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Process safety has become a critical component of chemical engineering education. However, students may find it difficult to fully understand the ramifications of decisions they make during classroom exercises due to their lack of real world experience. Use of an immersive digital environment where students could role play as chemical engineering employees making process safety decisions could be one method of achieving this goal. Through this experience, students could observe the outcomes of their decisions in a safe, controlled environment without the disastrous real-world consequences that could come from making a mistake. This digital environment could have further features, such as time constraints or interactions with other characters, to make the experience feel more authentic than an in-class discussion or case study. In order to evaluate the efficacy of such a virtual environment, a portion of this work centered around the creation of the Engineering Process Safety Research Instrument (EPSRI). The instrument asks participants to evaluate process safety dilemmas and rank a set of considerations based on how influential they were in their decision-making process. The instrument then classifies each decision based on the stages of Kohlberg’s moral development theory, ranging from pre-conventional (i.e. more self-centered) thinking to post-conventional (i.e.more »
Work in Progress: Content Validation of an Engineering Process Safety Decision-making Instrument (EPSRI)Process safety is at the heart of operation of many chemical processing companies. However, the Chemical Safety Board (CSB) has still documented over 800 investigations of process safety failures since the year 2000. While not all of these incidents were severe, some did lead to employee injuries or death and environmental harm. As a result, chemical engineering companies are increasingly dedicated to process safety through training programs and detailed vigilance as part of their operations practice. AIChE and OSHA also offer courses in process safety to help support the industry. These efforts illustrate the paramount importance that chemical engineering graduates have an appreciation and understanding of process safety as they transition from their degree program into industrial positions. Previous studies have shown that despite difficulties due to course load constraints, process safety has been incorporated into chemical engineering curriculum through either the addition of new courses, incorporation of the content within existing classes, or a combination of the two methods. A review performed in Process Safety Progress suggested that a key step for departments moving forward is to perform an assessment of the process safety culture within their institution in order to determine how faculty and students view process safety.more »
Using a Critical Incident-centered Transition Theory Framework to Explore Engineering Education Research Faculty TransitionsThis research paper describes the development of a critical incident-centered analysis methodology based on Schlossberg’s Transition Theory to explore transitions experienced by engineering education researchers as they begin new faculty positions. Understanding the transition experiences of scholars aiming to impact change within engineering education is important for identifying approaches to support the sustained success of these scholars at their institutions and within engineering education more broadly. To date, efforts to better prepare future faculty for academic roles have primarily focused on preparing them to be independent researchers, to teach undergraduate courses, and to support their ability to advance their career. Research of early career faculty is similarly limited in scope, focusing mostly on new faculty at research-exclusive universities or on faculty member’s teaching and research practices. To address this gap in the literature, our research team is examining the role of institutional context on the agency of early career engineering education faculty as it relates to facilitating change. As part of this larger project, the focus of this paper is on the integration of critical incident techniques and Schlossberg’s Transition Theory to create “incident timelines” that explore the transition of early career engineering education researchers into new faculty positions. Ourmore »
Engineering faculty are faced with a variety of challenges ranging from teaching responsibilities, navigating research, and negotiating service demands. Due to the nature of the emerging field of engineering education and the emphasis on education within the ASEE community, there is a need to develop methods to facilitate cross-institutional mentoring. While many institutions offer formal mentoring in some capacity, there are limitations and challenges associated with these support structures. Some common challenges are scheduling a time to meet, navigating institutional power dynamics, and identifying individuals with shared interests and goals. This work proposes best practices for the development of an innovative peer mentoring structure that accounts for shared commitment to the advancement of engineering education. This paper will provide insight for engineering education faculty who are currently transitioning into or are planning to pursue a career in academia in the future. We will describe a framework to create a virtual community for peer mentoring. The value of a virtual peer mentoring community is that it can provide support that may not be available within one’s institution and it minimizes the negative impacts that may be associated with institutional power dynamics. The best practices that we will describe are informed bymore »