June 15, 2014
June 15, 2014
June 18, 2014
Continuing Professional Development
24.1237.1 - 24.1237.19
The PEER Collaborative: Supporting engineering education research faculty with near-peer mentoring unconference workshopsThe PEER (“Pine mountain Engineering Education Research”) Collaborative National Networkis a national peer mentoring network for early career tenure-track or mid-career tenured facultywho focus on doing engineering education research. The PEER network hosted two NSF-funded,collaboratively designed peer mentoring workshops for tenure-track and recently tenuredengineering education faculty members in August 2011 and June 2013. Twenty-four participantsconsidered “near peers” – faculty and staff from engineering education, engineering, education,and design programs – attended the first workshop and 18 attended the second workshop.Applications were required of all participants to ensure that all attendees considered themselvesprimarily evaluated based on engineering education research productivity.The first workshop provided approximately 20 hours of professional development and mentoringbroken down over a day and a half, while the second workshop provided approximately 8 hoursover the course of a day. The workshops were designed to be a unique experience driven byparticipants’ needs. Topics discussed ranged from professional development for both tenure-track and tenured faculty, developing reading, writing and publication strategies, discussing thedevelopment of engineering education research as a field, mentoring students, balancing workand family life, and other issues. The workshops included guided activities, such as the use ofvisual images as a starting point for discussing participants’ roles within engineering educationand their institutions. The conversations were governed by the “law of two feet,” borrowed fromunconference structures: if participants found themselves neither learning nor contributing toothers’ learning, they were obliged to find somewhere else where they could learn or contribute.Participants were also encouraged to spend their time productively even if that meant leaving amain topic discussion to meet with people for smaller discussions.The first workshop was evaluated using an internal assessment and an external evaluator.Internal assessment was the same survey distributed twice: 1) immediately after the completionof the workshop and 2) as a follow-up two months later. The external evaluator attended sessionsand observed conversations, serving as the workshop “storyteller.” The second workshop madeuse of a post-workshop participant survey focused on workshop gains and how to make thecommunity and the PEER workshop program sustainable.This paper will discuss the development, logistics, and outcomes of the workshops built around acommunity of practice framework. Data from internal and external evaluations will be presentedto provide insights into what worked and what needs further development. We will provideadditional insights via vignettes from participants reflecting on the PEER workshops and effectsthe PEER events had on their personal and professional lives. Participant vignettes address boththe broader experiences related to PEER as well as specific reactions and perspectives regardingitems of interest in the evaluation data. The paper will conclude with a discussion on the futureof PEER (and potential spin-off groups from the PEER cohorts), a discussion of theenhancements and changes that will be made in future workshops, and recommendations forother organizers about developing successful “near peer” groups to address specific communityneeds.
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: © 2014 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