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Faculty Survey on Learning Through Service: Development and Initial Findings

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Conference

2012 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition

Location

San Antonio, Texas

Publication Date

June 10, 2012

Start Date

June 10, 2012

End Date

June 13, 2012

ISSN

2153-5965

Conference Session

Thinking About the Engineering Curriculum

Tagged Division

Educational Research and Methods

Page Count

22

Page Numbers

25.635.1 - 25.635.22

Permanent URL

https://peer.asee.org/21392

Download Count

22

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Paper Authors

biography

Olga Pierrakos James Madison University

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Olga Pierrakos is an Associate Professor and founding faculty member in the School of Engineering, which is graduating its inaugural class May 2012, at James Madison University. Pierrakos holds a B.S. in engineering science and mechanics, an M.S. in engineering mechanics, and a Ph.D. in biomedical engineering from Virginia Tech. Her interests in engineering education research center around recruitment and retention, engineering design instruction and methodology, learning through service (NSF EFELTS project), understanding engineering students through the lens of identity theory (NSF BRIGE grant), advancing problem-based learning methodologies (NSF CCLI grant), assessing student learning, and understanding and integrating complex problem solving in undergraduate engineering education (NSF CAREER grant). Her other research interests lie in cardiovascular fluid mechanics, sustainability, and K-12 engineering outreach.

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Anna Zilberberg

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Christopher W. Swan Tufts University Orcid 16x16 orcid.org/0000-0001-5670-8938

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Chris Swan is an Associate Professor of civil and environmental engineering with additional appointments in the Jonathan M. Tisch College of Citizenship and Public Service and the Center for Engineering Education and Outreach at Tufts University. He has served as Chair of Tufts CEE Department (2002-2007) and has been active in the ASEE since 2001, currently serving as the Program Chair for the Community Engagement in Engineering Education constituent committee. Swan’s current research interests in engineering education concern project-based learning and service-based pedagogy.

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Angela R. Bielefeldt University of Colorado, Boulder

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Angela Bielefeldt is an Associate Professor in the Department of Civil, Environmental, and Architectural Engineering at the University of Colorado, Boulder. She has incorporated service-learning projects into the senior capstone design course for environmental engineering since 2001. Her engineering education research interests include sustainable engineering, ethics, and retention of female students.

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biography

Kurt Paterson P.E. Michigan Technological University

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Kurt Paterson, Associate Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering, is also Director of Michigan Tech's D80 Center. D80 has the mission to develop contribution-based learning, research, and service opportunities for all students and staff to partner with the poorest 80% of humanity, together creating solutions that matter. As Director of several international programs at the undergraduate and graduate levels, Paterson, his colleagues, and his students have conducted numerous community-inspired research and design projects. Paterson is an educational innovator, recently adding courses for first-year students, Great Ideas, and graduate students, Discover Design Delight. At the intersection of these two fields, Paterson leads several national initiatives for learning engineering through service, recently taking the reins for the American Society for Engineering Education’s newest division startup, Community Engagement in Engineering Education. He is PI, or Co-PI, on several large projects assessing the impacts of learning through service on students, faculty, and communities around the world.

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John J. Duffy University of Massachusetts, Lowell

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Sean Mcvay James Madison Univeristy

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Abstract

Findings from the Faculty Survey on Learning Through ServiceThe rapid pace of technological progress and future challenges for globalization, sustainability,complexity, and adaptability of engineering professionals call for a paradigm shift in engineeringeducation. Learning Through Service (LTS), an innovative pedagogical method that incorporates serviceas a means to meet academic learning outcomes, is part of such a paradigm shift. Being inclusive, LTS isan umbrella term used to cover an array of efforts, from volunteerism to service-learning. LTS is knownto seed development on multiple levels, from technical knowledge and cognitive development topersonal and professional growth, and is also known to attract women. With strong impacts on theepistemology of engineering educators impacting learning via LTS, this study is focused on gaining adeeper understanding of the motivations, challenges, and strategies faced by engineering faculty thatintegrate LTS in their curricular and extra-curricular engineering education endeavors. Suchunderstanding will facilitate the engagement of faculty across many disciplines to take part in LTS effortsand thus impact student learning via authentic and meaningful service experiences.To this end, we developed a faculty survey for LTS with the purposes of gathering insight into not onlythe types of LTS experiences (e.g. curricular, extracurricular, etc.) and the characteristics of suchexperiences (e.g. group-based, type of community partner, duration, course characteristics, etc.), butalso the benefits and barriers faced during LTS design, management, and assessment -all from a facultyperspective. Faculty attitudes on LTS efforts and impacts to their students, themselves, theirinstitutions, their partners were also measured. The survey includes Likert scale items, open-endedquestions, and multiple choice items. Phase I of our effort was inspired by an existing faculty survey onservice-learning from the University of Massachusetts, Lowell. This existing survey was refined andexpanded by a collaborative team of LTS content experts and assessment specialists who identifiedcritical LTS characteristics from the literature and personal experiences to develop new items that wouldprovide a more comprehensive understanding of LTS efforts. Phase II of survey development involvedrecruitment of additional content experts for feedback on content validity. Herein, we present initialfindings from a cohort of about thirty LTS experts who were administered the survey via an onlinesurvey tool at a recent multidisciplinary LTS Experts Summit organized as part of the Engineering FacultyEngagement Learning Through Service (EFELTS) project funded by the National Science Foundation.Acknowledging the diversity of LTS efforts available, we present the wide range of LTS characteristics,faculty attitudes of LTS, faculty ratings of student learning gains, and faculty ratings on LTS benefits andbarriers to implementation. Key findings from surveyed LTS faculty experts suggest that major barriersfor LTS implementation are 1) the lack of policy on the place of LTS in promotion and tenure, 2) theperceived workload of LTS efforts, and 3) the course size. In regards to major benefits, surveyed LTSexperts find such experiences to not only be academically rigorous and enabling for students to meetcourse and program objectives, but also more motivating for engineering students, who tend to learnthe subject matter more effectively in LTS courses versus non-LTS courses. Such findings offer a richunderstanding of the LTS endeavors faced by faculty. A major impact of such findings is to develop aframework upon which LTS-interested faculty can be empowered to initiate and/or improve their ownLTS efforts, which will ultimately impact student learning and development in engineering and beyond.

Pierrakos, O., & Zilberberg, A., & Swan, C. W., & Bielefeldt, A. R., & Paterson, K., & Duffy, J. J., & Mcvay, S. (2012, June), Faculty Survey on Learning Through Service: Development and Initial Findings Paper presented at 2012 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, San Antonio, Texas. https://peer.asee.org/21392

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