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Stories of Change: Faculty in Reflective Dialogues

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2017 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Columbus, Ohio

Publication Date

June 24, 2017

Start Date

June 24, 2017

End Date

June 28, 2017

Conference Session


Tagged Division

Educational Research and Methods

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Paper Authors


Lizabeth T. Schlemer California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo

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Lizabeth is a professor at Cal Poly, SLO in Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering. She has been teaching for 23 years and has continued to develop innovative pedagogy such as project based, flipped classroom and competency grading. Through the SUSTAIN SLO learning initiative she and her colleagues have been active researching in transformation in higher education.

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Luciane de Greef California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo


Trevor Scott Harding California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo

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Dr. Trevor S. Harding is Professor of Materials Engineering at California Polytechnic State University where he teaches courses in materials design, sustainable materials, and polymeric materials. Dr. Harding is PI on several educational research projects including the psychology of ethical decision making and promoting the use of reflection in engineering education. He serves as Associate Editor of the journals Advances in Engineering Education and International Journal of Service Learning in Engineering. Dr. Harding has served numerous leadership positions in ASEE including division chair for the Materials Division and the Community Engagement Division. Dr. Harding received the 2008 President’s Service Learning Award for innovations in the use of service learning at Cal Poly. In 2004 he was named a Templeton Research Fellow by the Center for Academic Integrity. Dr. Harding received both the 1999 Apprentice Faculty Grant and 2000 New Faculty Fellow Award for his contributions to engineering education.

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Over a two year period, a group of faculty from California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo (Cal Poly), met monthly to explore the role of reflection in transforming engineering education. This dialog group at Cal Poly was part of a larger Consortium to Promote Reflection in Engineering Education (CPREE) coordinated by the University of Washington. During the first year of the project the group at Cal Poly included faculty from the College of Engineering, but during the second year the group expanded to include faculty from other colleges (Liberal Arts, Business, and Science and Math) and students. The group consisted of 40 individuals with consistently 25 at each dialog meeting. We grappled with questions mostly philosophical in nature: What is reflection? Aren’t we reflecting all the time? Does reflection lead to transformation? What is the difference between transformation and change? How can we ask our students to reflect if we don’t have a reflective practice? As we concluded the two-year experiment in Spring of 2016, some faculty who participated in the dialogs reported changing both personally and professionally. In order to document and understand the nature of the changes we embarked on this research project. We interviewed 10 faculty from Engineering and Liberal Arts. The interviews were coded and analyzed through inductive narrative techniques. The results point to some profound themes. Most striking is that the practice of reflecting together on our own teaching led to more in-class active learning and an enhanced learning environment. This in turn led to faculty reporting deeper learning for students. Some faculty also reported changes in their own personal realm that resulted in a sense of greater well-being. Examples of these changes are included in this paper.

Schlemer, L. T., & de Greef, L., & Harding, T. S. (2017, June), Stories of Change: Faculty in Reflective Dialogues Paper presented at 2017 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Columbus, Ohio. 10.18260/1-2--28850

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