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Title: Adoption of Pedagogical Innovations: Resource Networks of Engineering Education Guilds
This Full Research paper uses resource network analysis to explore what resources faculty use when they make changes to their pedagogy, and how an engineering education “guild” is situated among those resources. The process of influencing pedagogical change can be understood as lying along a spectrum. On one end of the spectrum is the dissemination model, where research is simply made available and instructors are expected to seek out new tools. On the other end is the propagation model, where researchers, developers, and instructors work as one cohesive team to get innovative tools into classrooms. While each of these models and the instructor resources associated with them have been separately studied and defined, approaches on the spectrum between them remain understudied. Engineering education guilds employ an approach that falls along the dissemination-propagation spectrum; they use both dissemination and propagation techniques to influence pedagogical changes. Despite lack of formal research on the subject, engineering education “guilds” have become an increasinglypopular vehicle for pedagogical change in engineering education classrooms. One such engineering education guild is the Kern Entrepreneurial Engineering Network (KEEN), which is focused on integrating entrepreneurial mindset (EM) into engineering curricula. By constructing resource networks for educators who have been exposed to KEEN, we aim to understand the role of KEEN among the myriad resources used by engineering educators when they integrate EM-related content into their classrooms. Results suggest that engineering education guilds are central to the resource networks of faculty looking to innovate their pedagogy, with the most popular resources all falling under the guild’s umbrella. These resources are also strongly interconnected, especially during the integration process. However, the resources networks of those who saw successful, complete, sustained adoption reached beyond the guild’s umbrella, forging connections with a variety of other materials from different sources.  more » « less
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Frontiers in education
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National Science Foundation
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  1. Background: The National Science Foundation (NSF) and other organizations have spent millions of dollars each year supporting well-designed educational innovations that positively impact the undergraduate engineering students who encounter them. However, many of these pedagogical innovations never experience widespread adoption. To further the ability of innovation developers to advance engineering education practice and achieve sustained adoption of their innovations, this paper explores how one community-based model, engineering education guilds, fosters propagation across institutions and individuals. Engineering education guilds seek to work at the forefront of educational innovation by creating networks of instructor change-agents who design and implement a particular innovation in their own context. The guilds of interest are the Consortium to Promote Reflection in Engineering Education (CPREE) and the Kern Entrepreneurial Engineering Network (KEEN). With these guilds as exemplars, this study’s purpose is (1) to articulate how the approaches of engineering education guilds align with existing literature on supporting sustained adoption of educational innovations and (2) to identify how these approaches can advance the science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) education community’s discussion of propagation practices through the use of the Designing for Sustained Adoption Assessment Instrument (DSAAI). The DSAAI is a conceptual framework based on research in sustained adoption of pedagogical innovations. It has previously been used in the form of a rubric to analyze dissemination and propagation plans of NSF educational grant recipients and was shown to predict the effectiveness of those propagation plans. Results: Through semi-structured interviews with two leaders from each guild, we observed strong alignment between the structures of CRPEE and KEEN and evidence-based sustained adoption characteristics. For example, both guilds identified their intended audience early in their formation, developed and implemented extensive plans for engaging and supporting potential adopters, and accounted for the complexity of the higher education landscape and their innovations in their propagation plans. Conclusions: Our results suggest that guilds could provide another approach to innovation, as their structures can be aligned with evidence-based methods for propagating pedagogical innovations. Additionally, while the DSAAI captures many of the characteristics of a welld-esigned propagation strategy, there are additional components that emerged as successful strategies used by the CPREE and KEEN guild leaders. These strategies, including having mutual accountability among adopters and connecting adoption of innovations to faculty reward structures in the form of recognition and funding should be considered as educational innovators work to encourage adoption of their innovations. 
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