July 26, 2021
July 26, 2021
July 19, 2022
CIT-E (the Center for Infrastructure Transformation and Education) was founded in 2013, catalyzed by a National Science Foundation grant. During the course of the grant, faculty members from around the country gathered for six workshops to co-create an entire model introduction to infrastructure course. These materials have been peer reviewed and are available at no charge to anyone who wants to use and/or adapt them.
During the summer of 2020, CIT-E sponsored two workshops. These virtual workshops were designed to 1) sustain and build on the community of practice initially established through CIT-E, and 2) engage faculty in creating and adapting materials relating civil infrastructure and the two topics that dominated the news in 2020: Black Lives Matter specifically (systemic racism generally) and COVID-19 (pandemics generally). Many CEE faculty have limited understanding of how infrastructure behaves as a system; the relationship between infrastructure and pandemics; and the relationship between infrastructure and systemic racism. Thus, faculty need resources, including networks of supportive colleagues, to help design these concepts into their courses.
The 2-hour long Model Introductory Infrastructure Course Adaptation workshop, designed for people new to the CIT-E materials, was held in late July. Participants were asked to explore the CIT-E materials in advance, and in the workshop they worked in small teams to adapt a particular lesson of interest for use in an upcoming course. The 6-hour long (2 hours per day over 3 days) Infrastructure Education in Unprecedented Times workshop was held the following week. Participants learned about the intersections of infrastructure, pandemics, and systemic racism and formed teams to co-develop course materials on these two topics, to be used in the 2020/2021 academic year. These lessons are in the final stages of development and are also being made available through the CIT-E repository. To facilitate wider adoption and use of the materials, as well as to continue building and strengthening a community of practice for educators, CIT-E is holding monthly virtual “Helpline” sessions in which anyone interested can gather by Zoom to learn more about the CIT-E materials, share ideas and resources for teaching and learning about civil infrastructure, and brainstorm with colleagues on how to address challenges in doing so.
The strong response to the workshops (60 people registered despite limited marketing), suggests that there is a widespread interest in developing and teaching materials on CEE infrastructure education in general, and on the relationship between infrastructure and systemic racism and between infrastructure and pandemics specifically. This has led workshop organizers to administer surveys to members of the CIT-E community of practice with two primary research questions: 1) to what extent are CIT-E materials being used, and what impact are those materials having? and 2) to what extent do CEE faculty see a need for enhanced education with respect to pandemics and systemic racism?
This paper will situate the overall effort in the broader literature related to building and sustaining a community of practice, more fully describe the outcomes of the workshops, and report the results of the survey currently in progress.
Sanford, K. L., & Parker, P. J., & Roberts, M. W., & Wilson, C. M. D., & Penn, M. R., & Valdes-Vasquez, R., & Paige, F. (2021, July), Infrastructure Education in Unprecedented Times: Strengthening a Community of Practice Paper presented at 2021 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access, Virtual Conference. https://peer.asee.org/37335
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