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Title: Preparation of Female and Minority PhD and Post-Docs for Careers in Engineering Academia (Experience)
Improving undergraduate STEM teaching for diverse students is dependent to some extent on increasing the representation of Black, Indigenous and People of Color (BIPOC) and women in the ranks of faculty in engineering departments. However, new faculty members, whether they had postdoctoral training or not, report that they were not adequately prepared for academia. To address this need, a professional development program was developed for underrepresented doctoral and postdoctoral students, which focused on various strategies to be successful in teaching, research and service aspects of academic positions. The program included an intensive two-week summer session, with follow-up mentoring during the academic year, and was conducted from 2017 to 2020 with three cohorts of fellows recruited from across the country. To evaluate the impact of the program on the participants’ perceptions of their preparation for academic careers, a follow up survey was sent in May 2021 to the three former cohorts of participants (n=61), and responses were received from 37 of them. The survey asked participants to reflect on areas that they felt most prepared for in their academic positions, and areas that they felt least prepared for. The survey also asked participants to discuss additional supports they would have liked to more » have been provided with to better prepare them given their current positions (academic, industry, etc.). Results from the survey indicated that 92% of participants found the professional development program prepared them for the responsibilities and expectations to succeed in academic positions. Over 90% agreed that the program prepared them for the application process for a tenure track search, and 89% agreed the program prepared them for the primary components of the startup package. In addition, participants reported that the program increased their preparation in developing teaching philosophy (100%), developing learning outcomes (97%), and using active learning strategies during teaching (91%). The majority agreed that the program helped prepare them to teach students with various cultural backgrounds, and to develop and use assessment strategies. Participants were also asked to discuss the impact of the Covid 19 pandemic on their career trajectory, and most of them reported being somewhat impacted (65%) to extremely impacted (29%). Participants reported few or no job openings, cancelations of interviews, delays in research which impacted the rate of completing degrees, and publications, which affected the participants’ application competitiveness. Furthermore, working from home and balancing family and academic responsibilities affected their productivity. Based on the survey results, funds were secured to provide an additional day of professional training to cover any items not addressed during summer training, as well as any issues, challenges, or concerns they might have encountered while fulfilling their academic position. Thirty-three ACADEME fellows have indicated that they will participate in the new professional development, held in May 2022. Results from this analysis, and preliminary topics and outcomes of the supplemental activities are discussed. The findings contribute to the literature by increasing knowledge of specific challenges that new faculty encounter and can inform future efforts to support minorities and women in engineering doctoral programs. « less
Authors:
; ; ; ; ; ;
Award ID(s):
1734822
Publication Date:
NSF-PAR ID:
10337224
Journal Name:
ASEE annual conference
ISSN:
0190-1052
Sponsoring Org:
National Science Foundation
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