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Using a Collective Impact Approach to Establish a Center for Equity in Engineering Focused on Graduate Education: Lessons Learned from Phase I

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Conference

2024 Collaborative Network for Engineering & Computing Diversity (CoNECD)

Location

Arlington, Virginia

Publication Date

February 25, 2024

Start Date

February 25, 2024

End Date

February 27, 2024

Conference Session

Track 3: Technical Session 2: Using a Collective Impact Approach to Establish a Center for Equity in Engineering Focused on Graduate Education: Lessons Learned from Phase I

Tagged Topics

Diversity and CoNECD Paper Sessions

Page Count

39

DOI

10.18260/1-2--45492

Permanent URL

https://peer.asee.org/45492

Download Count

39

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Paper Authors

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Teirra K Holloman Virginia Tech Department of Engineering Education

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Teirra Holloman is a postdoctoral associate in Engineering Education at Virginia Tech. Teirra received her Ph.D. in Engineering Education and M.Eng. in Industrial and Systems Engineering from Virginia Tech and her B.S. in Industrial Engineering from Clemson University. Her research interests include organizational resilience; organizational change; diversity, equity, and inclusion issues in engineering and global education programs.

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Natali Huggins

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Natali Huggins is a PhD student in the Higher Education program at Virginia Tech. She holds a master’s in public administration from the National Experimental University of Táchira in Venezuela. She has several years of experience in higher education a

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Julia Machele Brisbane Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University Orcid 16x16 orcid.org/0000-0002-9580-0646

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Julia Brisbane is a Ph.D. student in the Engineering Education Department at Virginia Tech. She received her M.S. in Biomedical Engineering from the Virginia Tech-Wake Forest University School of Biomedical Engineering and Sciences Engineering and her B.S. in Bioengineering from Clemson University. Her research interests lie in undergraduate research experiences in engineering, racial health disparities, and broadening participation in engineering.

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Walter C. Lee Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University Orcid 16x16 orcid.org/0000-0001-5082-1411

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Dr. Walter Lee is an associate professor in the Department of Engineering Education and the director for research at the Center for the Enhancement of Engineering Diversity (CEED), both at Virginia Tech.

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Michelle D Klopfer Virginia Tech Department of Engineering Education

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David B Knight Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University Orcid 16x16 orcid.org/0000-0003-4576-2490

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David Knight is a Professor in the Department of Engineering Education at Virginia Tech and also serves as Special Assistant to the Dean for Strategic Plan Implementation in the College of Engineering. His research tends to be at the macro-scale, focused on a systems-level perspective of how engineering education can become more effective, efficient, and inclusive, and considers the intersection between policy and organizational contexts. Knight currently serves as the co-Editor-in-Chief of the Journal of Engineering Education.

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Tremayne O'Brian Waller Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University

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Tremayne O. Waller is the Director of Graduate Student Programs at Virginia Tech. Dr. Waller facilitates the recruitment, retention, and success of graduate scholars with a focus on those from backgrounds historically underrepresented in engineering. Prior to joining Virginia Tech, Dr. Waller was Interim Director of the Office of Academic Diversity Initiatives at Cornell University. In this role, he was responsible for building academic and professional-development support and resources for undergraduate students who are traditionally underrepresented and/or underserved in higher education. Dr. Waller was the inaugural lecturer and director of the Ronald E. McNair Postbaccalaureate Achievement Program at Cornell University. Dr. Waller began his career in student affairs and undergraduate education at Averett University, Radford University, and the University of South Carolina.

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Jeremi S London Vanderbilt University

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Dr. Jeremi London is an Associate Professor in the Engineering Education Department at Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University. London is a mixed methods researcher with interests in research impact, broadening participation and instructional change.

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Abstract

In 2021, the National Science Foundation put out a request for Phase I proposals focused on the development of Centers for Equity in Engineering with the intended goal of catalyzing systematic culture change. As a result, a project focused on developing a center focused on transforming graduate education throughout the College of Engineering (COE) at a single institution was funded. Establishing such a center is important because the highly decentralized nature of graduate education in engineering at the respective institution makes integrated reform strategies extremely challenging and fosters inequities throughout the system (recruitment, admissions, research, professional development, etc.). To unravel these inequities, this center pursues the political and social transformation needed to promote student success and well-being. Grounded in a Collective Impact framework and an action research design, our change efforts revolve around four focus areas: 1) expectations and accountability mechanisms, 2) access and resources, 3) culture and skill development, and 4) community and advocacy. Our Center leadership team includes every COE administrative position within our institution associated with graduate education as well as scholars and leaders in broadening participation and graduate education. Through coordinated efforts, the Center will reorient existing decentralized structures, resource flows, and decision processes and foster both bottom-up and top-down change processes. Our Center aims to create a more equitable and inclusive graduate engineering education where student experiences and outcomes are not predicted by demographic variables or citizenship.

The purpose of this presentation is to discuss our approach to establishing this Center, focusing more specifically on our use of the Collective Impact framework in a higher education context. Collective Impact offers a framework that approaches organizational change through intentional cross-sectional partnerships between necessary stakeholders (i.e., college-level administrators, academic departments, and individual faculty members). Collective Impact outlines five conditions necessary for dynamic collaboration and collective progression toward shared objectives: Common Agenda, Backbone Support, Mutually Reinforced Activities, Continuous Communication, and Standard Measurement. In this presentation, we will discuss 1) the five conditions of Collective Impact, 2) our iterative approach to establishing each of the five conditions, and 3) key insights that we gleaned through our engagement with each of the five conditions. Audience members will walk away with a better understanding of Collective Impact and ideas for how to engage Collective Impact for creating systemic change in their specific contexts.

Holloman, T. K., & Huggins, N., & Brisbane, J. M., & Lee, W. C., & Klopfer, M. D., & Knight, D. B., & Waller, T. O., & London, J. S. (2024, February), Using a Collective Impact Approach to Establish a Center for Equity in Engineering Focused on Graduate Education: Lessons Learned from Phase I Paper presented at 2024 Collaborative Network for Engineering & Computing Diversity (CoNECD), Arlington, Virginia. 10.18260/1-2--45492

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