skip to main content

Title: Resources for Faculty Development: Implicit Bias, Deficit Thinking, and Active Learning
The Improving Student Experiences to Increase Student Engagement (ISE-2) grant was awarded to Texas A&M University by the National Science Foundation, through EEC-Engineering Diversity Activities (Grant No. 1648016) with the goal of increasing student engagement and retention in the College of Engineering. The major component of the intervention was a faculty development program aimed to increase active learning, improve classroom climates, and decrease implicit bias and deficit thinking. Faculty teaching first- and second-year Engineering courses participated in the ISE-2 faculty development program, with the first cohort (n = 10) in Summer 2017 and the second cohort (n = 5) in Summer 2018. This paper describes the content of each of these components of the faculty development program and provides access to a Google drive (still in development at the time of the abstract) with resources for others to use. The faculty development program consisted of three workshops, a series of coffee hour conversations, and two deliverables from the participants (a teaching plan at the conclusion of the summer training and a final reflection a year following the training). Anchoring the program was a framework for teaching in a diverse classroom (Adams & Love, 2009). Workshop 1 (early May) consisted of an overview of the ISE-2 program. During the first workshop, faculty were introduced to social cognitive biases and the behaviors that result from these biases. During this workshop, the ISE-2 team shared findings from a climate study related to the classroom experiences of students at the College of Engineering. Workshop 2 (mid-May) focused on how undergraduate students learn, provided evidence for the effectiveness of active learning strategies, and exposed faculty participants to active learning strategies. Workshop 3 (early August) integrated the material from the first two workshops as faculty participants prepared to apply the material to their own teaching. Prior to each workshop, the faculty participants were provided with pre-workshop readings to familiarize them with some of the content matter. Coffee hour conversations—informal discussions between the participating faculty and the ISE-2 team centered around a teaching topic selected by participants—were conducted on a near-weekly basis between the second and third workshops. Handouts and worksheets were provided at each coffee hour and served to guide the coffee hour discussions. After the last workshop but before the Fall semester, faculty participants created a teaching plan to incorporate what they learned in the ISE-2 program into their own teaching. At the end of the academic year, the faculty participants are tasked with completing a final reflection on how ISE-2 has affected their teaching in the previous academic year. In this paper, we will report the content of each of the three workshops and explain how these workshops are related to the overarching goals of the ISE-2 program. Then, we will discuss how each of the coffee hour conversation topics complement the material covered in the workshops. Lastly, we will explore the role of the teaching plans and final reflections in changing instructional practices for faculty.  more » « less
Award ID(s):
Author(s) / Creator(s):
; ; ; ; ;
Date Published:
Journal Name:
2019 ASEE Annual Conference & Expositio
Medium: X
Sponsoring Org:
National Science Foundation
More Like this
  1. “Improving Student Experiences to Increase Student Engagement” (ISE-2) was awarded to Texas A&M University by the National Science Foundation, through EEC-Engineering Diversity Activities. ISE-2 is a faculty development program focused on reducing implicit bias and increasing active learning, with the goals of (a) increasing student engagement, success, and retention, and (b) ultimately seeing greater increases for underrepresented minority (URM), women, and first-generation students. Ten faculty teaching first- and second-year Engineering courses participated in the first cohort of ISE-2 in Summer 2017, which consisted of three workshops and six informal “coffee conversations”. At the conclusion of the workshops, each faculty was tasked with completing a teaching plan for the Fall 2017 semester, to incorporate the strategies and knowledge from ISE-2 into the courses they plan to teach. Focus groups with the ISE-2 faculty were conducted in Fall 2017 to obtain feedback about the faculty development program. Classroom observations were conducted using environmental scans and the Classroom Observation Protocol for Undergraduate STEM (COPUS)1 to assess the classroom climate of faculty in the experimental (ISE-2) and control groups. Student surveys were also administered to students who were taught by ISE-2 faculty and control group faculty to assess student engagement and classroom climate. While the project is still ongoing, feedback from faculty regarding ISE-2 have been positive. 
    more » « less
  2. In this proposal, we will share some initial findings about how teacher and student engagement in cogenerative dialogues influenced the development of the Culturally Relevant Pedagogical Guidelines for Computational Thinking and Computer Science (CRPG-CSCT). The CRPG-CSCT’s purpose is to provide computer science teachers with tools to enhance their instruction by accurately reflecting students’ diverse cultural resources in the classroom. Additionally, the CRPG-CSCT will provide guidance to non-computer science teachers on how to facilitate the integration of computational thinking skills to a broad spectrum of classes in the arts, humanities, sciences, social sciences, and mathematics. Our initial findings shared here are part of a larger NSF-funded research project (Award No. 2122367) which aims to better understand the barriers to entry and challenges for success faced by underrepresented secondary school students in computer science, through direct engagement with the students themselves. Throughout the 2022-23 academic year, the researchers have been working with a small team of secondary school teachers, students, and instructional designers, as well as university faculty in computer science, secondary education, and sociology to develop the CRPG-CSCT. The CRPG-CSCT is rooted in the tenets of culturally relevant pedagogy (Ladson-Billings, 1995) and borrows from Muhammad’s (2020) work in Cultivating Genius: An Equity Framework for Culturally and Historically Responsive Literacy. The CRPG-CCT is being developed over six day-long workshops held throughout the academic year. At the time of this submission, five of the six workshops had been completed. Each workshop utilized cogenerative dialogues (cogens) as the primary tool for organizing and sustaining participants’ engagement. Through cogens, participants more deeply learn about students’ cultural capital and the value of utilizing that capital within the classroom (Roth, Lawless, & Tobin, 2000). The success of cogens relies on following specific protocols (Emdin, 2016), such as listening attentively, ensuring there are equal opportunities for all participants to share, and affirming the experiences of other participants. The goal of a cogen is to reach a collective decision, based on the dialogue, that will positively impact students by explicitly addressing barriers to their engagement in the classroom. During each workshop, one member of the research team and one undergraduate research assistant observed the interactions among cogen participants and documented these in the form of ethnographic field notes. Another undergraduate research assistant took detailed notes during the workshop to record the content of small and large group discussions, presentations, and questions/responses throughout the workshops. A grounded theory approach was used to analyze the field notes. Additionally, at the conclusion of each workshop, participants completed a Cogen Feedback Survey (CFS) to gather additional information. The CFS were analyzed through open thematic coding, memos, and code frequencies. Our preliminary results demonstrate high levels of engagement from teacher and student participants during the workshops. Students identified that the cogen structure allowed them to participate comfortably, openly, and honestly. Further, students described feeling valued and heard. Students’ ideas and experiences were frequently affirmed, which served as an important step toward dismantling traditional teacher-student boundaries that might otherwise prevent them from sharing freely. Another result from the use of cogens was the shared experience of participants comprehending views from the other group’s perspective in the classroom. Students appreciated the opportunity to learn from teachers about their struggles in keeping students engaged. Teachers appreciated the opportunity to better understand students’ schooling experiences and how these may affirm or deny aspects of their identity. Finally, all participants shared meaningful suggestions and strategies for future workshops and for the collective betterment of the group. Initial findings shared here are important for several reasons. First, our findings suggest that cogens are an effective approach for fostering participants’ commitment to creating the conditions for students’ success in the classroom. Within the context of the workshops, cogens provided teachers, students, and faculty with opportunities to engage in authentic conversations for addressing the recruitment and retention problems in computer science for underrepresented students. These conversations often resulted in the development of tangible pedagogical approaches, examples, metaphors, and other strategies to directly address the recruitment and retention of underrepresented students in computer science. Finally, while we are still developing the CRPG-CSCT, cogens provided us with the opportunity to ensure the voices of teachers and students are well represented in and central to the document. 
    more » « less
  3. “Improving Student Experiences to Increase Student Engagement” (ISE-2) was funded by the National Science Foundation, through EEC-Engineering Diversity Activities, at Texas A&M University. The grant activity focuses on a faculty development program for faculty who teach first- and second-year engineering courses. As part of the evaluation plan, classroom observations were conducted by the ISE-2 team to assess the classroom climate and teaching practices of ISE-2 faculty participants and non-participant faculty peers. Since Spring 2017, the team has conducted 78 classroom observations. The ISE-2 evaluation team had expert classroom observers train novice observers. The observer training sessions became the basis of this DIY Classroom Observation Toolkit, which is available for people who are interested in conducting systematic classroom observations but have limited experience with qualitative coding and observational research. The goal of the Toolkit is for these individuals to teach themselves using the Toolkit components: a) an annotated bibliography introducing articles that are helpful to understanding and conducting classroom observations, b) training videos teaching viewers to conduct classroom observations using a protocol, and c) a series of sample classroom videos and validation keys for each of the sample videos. This paper serves as a user manual for the Toolkit, which can be accessed at 
    more » « less
  4. This research paper examines retaining traditionally underrepresented minorities (URM) in STEM fields. The retention of URM students in STEM fields is a current area of focus for engineering education research. After an extensive literature review and examination of best practices in retaining the targeted group, a cohort-based, professional development program with a summer bridge component was developed at a large land grant institution in the Mid-Atlantic region. One programmatic goal was to increase retention of underrepresented students in the engineering college which, ultimately, is expected to increase diversity in the engineering workforce. The program has a strong focus on cohort building, teamwork, mentorship, and developing an engineering identity. Students participate in a week-long summer bridge component prior to the start of their first semester. During their first year, students take a class as a cohort each semester, participate in an industrial site visit, and interact with faculty mentors. Since 2016 the program has been funded by a National Science Foundation S-STEM grant, which provides scholarships to eligible program participants. Scholarships start at $4,500 during year one, and are renewable for up to five years, with an incremental increase of $1000 annually for years one through four. Even with the professional development program providing support and scholarships alleviating the financial burden of higher education, students are still leaving engineering. The 2016-2017 cohort consisted of five scholarship recipients, of which three remained in engineering as of fall 2018, the beginning of their third year. The 2017-2018 cohort consisted of seven scholarship recipients, of which five remained in engineering as of fall 2018, their second year. While the numbers of this scholarship group are small, their retention rate is alarmingly below the engineering college retention rate. Why? This paper presents the results of additional investigations of the overall program cohorts (not only the scholarship recipients) and their non-program peers with the aim of determining predictors of retention in the targeted demographic. Student responses to three survey instruments: GRIT, MSLQ, and LAESE were analyzed to determine why students were leaving engineering, even though the program they participated in was strongly rooted in retention based literature. Student responses on program exit surveys were also analyzed to determine non-programmatic elements that may cause students to leave engineering. Results of this research is presented along with “lessons learned” and suggested actions to increase retention among the targeted population. 
    more » « less
  5. A 2019 report from the National Academies on Minority Serving Institutions (MSIs) concluded that MSIs need to change their culture to successfully serve students with marginalized racial and/or ethnic identities. The report recommends institutional responsiveness to meet students “where they are,” metaphorically, creating supportive campus environments and providing tailored academic and social support structures. In recent years, the faculty, staff, and administrators at California State University, Los Angeles have made significant efforts to enhance student success through multiple initiatives including a summer bridge program, first-year in engineering program, etc. However, it has become clear that more profound changes are needed to create a culture that meets students “where they are.” In 2020, we were awarded NSF support for Eco-STEM, an initiative designed to change a system that demands "college-ready" students into one that is "student-ready." Aimed at shifting the deficit mindset prevailing in engineering education, the Eco-STEM project embraces an asset-based ecosystem model that thinks of education as cultivation, and ideas as seeds we are planting, rather than a system of standards and quality checks. This significant paradigm and culture transformation is accomplished through: 1) The Eco-STEM Faculty Fellows’ Community of Practice (CoP), which employs critically reflective dialogue[ ][ ] to enhance the learning environment using asset-based learner-centered instructional approaches; 2) A Leadership CoP with department chairs and program directors that guides cultural change at the department/program level; 3) A Facilitators’ CoP that prepares facilitators to lead, sustain, update, and expand the Faculty and Leadership CoPs; 4) Reform of the teaching evaluation system to sustain the cultural changes. This paper presents the progress and preliminary findings of the Eco-STEM project. During the first project year, the project team formulated the curriculum for the Faculty CoP with a focus on inclusive pedagogy, community cultural wealth, and community building, developed a classroom peer observation tool to provide formative data for teaching reflection, and designed research inquiry tools. The latter investigates the following research questions: 1) To what extent do the Eco-STEM CoPs effectively shift the mental models of participants from a factory-like model to an ecosystem model of education? 2) To what extent does this shift support an emphasis on the assets of our students, faculty, and staff members and, in turn, allow for enhanced motivation, excellence and success? 3) To what extent do new faculty assessment tools designed to provide feedback that reflects ecosystem-centric principles and values allow for individuals within the system to thrive? In Fall 2021, the first cohort of Eco-STEM Faculty Fellows were recruited, and rich conversations and in-depth reflections in our CoP meetings indicated Fellows’ positive responses to both the CoP curriculum and facilitation practices. This paper offers a work-in-progress introduction to the Eco-STEM project, including the Faculty CoP, the classroom peer observation tool, and the proposed research instruments. We hope this work will cultivate broader conversations within the engineering education research community about cultural change in engineering education and methods towards its implementation. 
    more » « less