kirsten A. Davis Boise State University

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Kirsten A. Davis is an Assistant Professor in the Construction Management Department within the College of Engineering at Boise State University. Dr. Davis earned a B.Arch. in Architecture and a B.S. in Civil Engineering from the University of Tennessee, an M.S. in Civil Engineering specializing in Construction Engineering and Management from the University of Colorado, Boulder, and a Ph.D. in Civil Engineering specializing in Construction Engineering and Management from Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University. Her educational research interests are focused on improving construction management education.

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Sondra M Miller Boise State University


Ross A. Perkins Boise State University

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Dr. Perkins teaches course in instructional design, evaluation, and international perspectives in BSU's Department of Educational Technology, where he has been an assistant professor since 2008. His research interests include STEM education, diffusion of innovation studies, and distance learning. Perkins received his doctorate in instructional systems design at Virginia Tech.

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Bridging the Valley of Death: A 360° Approach to Understanding Adoption of Innovations in Engineering EducationAbstractThere is a nationwide need to better translate engineering education research into the classroomsetting. Moving engineering education research into practice is a more complicated task than itmight initially seem. There are many significant barriers to hinder the transition from research toimplementation. These barriers can be categorized into two groups: (1) individual barriers, suchas personality characteristics that contribute to a lack of willingness to implement innovations, aswell as a lack of knowledge about engineering education research; and (2) environmentalperceptions, such as perceptions of the tenure and promotion that suggest a lack of support forinnovations.The project discussed in this paper investigates the characteristics of faculty members whosuccessfully adopt engineering education innovations and studies the impact of their workingenvironment on their decision to adopt. Additionally, the project investigates characteristics offaculty members who do not adopt engineering education innovations and whether that decisionwas affected by perceptions of their working environment.This paper describes the identification of current barriers to the adoption of innovations inengineering education using a 360° approach. Perspectives include that of self, colleagues,students, experts in education innovation (such as the director of a center for teaching andlearning), and the reality (from administrators and published documents) and perceptions (fromindividuals) of the tenure process and rewards/incentives. This 360° approach provides afoundation for bridging the gap, often referred to as the ‘valley of death,’ between engineeringeducation research and the common practice of engineering education.

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