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Work in Progress: A Qualitative Study of Mentorship, Training Needs, and Community for New Engineering Education Researchers

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Conference

2020 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access

Location

Virtual On line

Publication Date

June 22, 2020

Start Date

June 22, 2020

End Date

June 26, 2021

Conference Session

Creating a Supportive and Nurturing Academic Culture

Tagged Division

Liberal Education/Engineering & Society

Page Count

11

DOI

10.18260/1-2--35601

Permanent URL

https://peer.asee.org/35601

Download Count

96

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Paper Authors

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Joseph F. Mirabelli University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

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Joseph Mirabelli is an Educational Psychology graduate student at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign with a focus in Engineering Education. His work focuses on mentorship, mental health, and retention in STEM students and faculty. He was awarded the NAGAP Graduate Education Research Grant award to study engineering faculty perceptions of graduate student well-being and attrition. Before studying education at UIUC, Joseph earned an MS degree in Physics from Indiana University in Bloomington and a BS in Engineering Physics at UIUC.

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Allyson Jo Barlow University of Nevada, Reno

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Ally Barlow graduated with her Doctoral Degree in Civil Engineering from Oregon State University, where she fused her technical background with her passion for education; her doctoral research focused on the exploration of student engagement from multiple methodological standpoints. Now she works as a Postdoctoral Scholar at University of Nevada Reno, expanding her knowledge of the field through work on faculty-faculty mentorship modes. Her research interests include student cognitive engagement and teacher best practices for in-class and out-of-class learning.

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Mia Ko University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

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Kelly J. Cross University of Nevada, Reno

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Dr. Cross is currently an Assistant Professor in the Chemical and Materials Engineering Department at the University Nevada Reno. After completing her PhD in Engineering Education at Virginia Tech in 2015, Dr. Cross worked as a post-doctoral researcher with the Illinois Foundry for Innovation in Engineering Education and in the Department of Bioengineering with the Revolutionizing Engineering Departments (RED) grant at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Dr. Cross' scholarship investigated student teams in engineering, faculty communities of practice, and the intersectionality of multiple identity dimensions. Her research interests include diversity and inclusion in STEM, intersectionality, teamwork and communication skills, assessment, and identity construction. Her teaching philosophy focuses on student centered approaches such as culturally relevant pedagogy. Dr. Cross' complimentary professional activities promote inclusive excellence through collaboration.

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Karin Jensen University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign Orcid 16x16 orcid.org/0000-0001-9456-5042

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Karin Jensen, Ph.D. is a Teaching Assistant Professor in bioengineering at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Her research interests include student mental health and wellness, engineering student career pathways, and engagement of engineering faculty in engineering education research. She was awarded a CAREER award from the National Science Foundation for her research on undergraduate mental health in engineering programs. Before joining UIUC she completed a post-doctoral fellowship at Sanofi Oncology in Cambridge, MA. She earned a bachelor's degree in biological engineering from Cornell University and a Ph.D. in biomedical engineering from the University of Virginia.

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Abstract

Many skills to be an effective engineering faculty member are not currently explicitly taught. The professional or soft skills, despite being valued by ABET, remain scarce within the engineering pedagogy. For example, few engineering faculty experience basic training on teaching or mentoring. However, engineers possess the technical and design skills of innovation, recognizing deficiencies, and striving for process optimization. These habits are relevant both in engineering labs and classrooms. As engineering faculty look to translate their technical knowledge and skills into other professional activities, they often become interested in education and social justice in the engineering classroom. In order to act on this interest, the faculty require training in social science methods. This training may come in the form of peer mentorship or instruction by faculty in engineering education research (EER) or social science experts. Mentoring relationships between faculty are understudied, especially in the context of faculty with expertise in different disciplines and variation among underrepresented groups. Further, we posit that faculty mentorship literature is outdated, and does not address the inclusion of underrepresented groups. Therefore, the goal of this project is to fill this gap in the literature by studying mentorship between engineering practitioner mentees and EER scholars. Understanding best practices of faculty-faculty peer mentorship can increase the impact of EER as a field, expand the network of EER scholars, and promote the adaptation of research-based instructional strategies in new settings. These enhancements all support the goal of positively impacting the overall engineering education experience of students. For these reasons, we propose that a study of mentorship between researching engineering practitioner mentees and EER scholar mentors can improve the quality of new EER research, inform the creation of materials to support EER faculty, and increase the number and diversity of researchers in EER. Through in-depth semi-structured qualitative interviews, the current project seeks to identify successful mentoring strategies between engineering faculty and EER scholars. Secondary outcomes include understanding the training and networking needs of EER mentees and the mentors’ opinions about the direction and deficiencies of EER as a field/In an effort to broaden the field of EER, the NSF Professional Formation of Engineers: Research Initiation in Engineering Formation (PFE: RIEF) program supports the initiation of engineering practitioners (RIEF award PIs) to EER through guidance by EER scholars (RIEF award co-PIs and consultants). Our sample for this mentorship study includes recipients of the RIEF award. Participants included mentors and mentees that were at various stages of their research projects. While we anticipate that our work will benefit the RIEF program, we envision that this work will positively affect the larger EER community. Study design and preliminary data are presented. These findings will leverage the development of workshops, networking, and training materials for faculty joining the EER community.

Mirabelli, J. F., & Barlow, A. J., & Ko, M., & Cross, K. J., & Jensen, K. (2020, June), Work in Progress: A Qualitative Study of Mentorship, Training Needs, and Community for New Engineering Education Researchers Paper presented at 2020 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access, Virtual On line . 10.18260/1-2--35601

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