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Creating Institution-level Change in Instructional Practices through Faculty Communities of Practice

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Conference

2015 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition

Location

Seattle, Washington

Publication Date

June 14, 2015

Start Date

June 14, 2015

End Date

June 17, 2015

ISBN

978-0-692-50180-1

ISSN

2153-5965

Conference Session

NSF Grantees’ Poster Session

Tagged Topic

NSF Grantees Poster Session

Page Count

13

Page Numbers

26.419.1 - 26.419.13

DOI

10.18260/p.23758

Permanent URL

https://peer.asee.org/23758

Download Count

36

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Paper Authors

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Geoffrey L Herman University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign Orcid 16x16 orcid.org/0000-0002-9501-2295

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Dr. Geoffrey L. Herman is a visiting assistant professor with the Illinois Foundry for Innovation in Engineering Education at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and a research assistant professor with the Department of Curriculum & Instruction. He earned his Ph.D. in Electrical and Computer Engineering from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign as a Mavis Future Faculty Fellow and conducted postdoctoral research with Ruth Streveler in the School of Engineering Education at Purdue University. His research interests include creating systems for sustainable improvement in engineering education, promoting intrinsic motivation in the classroom, conceptual change and development in engineering students, and change in faculty beliefs about teaching and learning. He serves as the webmaster for the ASEE Educational Research and Methods Division.

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Irene B. Mena University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign

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Irene B. Mena has a B.S. and M.S. in industrial engineering, and a Ph.D. in engineering education. Her research interests include first-year engineering and graduate student professional development.

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Matthew West University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign

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Matthew West is an Associate Professor in the Department of Mechanical Science and Engineering at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Prior to joining Illinois he was on the faculties of the Department of Aeronautics and Astronautics at Stanford University and the Department of Mathematics at the University of California, Davis. Prof. West holds a Ph.D. in Control and Dynamical Systems from the California Institute of Technology and a B.Sc. in Pure and Applied Mathematics from the University of Western Australia. His research is in the field of scientific computing and numerical analysis, where he works on computational algorithms for simulating complex stochastic systems such as atmospheric aerosols and feedback control. Prof. West is the recipient of the NSF CAREER award and is a University of Illinois Distinguished Teacher-Scholar and College of Engineering Education Innovation Fellow.

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Jose Mestre

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José P. Mestre is Professor of Physics and Educational Psychology at the University of Illinois. His research is at the intersection of science education and cognitive science, focusing on the learning of physics. He has made many pioneering contributions in areas such as the acquisition and use of knowledge by experts and novices, transfer of learning, and problem solving. He was among the first to publish scholarly articles on the use of classroom polling technologies (clickers) to promote active learning in large classes, and is a co-developer of Minds-On Physics, an activity-based high school physics curriculum that is heavily informed by learning research. Recently he has been applying methodologies common in cognitive science (e.g., eye-tracking) to study learning and information processing by physics novices and experts. He has served on many national committees and boards for organizations such as the National Research Council, The College Board and ETS, and the American Association of Physics Teachers, and has offered Congressional testimony on The Science of Learning. He has published numerous journal articles, and has co-authored or co-edited 18 books. He is a Fellow of the American Physical Society.

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Jonathan H Tomkin University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

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Jonathan H. Tomkin is the Associate Director of the School of Earth, Society and Environment and Associate Professor of Research in the Department of Geology, at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. He received a BSc. (Hons) in Physics from the University of Melbourne (1996) and a PhD in Earth Science from the Australian National University (2000). His geoscience research explores couplings between climate, surface processes, and tectonics, and utilizes both numerical models and field data. He taught the first Earth and Environmental Science MOOC, co-edited the leading Sustainability open-access textbook, and has researched the impact of new technologies on student learning.

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Abstract

Creating institution-level change in instructional practices through faculty communities of practiceThe College of Engineering at a Midwestern institution received NSF funding to transform theteaching culture in gateway STEM courses through the creation of faculty communities ofpractice (CoPs). The STEM departments have historically had “lone ranger” teaching cultures inwhich faculty possess sole jurisdiction over their teaching practices and heroes are called uponto create better instructional environments. In contrast, these same departments have deeplycollaborative research cultures that spark innovation and sustained excellence. This effort hasbeen organized around a simple message of “teach like we do research.”At the core of the effort, we challenged faculty to pursue excellence through collaborative jointownership of their courses. Thus course-focused CoPs were formed and tasked with theongoing task of integrating research-based instructional strategies (RBIS) into their courses.Concurrently, the leadership team fostered a cross-college CoP (i.e., a team of teams) byattending each course-focused CoP weekly meeting and cross-pollinating fruitful efforts. Theseobservations also provided rich opportunities for understanding how the CoPs formed andfunctioned, allowing the leadership team to characterize the habits and behaviors of effectiveand ineffective CoPs.Within these research-inspired collaborative communities, course-focused CoPs wereencouraged to learn from the literature and collect data to evaluate their efforts as they would inresearch. Accordingly, the leadership team provided just-in-time training as gaps in each CoP’sknowledge were identified. Through these iterative implement-evaluate development cycles, it isexpected that faculty will emergently adopt RBIS that meet their course design goals andobjectives such as increased student learning, motivation, and retention.The purpose of this paper is to (1) describe our initial experiences with creating the CoPs andwith attempting to change the teaching culture to be one of collaborative joint ownership withinCoPs, (2) describe the groups of instructors who are successfully forming CoPs and discuss thecharacteristics of effective and ineffective CoPs, based on observation data, and (3) describethe different RBIS that have been implemented, and the fidelity and success of implementationthus far, based on informational surveys completed by the CoP observation teams.

Herman, G. L., & Mena, I. B., & West, M., & Mestre, J., & Tomkin, J. H. (2015, June), Creating Institution-level Change in Instructional Practices through Faculty Communities of Practice Paper presented at 2015 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Seattle, Washington. 10.18260/p.23758

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