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Developing a Model of Professional Agency Toward Change in Engineering Education for Early Career Scholars

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Conference

2020 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access

Location

Virtual On line

Publication Date

June 22, 2020

Start Date

June 22, 2020

End Date

June 26, 2021

Conference Session

NSF Grantees: Faculty Development 1

Tagged Topic

NSF Grantees Poster Session

Page Count

5

DOI

10.18260/1-2--34416

Permanent URL

https://peer.asee.org/34416

Download Count

78

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Paper Authors

biography

Courtney June Faber University of Tennessee at Knoxville

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Courtney is a Research Assistant Professor and Lecturer in the Cook Grand Challenge Engineering Honors Program at the University of Tennessee. She completed her Ph.D. in Engineering & Science Education at Clemson University. Prior to her Ph.D. work, she received her B.S. in Bioengineering at Clemson University and her M.S. in Biomedical Engineering at Cornell University. Courtney’s research interests include epistemic cognition in the context of problem solving, and researcher identity.

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Walter C. Lee Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University Orcid 16x16 orcid.org/0000-0001-5082-1411

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Dr. Walter Lee is an assistant professor in the Department of Engineering Education and the assistant director for research in the Center for the Enhancement of Engineering Diversity (CEED), both at Virginia Tech. His research interests include co-curricular support, student success and retention, and diversity. Lee received his Ph.D in engineering education from Virginia Tech, his M.S. in industrial & systems engineering from Virginia Tech, and his B.S. in industrial engineering from Clemson University.

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Alexandra Coso Strong Florida International University Orcid 16x16 orcid.org/0000-0003-4988-361X

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As an assistant professor of engineering education at Florida International University, Dr. Alexandra Coso Strong works and teaches at the intersection of engineering education, faculty development, and complex systems design. Alexandra completed her doctorate in aerospace engineering at Georgia Tech in Spring 2014. Prior to attending Georgia Tech, Alexandra received a bachelor’s degree in aerospace engineering from MIT (2007) and a master’s degree in systems engineering from the University of Virginia (2010). Alexandra comes to FIU after completing a postdoctoral fellowship at Georgia Tech’s Center for the Enhancement of Teaching and Learning (CETL) and three years as a faculty member at Olin College of Engineering in Massachusetts. Alexandra’s research aims to improve the design of educational experiences for students by critically examining the work and learning environments of practitioners. Specifically, she focuses on (1) how to design and change educational and work systems through studies of practicing engineers and educators and (2) how to help students transition into, through and out of educational and work systems.

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Cheryl A. Bodnar Rowan University

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Dr. Bodnar is an Associate Professor in the Experiential Engineering Education Department at Rowan University. Her research interests relate to the incorporation of active learning techniques such as game-based learning in undergraduate classes as well as integration of innovation and entrepreneurship into the engineering curriculum. In particular, she is interested in the impact that these tools can have on student perception of the classroom environment, motivation and learning outcomes. She was selected to participate in the National Academy of Engineering (NAE) Frontiers of Engineering Education Symposium in 2013, awarded the American Society for Engineering Education Educational Research Methods Faculty Apprentice Award in 2014 and the Raymond W. Fahien Award for Outstanding Teaching Effectiveness and Educational Scholarship presented by American Society for Engineering Education (ASEE) Chemical Engineering Division in 2017.

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Courtney S. Smith-Orr University of North Carolina at Charlotte

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Courtney S. Smith,PhD is a Undergraduate Coordinator & Teaching Assistant Professor at UNC Charlotte. Her research interests span the mentoring experiences of African American women in engineering,minority recruitment and retention, and best practices for diversity and inclusion in the Engineering classroom.

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Erin McCave University of Houston

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Erin is an Instructional Assistant Professor in the Cullen College of Engineering at the University of Houston. She joined the University of Houston after completing a postdoctoral/lecturer position split between the General Engineering program and the Engineering & Science Education Department and a Ph.D. in Bioengineering from Clemson University. Erin’s research interests include preparing students for their sophomore year, minority student engineering identity development, and providing mentoring relationships to help foster student growth and success.

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Abstract

As the field of engineering education continues to evolve, the number of early career scholars who identify as members of the discipline will continue to increase. These engineering education scholars will need to take strategic and intentional actions towards their professional goals and the goals of the engineering education community to be impactful within their positions. In other words, they must exercise agency. Accordingly, the purpose of this study is to investigate how the agency of early career, engineering education scholars manifests across different contexts. Our overarching research question is: How do institutional, individual, and disciplinary field and societal features influence early career engineering education faculty member’s agency to impact engineering education in their particular positions? To investigate how faculty agency manifests across different contexts, we adopted a longitudinal research approach to focus on our own experiences as engineering education scholars. Due to the complexity of the phenomenon, more common approaches to qualitative research (e.g., interviews, surveys, etc.) were unlikely to illuminate the manifestation of agency, which requires capturing the nuances associated with one’s day-to-day experiences. Thus, to address our research purpose, we required a research design that provided a space to explore one’s acceptance of ambiguity, responses to disappointments, willingness to adapt, process of adapting, and experiences with collaboration. The poster presented will provide a preliminary version of the model along with a detailed description of the methods used to develop it. In short, we integrated collaborative inquiry and collaborative autoethnography as a means for building our model. Autoethnography is a research approach that critically examines personal experience to explore a cultural phenomenon. Collaborative autoethnography, which leverages collective sense-making of the data, informed the structure of our data collection. Specifically, we documented our individual experiences over the course of six semesters by (1) completing weekly, monthly, pre-semester, and post-semester reflection questions; (2) participating in periodic activities and discussions focused on targeted areas of our theoretical framework and relevant literature; and (3) discussing the outcomes from both (1) and (2) in weekly meetings. Collaborative inquiry, in contrast to collaborative autoethnography, is a research approach where people pair reflection on practice with action through multiple inquiry cycles. Collaborative inquiry guided the topics of discussion within our weekly meetings and how we approached challenges and other aspects of our positions. The combination of these methodologies allowed us to deeply and systematically explore our own experiences, allowing us to develop a model of professional agency towards change in engineering education through collaborative sense-making. By sharing our findings with current and developing engineering education graduate programs, we will enable them to make programmatic changes to benefit current and future engineering education scholars. These findings also will provide a mechanism for divisions within ASEE to develop programming and resources to support the sustained success and impact of their members.

Faber, C. J., & Lee, W. C., & Strong, A. C., & Bodnar, C. A., & Smith-Orr, C. S., & McCave, E. (2020, June), Developing a Model of Professional Agency Toward Change in Engineering Education for Early Career Scholars Paper presented at 2020 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access, Virtual On line . 10.18260/1-2--34416

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