Asee peer logo

Making Value for Faculty: Learning Communities in Engineering Faculty Development

Download Paper |

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

Development as Faculty and Researcher: ERM Roundtable

Tagged Division

Educational Research and Methods

Page Count

17

Page Numbers

26.1128.1 - 26.1128.17

DOI

10.18260/p.24465

Permanent URL

https://peer.asee.org/24465

Download Count

63

Request a correction

Paper Authors

biography

Stephanie Pulford University of Washington Center for Engineering Learning & Teaching (CELT) Orcid 16x16 orcid.org/0000-0002-3296-2787

visit author page

Dr. Stephanie Pulford is an instructional consultant within University of Washington’s Center for Engineering Teaching & Learning, where she coordinates the Engineering Writing & Communication Development Program. Dr. Pulford’s professional background in engineering includes a Ph.D. in Mechanical Engineering, an M.S. in Engineering Mechanics, and a B.S. in Aerospace Engineering as well as industry experience as an aircraft engineer. Her research and professional interests include faculty development, innovations in engineering communication education, engineering student learning motivation, and narrative structure in technical communication.

visit author page

biography

Nancy Ruzycki University of Florida Orcid 16x16 orcid.org/0000-0001-7516-2985

visit author page

Director of Undergraduate Laboratories, Faculty Lecturer, Department of Materials Science and Engineering

visit author page

biography

Cynthia J. Finelli University of Michigan Orcid 16x16 orcid.org/0000-0001-9148-1492

visit author page

Dr. Cynthia Finelli, Director of the Center for Research on Learning and Teaching in Engineering and research associate professor of engineering education at University of Michigan (U-M), earned B.S.E.E., M.S.E.E., and Ph.D. degrees from U-M in 1988, 1989, and 1993, respectively. Prior to joining U-M in 2003, she was the Richard L. Terrell Professor of Excellence in Teaching, founding director of the Center for Excellence in Teaching and Learning, and associate professor of electrical engineering at Kettering University. In her current role, she coordinates faculty and TA professional development in the College of Engineering, conducts rigorous engineering education research, and promotes the growth of engineering education both locally at UM and nationally. Dr. Finelli's current research interests include evaluating methods to improve teaching, studying faculty motivation to change classroom practices, and exploring ethical decision-making in engineering students. She also has established a national presence in engineering education; she is a fellow in the American Society of Engineering Education, is an Associate Editor of the IEEE Transactions on Education, and past chair of the Educational Research and Methods Division of ASEE.

visit author page

biography

Laura D Hahn University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign

visit author page

Laura Hahn is Director of the Academy for Excellence in Engineering Education at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. She is also an adjunct assistant professor in the Department of Agricultural and Biological Engineering. She specializes in instructional development and intercultural communication.

visit author page

biography

Denise Thorsen University of Alaska, Fairbanks

visit author page

Denise Thorsen received her B.S. (1985), M.S. (1991) and Ph.D. (1996) degrees in electrical and computer engineering from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. She is currently an Associate Professor in Electrical and Computer Engineering at the University of Alaska Fairbanks

visit author page

Download Paper |

Abstract

Making Value for Faculty: Learning Communities in Engineering Faculty DevelopmentCommunities of practice among educators are often enacted in the form of FacultyLearning Communities, which are groups of faculty who engage over time to collaborateon active learning toward professional development as teachers. Faculty learningcommunities are typically ensemble-driven. The facilitator acts as a supporter, organizeror co-learner, and all faculty members take roles in providing or analyzing relevantcontent and steering group inquiry. The community itself becomes a key component offaculty growth; the ensemble provides a means for social learning, group problem solving,support, and motivation toward teaching innovations. Faculty learning communities havebeen found to promote deep learning among faculty, promote faculty cohesion, andencourage faculty to strive for improvement and adopt or adapt new practices to theirown classrooms. Furthermore, they improve faculty’s experience as educators byreducing isolation and situating them in ready-made supportive cultures.An impediment to more widespread adoption of faculty learning communities in highereducation is that most best-practice community design models, while unanimouslyencouraging, take their cues from the tighter infrastructure and incentives of K12 learningcommunities. Recommendations such as top-down enforcement, yearlong commitments,member projects and peer assessment imply a high barrier to entry. This highly controlledand incentivized structure may seem prohibitive to would-be facilitators—misleadinglyprohibitive. Within engineering education there are numerous successful modelscurrently in use, many requiring more limited commitment, bottom-up organization andno incentivizing beyond faculty value for the community learning experience. Making thebreadth of learning community models visible will help expand our concept of the designof a successful faculty learning community, remove perceived barriers to instantiatesuccessful learning communities, and pave the way towards finding and sharing a broaderrange of learning community practices that allow engineering educators to access theirpeers and add value to their teaching and professional experience.In this evidence-based practice paper, we profile five different instances of facultylearning communities for engineering educators. We draw out themes of interest tomembers of the engineering education community who are considering, planning orrefining a faculty learning community or community of practice within their owninstitution. We examine learning community design, goals and outcomes; origins andrefinements to these learning communities; issues related to faculty participation and taskvalue; strategies, successes, and lessons learned. We analyze themes across the learningcommunities, and offer recommendations and future work towards building a broader setof best practices for learning communities and communities of practice that reflect thegoals, constraints, and resources of engineering education and faculty development.

Pulford, S., & Ruzycki, N., & Finelli, C. J., & Hahn, L. D., & Thorsen, D. (2015, June), Making Value for Faculty: Learning Communities in Engineering Faculty Development Paper presented at 2015 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Seattle, Washington. 10.18260/p.24465

ASEE holds the copyright on this document. It may be read by the public free of charge. Authors may archive their work on personal websites or in institutional repositories with the following citation: © 2015 American Society for Engineering Education. Other scholars may excerpt or quote from these materials with the same citation. When excerpting or quoting from Conference Proceedings, authors should, in addition to noting the ASEE copyright, list all the original authors and their institutions and name the host city of the conference. - Last updated April 1, 2015