June 20, 2010
June 20, 2010
June 23, 2010
Continuing Professional Development
15.488.1 - 15.488.8
Engineering Faculty As Academic Change Leaders Abstract
Most stakeholders in engineering industry and education agree that change is needed in engineering education in order to improve the quality of instruction and produce engineering graduates with a wide range of skills. However, despite this consensus and several efforts to implement change, the accomplishments of the past 20 years have not met expectations. Thus, we aim to develop a nationwide program to help engineering faculty members develop change leadership skills. In support of this goal, we held a collaborative workshop to engage engineering faculty and administrators in a conversation about effective ways of implementing campus change or developing programs that lead to change. Attendees discussed institutional and departmental challenges; the knowledge, skills, and abilities (KSAs) needed to affect change; and methods of motivating other faculty members to develop those KSAs. In addition, the attendees presented examples of their own successes and failures in implementing change. We strove to gain information from the experiences of change leaders in attendance in order to help frame an implementable program for developing change leadership skills. Attendees provided feedback both in person and through an online post-workshop survey. All attendees were expected to develop and execute related plans on their home campuses and to report on those activities. We had expected that these on-campus plans would relate to explicating and validating incentives to engage faculty to acquire change leadership skills. While some did, many served to engage faculty in specific change leadership activities without necessarily explicitly highlighting the leadership skills being gained as a result of engaging in the activity. This paper will summarize the lessons learned from the application process, the workshop, and the campus plan activities.
Most stakeholders in engineering industry and education agree that change is needed in engineering education in order to improve the quality of instruction and produce engineering graduates with a wide range of skills (e. g., 1, 2). Despite several calls to action, inertia remains in engineering schools and relatively little has changed in the past 20 years. Innovation in engineering education will require both faculty members and education researchers collaborate to work on and maintain change such that the practice of teaching informs engineering education research and vice versa. This change must be driven by faculty and administrators in engineering schools 3, which suggests that these individuals must gain the knowledge and develop the skills and abilities necessary to produce and support change. With this in mind, we held a workshop for representatives of engineering schools who have made significant changes. The goal of the workshop was to learn from these successful change leaders to inform our efforts at developing a broad program to aid engineering faculty members in developing the skills necessary to effect change.
Applications were solicited from senior engineering education leaders who represented a range of institution types. However, we allowed these leaders to bring campus teams, thus those in attendance also represented wide ranges of academic rank and of experience. Forty-one faculty members, representing 28 institutions attended. The institutional backgrounds of the attendees
Cady, E., & Fortenberry, N., & Sypher, B. D., & Abel, S. R., & Cox, M., & Reed-Rhoads, T., & Berkelaar, B. (2010, June), Engineering Faculty As Academic Change Leaders Paper presented at 2010 Annual Conference & Exposition, Louisville, Kentucky. 10.18260/1-2--15811
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