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WIP: A Faculty Learning Community That Includes a Strong Support System to Promote Implementation of New Teaching Practices

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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

Faculty Development Division Poster Session

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Faculty Development Division

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Paper Authors


Megan Morin University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

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Megan Morin is the KEEN Program Coordinator at the University of North Carolina - Chapel Hill and a Ph.D. student at North Carolina State University (NCSU). She is currently studying STEM education with a focus on Engineering and Technology Education. Megan has a B.S. in Middle Childhood Math and Science Education from the University of Dayton, and an M.Ed. from NCSU in Technology and Engineering Education. Her dissertation is a phenomenological case study that is explaining how a community college student experiences an undergraduate research experience and its influence on their motivation and values, including its influence on the completion of their engineering degree as they pursue and continue a career in engineering.

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Richard Goldberg University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

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Richard Goldberg is a Teaching Associate Professor and Director of Undergraduate Studies in the Department of Applied Physical Sciences at UNC Chapel Hill. He is developing a new integrated engineering minor and major at UNC. He is interested in integrating engineering with the liberal arts and an entrepreneurial mindset. He teaches a variety of classes for first year students, seniors, and everyone in between. His primary research interest is in rehabilitation engineering and assistive technology for people with disabilities.

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This WIP Paper is preferred to be presented in a poster. At an R-1 institution in which research is a high priority, faculty development can be a challenge. Many faculty members are focused on their research and do not have the time or training to implement new initiatives in their classes and incorporate the latest in education pedagogy [1]. However, even as faculty juggle their research and their teaching loads, most faculty have a strong intent to improve their teaching for student learning [2]. An effective faculty development program must consider these constraints and implement a strong support system to guide faculty. One effective approach is through a Faculty Learning Community (FLC), which is a group of faculty members who engage over time to collaborate on active learning toward professional development as teachers [3]. When nurtured with the appropriate support and resources, FLCs can be impactful to their teaching and students [2]. The FLC model is used widely at our R-1 institution. In this paper, we describe our implementation of an FLC to promote entrepreneurial minded learning (EML) for students. The outcomes are based on the framework developed by the Kern Entrepreneurial Engineering Network (KEEN) [4]. The goal is to provide faculty with tools to successfully implement new teaching strategies, while keeping this to a manageable time commitment. To make it easy for faculty to participate, we developed our program to take place during the academic year, meeting approximately once a month for 7 sessions at 90 minutes each session. The meetings included presentations, discussions, group work time, and hearing from experts. The first three months of the program focused on an understanding of the KEEN framework [4] and activities for students that foster Curiosity, Connections, and Creating Value. FLC participants received implementation guides with concrete ideas that incorporate the framework into their classes. These ideas spanned from “micro-moments” that take a few minutes of class time to month-long projects or modules in their classes. The deliverable for the program is for each participant to develop new EML initiatives or content for their classes, and to publish this as a KEEN Card [5]. The KEEN FLC was first implemented in 2019-20 with seven participants, and again in 2020-21 with six participants. An FLC member described the impact by stating, “I was already using quite a few active learning strategies in my course, but now I'm tweaking learning objectives to include the entrepreneurial mindset when possible - mostly sparking creativity and having students make connections.” We are building a community of faculty who are incorporating EML and we will continue the interactions among past and current participants. We are also formally assessing the impact of this program on the faculty and their students using surveys and other assessment tools. The purpose of this FLC is to support faculty and scaffold the KEEN framework to their experiences and backgrounds. Faculty members can participate with a manageable time commitment, and they can immediately implement new tools to promote entrepreneurial minded learning.

References [1] S. E. Brownell & Kimberly D. Tanner, “Barriers to Faculty Pedagogical Change: Lack of Training, Time, Incentives, and…Tensions with Professional Identity?”, CBE—Life Sciences Education, vol. 11, no. 4, pp. 339-346, Oct. 2017, doi: 10.1187/cbe.12-09-0163 [2] J.L. Borgord-Parnell, “A Pedagogy of Larger Concerns: Grounding Engineering Faculty Development in Research on Teaching Conceptions,” presented at the 2015 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Seattle, WA, U.S.A., June 14-17, 2015. [3] S. Pulford, N. Ruzycki, C.J. Finelli, L.D. Hahn, & D. Thorsen, “Making Value for Faculty: Learning Communities in Engineering Faculty Development,” presented at the 2015 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition., Seattle, WA, U.S.A., June 14-17, 2015 [4] Kern Entrepreneurial Engineering Network: Engineering Unleashed. “The Framework” (accessed October 10, 2020). [5] Kern Entrepreneurial Engineering Network: Engineering Unleashed. “Cards” (accessed October 10, 2020).

Preferred Format: Poster Session

Morin, M., & Goldberg, R. (2021, July), WIP: A Faculty Learning Community That Includes a Strong Support System to Promote Implementation of New Teaching Practices Paper presented at 2021 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access, Virtual Conference.

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