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Connections Among University Faculty Engaged in the First Two Years of Engineering and Their Impact on Faculty Attitudes and Practice

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Conference

2016 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition

Location

New Orleans, Louisiana

Publication Date

June 26, 2016

Start Date

June 26, 2016

End Date

August 28, 2016

ISBN

978-0-692-68565-5

ISSN

2153-5965

Conference Session

First-Year Programs Division Technical Session 3; The Best of All the FPD Papers

Tagged Division

First-Year Programs

Page Count

15

DOI

10.18260/p.26573

Permanent URL

https://peer.asee.org/26573

Download Count

107

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Paper Authors

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James A. Middleton Arizona State University

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James A. Middleton is Professor of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering and Director of the Center for Research on Education in Science, Mathematics, Engineering, and Technology at Arizona State University. For the last three years he also held the Elmhurst Energy Chair in STEM education at the University of Birmingham in the UK. Previously, Dr. Middleton was Associate Dean for Research in the Mary Lou Fulton College of Education at Arizona State University, and Director of the Division of Curriculum and Instruction. He received his Ph.D. in Educational Psychology from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 1992, where he also served in the National Center for Research on Mathematical Sciences Education as a postdoctoral scholar.

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Stephen J. Krause Arizona State University

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Stephen Krause is professor in the Materials Science Program in the Fulton School of Engineering at Arizona State University. He teaches in the areas of introductory materials engineering, polymers and composites, and capstone design. His research interests include evaluating conceptual knowledge, misconceptions and technologies to promote conceptual change. He has co-developed a Materials Concept Inventory and a Chemistry Concept Inventory for assessing conceptual knowledge and change for introductory materials science and chemistry classes. He is currently conducting research on NSF projects in two areas. One is studying how strategies of engagement and feedback with support from internet tools and resources affect conceptual change and associated impact on students' attitude, achievement, and persistence. The other is on the factors that promote persistence and success in retention of undergraduate students in engineering. He was a coauthor for best paper award in the Journal of Engineering Education in 2013.

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Eugene Judson Arizona State University Orcid 16x16 orcid.org/https://0000-0002-0124-8476

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Eugene Judson is an Associate Professor of for the Mary Lou Fulton Teachers College at Arizona State University. His past experiences include having been a middle school science teacher, Director of Academic and Instructional Support for the Arizona Department of Education, a research scientist for the Center for Research on Education in Science, Mathematics, Engineering and Technology (CRESMET), and an evaluator for several NSF projects. His first research strand concentrates on the relationship between educational policy and STEM education. His second research strand focuses on studying STEM classroom interactions and subsequent effects on student understanding. He is a co-developer of the Reformed Teaching Observation Protocol (RTOP) and his work has been cited more than 1500 times and his publications have been published in multiple peer-reviewed journals such as Science Education and the Journal of Research in Science Teaching.

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Robert J. Culbertson

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Robert J. Culbertson is an Associate Professor of Physics. Currently, he teaches introductory mechanics and electrodynamics for physics majors and a course in musical acoustics, which was specifically designed for elementary education majors. He is director of the ASU Physics Teacher Education Coalition (PhysTEC) Project, which strives to produce more and better high school physics teachers. He is also director of Master of Natural Science degree program, a graduate program designed for in-service science teachers. He works on improving persistence of students in STEM majors, especially under-prepared students and students from under-represented groups.

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Lydia Ross Arizona State University

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Lydia Ross is a doctoral student and graduate research assistant at Arizona State University. She is a first year student in the Educational Policy and Evaluation program.

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Keith D. Hjelmstad Arizona State University

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Keith D. Hjelmstad is Professor of Civil Engineering in the School of Sustainable Engineering and the Built Environment at Arizona State University.

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Yong Seok Park Arizona State University

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Yong-Seok Park is currently a postdoctoral associate at Arizona State University in the STEM education research group headed by Dr. Krause. He earned his Master’s degree at George Washington University and his Doctorate at the Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University. His research interests lie in undergraduate STEM education research and engineering design education.

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James Collofello Arizona State University

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Associate Dean of Academic and Student Affairs
Professor of Computer Science and Engineering
School of Computing Informatics and Decision Systems Engineering
Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering

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Bethany B. Smith Arizona State University

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Bethany Smith is currently a master’s student in materials science and engineering at Arizona State University. She has been involved in STEM education research since 2012 under the direction of Professor Stephen Krause. Her research interests in STEM education include faculty development, best classroom practices, and improving undergraduate engineering student retention through understanding what makes students leave engineering. She will be pursuing her PhD in Materials Science and Engineering starting in 2016 at the University of California Berkeley.

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Abstract

This evidence-based paper reports the results of a multi-wave Social Network Analysis (SNA) of faculty engaged in teaching courses in the first two years of undergraduate engineering programs at a major research university. The research question under investigation was: To what extent is the degree of social connectedness among faculty within and among departments related to faculty attitudes about learner-centered instruction, and to their subsequent practice?

Participants were recruited from Physics, Chemistry, Mathematics, and Teacher Education departments, and from six other departments in the College of Engineering. The sample began with 21 randomly-selected faculty from each department engaged in the STEM instruction of first and second year engineering students. The second level consisted of 81 additional colleagues identified by the first level as people they utilize as resources for improving their instruction. Faculty were presented with the names of each colleague, and asked to state their relationship with each, pertaining to three critical facets of instruction: instructional strategies, assessment practices, and instructional technology. Attitudes were measured using the Approaches to Teaching Inventory. The Reformed Teaching Observation Protocol was used to measure implementation of Learner-Centered practices.

Results show that both indegree (the extent to which faculty members are seen as sources of information and support) and outdegree (the extent to which faculty members were seen by their peers as seeking out information and support) were positively related to more positive Learner-Centered attitudes and practices. In particular, faculty who had higher outdegree in the network showed highest Learner-Centered/Student Focused attitudes, lowest Teacher-Centered/Information Transmission attitudes, and highest implementation of Learner-Centered practices. However, big differences were found regarding degree of connectedness within departments and across departments. Mathematics, for example, had a mean indegree among its faculty of 0.45 connections. First Year Engineering faculty showed the highest mean indegree of all departments at 4.25. As a community, First Year Engineering faculty meet regularly, sharing tasks, strategies, assessments, and technological tools. This is not true among most other departments.

We discuss these results in light of recent information showing that developing communities of practice in early engineering programs is critical for professional development to result in sustained practical change. Since few faculty across the studied University had many connections at all (mean indegree = 1.2 connections, SD = 1.2; mean outdegree = 1.8 connections, SD = 1.9), a prime strategy for increasing Learner-Centered attitudes and behaviors would be to promote communities of practice within and among departments.

Middleton, J. A., & Krause, S. J., & Judson, E., & Culbertson, R. J., & Ross, L., & Hjelmstad, K. D., & Park, Y. S., & Collofello, J., & Smith, B. B. (2016, June), Connections Among University Faculty Engaged in the First Two Years of Engineering and Their Impact on Faculty Attitudes and Practice Paper presented at 2016 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, New Orleans, Louisiana. 10.18260/p.26573

ASEE holds the copyright on this document. It may be read by the public free of charge. Authors may archive their work on personal websites or in institutional repositories with the following citation: © 2016 American Society for Engineering Education. Other scholars may excerpt or quote from these materials with the same citation. When excerpting or quoting from Conference Proceedings, authors should, in addition to noting the ASEE copyright, list all the original authors and their institutions and name the host city of the conference. - Last updated April 1, 2015