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Using an Education Ideas Forum to Foster Institutional Innovation Starting from the Grassroots Level

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2020 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access


Virtual On line

Publication Date

June 22, 2020

Start Date

June 22, 2020

End Date

June 26, 2021

Conference Session

Multidisciplinary Curriculum and Course Development

Tagged Division

Multidisciplinary Engineering

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Paper Authors


Adeel Khalid Kennesaw State University

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Adeel Khalid, Ph.D.
Industrial & Systems Engineering
Office: 470-578-7241

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Tris Utschig Kennesaw State University Orcid 16x16

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Dr. Tristan T. Utschig is Director for Scholarly Teaching in the Center for Excellence in Teaching and Learning (CETL) and is Associate Professor of Nuclear Engineering at Kennesaw State University. Formerly, he was Assistant Director for CETL and the Office of Assessment at Georgia Tech, and prior to that was a tenured Associate Professor of Engineering Physics at Lewis-Clark State College. Dr. Utschig consults with faculty across the university about bringing scholarly teaching and learning innovations into their classroom and assessing their impact. He has regularly published and presented work on a variety of topics including assessment instruments and methodologies, using technology in the classroom, faculty development in instructional design, teaching diversity, and peer coaching. Dr. Utschig completed his PhD in Nuclear Engineering at the University of Wisconsin–Madison.

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The idea of this research project was inspired by the ASEE’s Interdivisional Town Hall Meeting held at the National Conference in 2017 [1]. A local version of a similar town hall was held at the engineering college-wide meeting at the beginning of spring semester 2019 which all faculty and staff attend. Data were gathered about ways to improve college-wide collaboration efforts through this forum.

Often times the college faculty and staff community feels like they are not directly connected to making meaningful change. A mechanism is proposed for the community to respond to prompts eliciting ideas and/or potential solutions to engineering education issues by generating potential action plans or ideas to improve the college while also introducing faculty to valuable research-based information about those issues. In this way, faculty both learn about important engineering education research areas and also contribute ideas supporting its adoption. During a college wide meeting, faculty and staff were randomly assigned to groups of 10-12 people. Out of several possible research questions adapted from the ASEE 2017 Town Hall, the following single question was chosen for the engineering college wide town hall: “How can our engineering college foster and promote collaborative exchanges about student success, retention, and progression (including both teaching and support) that most benefits students; promotes faculty and staff development; and leverages the expertise of many?”

Each group was then given 8-10 minutes to discuss the topic and come up with ideas. Roles were assigned to each group member to create accountability for the outcomes. These roles were contributor, moderator, and recorder. Descriptions of these respective roles were printed on cards for the participants. After group discussions, all groups were invited to report their most impactful ideas to the larger group, and these contributions were taken as long as time allowed (approximately 7 minutes). All group results were collected at the end of the meeting, and groups were also allowed to submit their ideas online during the live meeting, or to submit additional ideas online during a two week window after the meeting.

Ideas generated from each group were analyzed using open coding in a grounded theory approach to generate themes. Responses assigned to each of them were then summarized for discussion with the leadership from the Dean’s office. Each theme was ranked based on their frequency in the collected comments, estimated cost of implementation, and potential impact. A summary of the results was presented to the faculty and staff community at the beginning of the fall semester, and the two areas selected by the Dean’s office for implementation were revealed. The implication of this institutional innovation process is that it is a novel, low-cost way to foster tangible change that comes from a grass-roots level. This approach helped establish communication between the faculty/staff community, and provided administrators an easy way to make changes that are most desirable coming from bottom up.



Khalid, A., & Utschig, T. (2020, June), Using an Education Ideas Forum to Foster Institutional Innovation Starting from the Grassroots Level Paper presented at 2020 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access, Virtual On line . 10.18260/1-2--35449

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