July 26, 2021
July 26, 2021
July 19, 2022
Skilled candidates with graduate training are a critical need in the current wind energy industry (Swift et al., 2019). It is challenging for one institution to provide the depth and breadth of course offerings and educational opportunities required in a multidisciplinary, and rapidly changing field, such as wind energy. “XX Program” is a collaborative NSF-funded effort to respond to this need, by developing and testing a model to establish an expandable, multi-university, multi-disciplinary consortium in STEM graduate education made up of multiple universities across the United States. Ample literature describes the benefits, challenges, and mechanisms of multi-university consortia. Core features of the XX Program consortium are that each member institution is autonomous in offering its own degrees and graduate certificates, and each university offers and share high-quality distance learning courses. In addition to significant recruitment efforts with groups underrepresented in wind energy such as Society of Women Engineers (SWE), distance learning courses will also open up the pool of possible students interested in this field.
The project created a new replicable model for setting up a consortium, called the Rapid model. The Rapid model has 10 activities, modified from the literature of previous successful consortium development. Following this model, the goal was to develop the consortia in 1 year.
Questions guiding this study are: 1. How was the Rapid model used for developing a consortium for STEM graduate education? 2. In what ways was the Rapid model effective for consortia development?
Researchers are using a design and development research process to provide real-time evidence for model pilot-testing during consortia development and, ultimately, for identifying the final model for dissemination. Design-based research (The Design Based Research Collective, 2003) supports the development and continuous improvement of education innovations in complex systems, such as the XX Program consortium, by engaging the program team in iterative cycles of design, implementation, analysis and redesign.
To study the model use for consortia development, data collection includes: 1. documentation of implementation of each element of the Rapid model, including any modifications of the model elements, and 2. annual interviews with faculty and administrators significantly involved in the consortia planning process using a protocol from Offerman (1997). The researchers are using these data to identify if model developers have maintained fidelity to the model or made modifications (Q1). Interviews are used to identify the value of each element of the model (Q1) and faculty and administrator perspective of model effectiveness (Q2). Student outcome data, satisfaction with course experiences from surveys, and student demographics will also contribute to identifying consortia effectiveness (Q2). The outcome of the study is to identify the activities most important in establishing the consortium and address any challenges in real-time, in order to improve the likelihood of success. The results of the project will add to the knowledge base concerning establishment of an expandable university consortium in graduate STEM education.
References Offerman, M.J. (1997). Collaborative degree programs: A facilitational model. Continuing Higher Education Review, 61, 28-55.
Swift, A., Tegen, S., Acker, T., Manwell, J., Pattison, C., and J. McGowan (2019). Graduate and undergraduate university programs in wind energy in the United States. Wind Engineering, 43 (1), 35-46.
The Design-Based Research Collective. (2003). Design-based research: An emerging paradigm for educational inquiry. Educational Researcher, 32(1), 5-8.
Acker, T. L., & Bloom, N. E. (2021, July), The Rapid Model: Initial Results From Testing a Model to Set Up a Course-Sharing Consortia for STEM Programs at the Graduate Level Paper presented at 2021 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access, Virtual Conference. https://peer.asee.org/37884
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