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The Effects of COVID-19 on Faculty in the College of Engineering at San Jose State University

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2021 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access


Virtual Conference

Publication Date

July 26, 2021

Start Date

July 26, 2021

End Date

July 19, 2022

Conference Session

Engineering Education During the COVID-19 Pandemic

Tagged Division

Educational Research and Methods

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Paper Authors


Patricia R. Backer San Jose State University

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Dr. Backer been a faculty at SJSU since 1990 and held positions as an assistant professor, associate professor, professor, department chair, and director. Since coming to San Jose State University in 1990, she has focused on research in pedagogy and student success. Currently, Dr. Backer serves as the PI for the Title III Strengthening grant both from the U.S. Department of Education.

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Laura E. Sullivan-Green San Jose State University

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Dr. Laura Sullivan-Green is a Professor and Department Chair in the Civil and Environmental Engineering Department at San José State University. She obtained her BS from the University of Dayton (Dayton, OH) in 2002 and her MS (2005) and PhD (2008) from Northwestern University (Evanston, IL). She teaches in the areas of Geotechnical Engineering, Engineering Mechanics, and Forensic Engineering. Her research interests include evaluating crack age in construction materials, forensic engineering education, and STEM education pedagogy. She serves on the SJSU Academic Senate as the chair of the Instruction and Student Affairs committee and the Forensic Engineering Division of the American Society of Civil Engineers. Laura is the PI for the Department of Education’s First in the World Grant awarded to San José State University, in partnership with Cal Poly Pomona and California State University- Los Angeles.

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Maria Chierichetti San Jose State University Orcid 16x16

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Maria Chierichetti joined the department of Aerospace Engineering as a full-time assistant professor in Fall 2019. Her interests lie in the field of aerospace structural design and vibrations, with particular emphasis on developing methodologies for combining finite element analysis and machine/deep learning for structural health monitoring and unmanned Structural inspections in the context of urban air mobility. Maria is also interested in investigating how students learning is affected by external factors, such as COVID-19 pandemic and community service. Before joining SJSU, she worked as a faculty member at Worcester Polytechnic Institute and at the University of Cincinnati. She earned her PhD at Georgia Tech in 2012 working on the monitoring and tracking of helicopter blade deformation. She earned a BS and MS from Politecnico di Milano (Italy) in 2004 and 2007 respectively, with majors in Aeronautical Engineering. She is an Amelia Earhart Fellow – Zonta International Foundation.

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This paper reports on a survey of all engineering faculty at San José State University (SJSU) in Spring 2020. The purpose of the survey was to determine the impact of the shelter-in-place on faculty. Overall, 104 faculty completed this survey. Based on the number of COE faculty in Spring, 287, this equates to a confidence level of 95% with a margin of error of 8%. Because of this low margin of error, we can be fairly confident that this survey is representative of the faculty teaching in the College in Spring 2020. The majority of the respondents who answered the question about rank were lecturers (58); there were fewer tenure-track (18), tenured (13), adjunct (1), and Teaching Associates (1) responding. Of the faculty who responded to identify their gender, 66 were men and 27 were women. It is interesting to note that there were more responses from newer faculty; 45.1% of the faculty responses were from faculty with five or fewer years teaching at SJSU. The responses of the faculty show that they worried about the health and well-being of their families, friends, and students. As well, they worried about doing their job well despite the changes made to classes when the classes moved 100% online. Most faculty (60%) took training to learn about online tools; the most common training was for audio or video conferencing tools, Canvas, controlled testing environments, and online videos or tutorials. The tools used by faculty after the shelter-in-place was different than before with in-person classes. More faculty used audio and video conferencing tools (90.6%), webcams (77.3%), online videos or tutorials (68.8%), and YouTube (50%). Faculty reported that students indicated they had issues with several digital technologies after the classes moved 100%. More than 2/3 of students have problems with Internet connectivity either always or sometimes during Spring 2020. Also, more than 50% of the students had issues with a physical space for studying and webcams.

Backer, P. R., & Sullivan-Green, L. E., & Chierichetti, M. (2021, July), The Effects of COVID-19 on Faculty in the College of Engineering at San Jose State University Paper presented at 2021 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access, Virtual Conference.

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