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Work in Progress: Student to Scholar: A Learning Community Model for Professional Skills Development

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2019 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Tampa, Florida

Publication Date

June 15, 2019

Start Date

June 15, 2019

End Date

June 19, 2019

Conference Session

ERM Technical Session 4: Professional Development in Undergraduate Programs

Tagged Division

Educational Research and Methods

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Paper Authors


Matthew Frenkel New York University Orcid 16x16

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Matthew Frenkel is the engineering librarian at NYU's Bern Dibner Library, and an adjunct faculty in Mechanical Engineering at NYU Tandon. He is a member of the ASEE Engineering librarian division (ELD). Matthew's background is in the experimental study of optical whispering gallery sensors, but his current research interests are in how undergraduate and graduate engineering students develop their professional skills.

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Jack Bringardner New York University Orcid 16x16

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Jack Bringardner is an Assistant Professor in the General Engineering Department and Civil Engineering Department at NYU Tandon School of Engineering. He teaches the First-Year Engineering Program course Introduction to Engineering and Design. He is also the Director of Vertically Integrated Projects at NYU. His Vertically Integrated Projects course is on Smart Cities Technology with a focus on transportation. His primary focus is developing curriculum, mentoring students, and engineering education research, particularly for project-based curriculum, first-year engineering, and transportation. He is active in the American Society for Engineering Education and is the Webmaster for the ASEE First-Year Programs Division and the First-Year Engineering Experience Conference. He is affiliated with the Transportation Engineering program in the NYU Civil and Urban Engineering Department, and is the Associate Director for Education and Workforce Development Initiatives for the Connected Cities for Smart Mobility Towards Resilient Transportation Tier I USDOT University Transportation Center. He is the advisor for NYU student chapter of the Institute for Transportation Engineers.

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Sheila Borges Rajguru New York University Orcid 16x16

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Dr. Sheila Borges Rajguru is the Assistant Director of the Center for K-12 STEM Education, NYU Tandon School of Engineering. As the Center's STEAM educator and researcher she collaborates with faculty to provide professional development to K-12 STEM teachers with a focus on social justice. She is currently Co-Principal Investigator on NSF-grants that provide robotics/entrepreneurship PD to science, math, and technology teachers. Her commitment to diversity and equity is paramount to her work in STEAM and activism. As a former Adjunct Professor at Teachers College, Columbia University and biomedical scientist in immunology Dr. Borges balances the world of what scientists do and brings that to STEAM education in order to provide culturally relevant professional development and curricula that aligns to the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS). Moreover, Dr. Borges is treasurer and co-chair of the Northeastern Association for Science Teacher Education (NE-ASTE) where faculty, researchers, and educators inform STEM teaching and learning and inform policy.

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This Work-In-Progress paper documents the creation of a co-curricular program, Student to Scholar (S2S), designed to assist students in their development of professional skills. A literature review, as well as an examination of local curriculum provides the evidence for the need of such a program. The S2S program has a tiered structure involving faculty, graduate students, and undergraduate students. Graduate students entering the S2S program take a for-credit course exposing them to a number of professional skills, and helping them to understand how to teach those skills to undergraduates. Once trained the graduate students become the leaders of cohorts, or learning communities, of undergraduate students. The graduate students will meet with their cohorts several times a semester to engage with them in professional skill workshops. The S2S program aims to prepare both graduate and undergraduate students with the professional skills they will need after graduation regardless of if they are going into industry or academia. A multitude of skills are covered in the program that address the knowledge, skills, and abilities necessary for the T-shaped engineer, including but not limited to: information literacy, leadership, teamwork, diversity, time and project management, reflection scientific/written/oral communication, writing, career services, entrepreneurial mindset, and public speaking. To reinforce students development of these skills the tiered structure of the program transitions students from learners to teachers. This transition occurs at every level, with graduate students senior undergraduates, seniors teaching juniors, and so on down to the first year. Currently, this study aims to help develop the needed institutional support to implement the full S2S program. As that work takes place a pilot program has begun to test student reception to a variety of professional skills workshops. The results of this testing are presented here. Through a partnership between the library and the Vertically Integrated Projects (VIP) program, 5 workshops will take place during both the fall 2018 and spring 2019 semesters. Faculty and staff with expertise in various professional skills have been brought in to lead students through these workshops. The students are surveyed at the end of each semester to evaluate each workshop and are asked if they are interested in participating in a focus group to provide additional feedback.

Frenkel, M., & Bringardner, J., & Borges Rajguru, S. (2019, June), Work in Progress: Student to Scholar: A Learning Community Model for Professional Skills Development Paper presented at 2019 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition , Tampa, Florida. 10.18260/1-2--33650

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