skip to main content

Attention:

The NSF Public Access Repository (NSF-PAR) system and access will be unavailable from 5:00 PM ET until 11:00 PM ET on Friday, June 21 due to maintenance. We apologize for the inconvenience.


This content will become publicly available on October 18, 2024

Title: Improving Undergraduate Research Mentoring Practices: Faculty Development to Support Non-Traditional Students in Computing Research
Utilizing the Affinity Research Group (ARG) model, the Computing Alliance of Hispanic Serving Institutions (CAHSI) has provided training for faculty and student research experiences for decades. ARG, a CAHSI signature practice, focuses on deliberate, structured faculty and student research, with accompanying technical, communication, and professional skills development. In the latest iterations that have spanned the pandemic and its recovery, CAHSI has iterated on a virtual training and support network for faculty and students interested in broadening the participation of Hispanic undergraduate students in computer science to increase the number of Hispanics who move on to graduate studies in the field. This work-in-progress paper analyzes shifting support structures during a multi-year effort to promote undergraduate research development using the Affinity Research Group (ARG) model. As CAHSI grows to include research-intensive universities that have recently reached the 25% Hispanic enrollment threshold, the faculty mentor training has evolved to emphasize a growth mindset and asset-based frameworks for working with undergraduate students in research, particularly important in computing departments where graduate students are more commonly engaged in research. The paper describes areas of need as the populations of faculty and students shift. It addresses the questions: R1) How do faculty engaged in the LREU shift perspectives regarding a) student selection for research, b) pedagogical purposes of research for student development, and c) their ability to implement ARG? R2) To what extent do designed elements of the LREU professional development inform faculty practice and faculty perspectives regarding undergraduate research?  more » « less
Award ID(s):
2137791
NSF-PAR ID:
10509416
Author(s) / Creator(s):
; ;
Publisher / Repository:
IEEE
Date Published:
Journal Name:
2023 IEEE Frontiers in Education Conference (FIE)
Page Range / eLocation ID:
1 to 5
Subject(s) / Keyword(s):
["faculty professional development","research experiences for undergraduates","cognitive apprenticeship","Hispanic Serving Institutions"]
Format(s):
Medium: X
Location:
College Station, TX, USA
Sponsoring Org:
National Science Foundation
More Like this
  1. This paper presents an innovative approach, applicable to all research-based fields, that identifies and broadly engages future computer science researchers. The Computing Alliance of Hispanic Serving Institutions (CAHSI) piloted a national virtual Research Experience for Undergraduates (vREU) during the summer of 2020. Funded by an NSF grant, the goal of the program was to ensure that students, in particular those with financial need, had opportunities to engage in research and gain critical skills while advancing their knowledge and financial resources to complete their undergraduate degrees and possibly move to advanced studies. The vREU pilot provided undergraduate research experiences for 51 students and 21 faculty drawn from 14 colleges and universities. The Affinity Research Group (ARG) model, based on a cooperative learning model, was used to guide faculty mentors throughout the eight-week vREU. ARG is a CAHSI signature practice with a focus on deliberate, structured faculty and student research, technical, communication, and professional skills development. At weekly meetings, faculty were provided resources and discussed a specific skill to support students’ research experience and development, which faculty put into immediate practice with their students. Evaluation findings include no statistical difference in student development between the face-to-face and virtual models with faculty and the benefit of training as an opportunity for faculty professional growth and impact. This faculty development model allows for rapid dissemination of the ARG model through practice and application with weekly faculty cohort meetings, coaching, and reflection. 
    more » « less
  2. This paper presents an innovative approach, applicable to all research-based fields, that identifies and broadly engages future computer science researchers. The Computing Alliance of Hispanic Serving Institutions (CAHSI) piloted a national virtual Research Experience for Undergraduates (vREU) during the summer of 2020. Funded by an NSF grant, the goal of the program was to ensure that students, in particular those with financial need, had opportunities to engage in research and gain critical skills while advancing their knowledge and financial resources to complete their undergraduate degrees and possibly move to advanced studies. The vREU pilot provided undergraduate research experiences for 51 students and 21 faculty drawn from 14 colleges and universities. The Affinity Research Group (ARG) model, based on a cooperative learning model, was used to guide faculty mentors throughout the eight-week vREU. ARG is a CAHSI signature practice with a focus on deliberate, structured faculty and student research, technical, communication, and professional skills development. At weekly meetings, faculty were provided resources and discussed a specific skill to support students’ research experience and development, which faculty put into immediate practice with their students. Evaluation findings include no statistical difference in student development between the face-to-face and virtual models with faculty and the benefit of training as an opportunity for faculty professional growth and impact. This faculty development model allows for rapid dissemination of the ARG model through practice and application with weekly faculty cohort meetings, coaching, and reflection. 
    more » « less
  3. Who and by what means do we ensure that engineering education evolves to meet the ever changing needs of our society? This and other papers presented by our research team at this conference offer our initial set of findings from an NSF sponsored collaborative study on engineering education reform. Organized around the notion of higher education governance and the practice of educational reform, our open-ended study is based on conducting semi-structured interviews at over three dozen universities and engineering professional societies and organizations, along with a handful of scholars engaged in engineering education research. Organized as a multi-site, multi-scale study, our goal is to document differences in perspectives and interest the exist across organizational levels and institutions, and to describe the coordination that occurs (or fails to occur) in engineering education given the distributed structure of the engineering profession. This paper offers for all engineering educators and administrators a qualitative and retrospective analysis of ABET EC 2000 and its implementation. The paper opens with a historical background on the Engineers Council for Professional Development (ECPD) and engineering accreditation; the rise of quantitative standards during the 1950s as a result of the push to implement an engineering science curriculum appropriate to the Cold War era; EC 2000 and its call for greater emphasis on professional skill sets amidst concerns about US manufacturing productivity and national competitiveness; the development of outcomes assessment and its implementation; and the successive negotiations about assessment practice and the training of both of program evaluators and assessment coordinators for the degree programs undergoing evaluation. It was these negotiations and the evolving practice of assessment that resulted in the latest set of changes in ABET engineering accreditation criteria (“1-7” versus “a-k”). To provide an insight into the origins of EC 2000, the “Gang of Six,” consisting of a group of individuals loyal to ABET who used the pressure exerted by external organizations, along with a shared rhetoric of national competitiveness to forge a common vision organized around the expanded emphasis on professional skill sets. It was also significant that the Gang of Six was aware of the fact that the regional accreditation agencies were already contemplating a shift towards outcomes assessment; several also had a background in industrial engineering. However, this resulted in an assessment protocol for EC 2000 that remained ambiguous about whether the stated learning outcomes (Criterion 3) was something faculty had to demonstrate for all of their students, or whether EC 2000’s main emphasis was continuous improvement. When it proved difficult to demonstrate learning outcomes on the part of all students, ABET itself began to place greater emphasis on total quality management and continuous process improvement (TQM/CPI). This gave institutions an opening to begin using increasingly limited and proximate measures for the “a-k” student outcomes as evidence of effort and improvement. In what social scientific terms would be described as “tactical” resistance to perceived oppressive structures, this enabled ABET coordinators and the faculty in charge of degree programs, many of whom had their own internal improvement processes, to begin referring to the a-k criteria as “difficult to achieve” and “ambiguous,” which they sometimes were. Inconsistencies in evaluation outcomes enabled those most discontented with the a-k student outcomes to use ABET’s own organizational processes to drive the latest revisions to EAC accreditation criteria, although the organization’s own process for member and stakeholder input ultimately restored much of the professional skill sets found in the original EC 2000 criteria. Other refinements were also made to the standard, including a new emphasis on diversity. This said, many within our interview population believe that EC 2000 had already achieved much of the changes it set out to achieve, especially with regards to broader professional skills such as communication, teamwork, and design. Regular faculty review of curricula is now also a more routine part of the engineering education landscape. While programs vary in their engagement with ABET, there are many who are skeptical about whether the new criteria will produce further improvements to their programs, with many arguing that their own internal processes are now the primary drivers for change. 
    more » « less
  4. In 2016 the Hispanic enrollment in computer science and computer engineering for both undergraduate and graduate students at Texas A&M University initially sat at 17.9% and has decreased to approximately 11.76% in 2021, with undergraduate Hispanic enrollment in computing reducing from almost 22% down to under 15% in that same time frame[1]. This significant shift in Hispanic student representation spurred the development of this organization, Aggie Hispanics In Computing (AHIC), to create a computing community and provide support focused around the shared experiences of being part of a minority group at a predominately white institution (PWI) in an even less diverse discipline. This organization is not a lone member of Hispanic serving organizations at Texas A&M University, overall considered a Hispanic serving institution (HSI), rather it was designed to focus particularly on serving Hispanic students in the computer science and computer engineering disciplines at Texas A&M University. Since the organization was founded during the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, AHIC has grown significantly in membership, financial support, and goal attainment focused on increasing representation of Hispanic students within the computing disciplines at Texas A&M University. The organization has grown from 6 to over 50 members from various disciplines in the past year alone. AHIC has also received financial support from a multitude of companies such as General Motors, Chevron, and others. The overall goal of AHIC is to create a supportive community for minorities in various computing fields. This community has been grown through hosting supporting events that provide information and resources about university research, professional career opportunities, workshops, and mentorship programs. AHIC has also initiated several long-term initiatives such as peer teaching for introductory computer science courses in the past year. We have focused on company panels and alumni coaching in which company representatives and alumni provide career advice for currently enrolled students. The organization has also hosted seminars and workshops educating freshmen on new computing skills and opportunities that a computer science and computer engineering degree can provide. This paper will discuss the need recognized for a minority focused and serving computing organization and how the formation of Aggie Hispanics In Computing provides a community that is promising for the future of minorities in the computing field at Texas A&M University. 
    more » « less
  5. Boesdorfer, Sara B. (Ed.)
    Emerging revelations from education research have underscored strategies which effectively promote student success in undergraduate science courses. This chapter describes a pilot professional development for science educators in higher education aimed at implementing these strategies at two-year Hispanic-serving institutions (2Y-HSIs). Science faculty members from 2Y-HSIs and graduate students at a research university participated jointly in the collaborative professional development activities described herein. The design of this unique program that comingles in-service and pre-service educators was informed by prior research: Enduring change in science education necessitates more than simply informing educators about effective instructional approaches. Following a comprehensive three-day workshop focused on restructuring college science courses via backward design, 2Y-HSI faculty members and graduate student partners worked together over the next year to devise, implement, and assess the impact of interventions intended to promote active learning in classrooms at the 2Y-HSIs. In support of this effort, the graduate students received additional training on how to conduct classroom observations and provide effective feedback to the 2Y-HSI faculty. A community of practice was further cultivated via regular project meetings that enabled participants to share progress, exchange ideas, and solicit advice and guidance. A culminating session, during which the 2Y-HSI faculty member-graduate student teams presented posters of their ongoing work, offered a capstone experience. In this chapter, we invite faculty members and administrators from two-year colleges (2YCs), especially 2Y-HSIs, and research universities to consider the potential of such collaborative professional development efforts. 
    more » « less