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  1. Abstract

    A frequently cited strategy for fostering science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) instructional improvements is creating communities where faculty can share and learn evidence-based teaching practices. Despite research-documented benefits, little is known about why (and with whom) faculty engage in teaching-related conversations, including those fostered by initiative communities. We explored how STEM faculty engage in teaching-related conversations, via analysis of faculty interviews and discussion networks, to identify factors potentially influencing teaching-related conversations over the life of an initiative. Our results suggest aspects that might inhibit STEM faculty from engaging in teaching-related conversations, including: 1) faculty members’ autonomy with teaching practices; 2) faculty members’ varied interests in teaching improvements; 3) varied degrees of support to engage in teaching-related conversations; and 4) a lack of inclusive and non-judgmental spaces to talk about teaching. We suggest that those fostering STEM faculty communities consider working with others across the institution to map the instructional improvement opportunities faculty may already take part in and attend to areas lacking support. Initiative leaders and designers should also elicit and build off faculty members’ teaching-related knowledge and concerns. We further suggest making conversational spaces inclusive and safe, to help faculty honestly share teaching-related challenges and insights. We recommend creating and fostering spaces that bring faculty together across department boundaries. Our study echoes prior research by drawing attention to administrative support for instructional improvement initiatives, which can foster and sustain opportunities for faculty to talk about teaching and learn instructional improvements.

     
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  2. This paper explores the affordances and constraints of STEM faculty members’ instructional data-use practices and how they engage students (or not) in reflection around their own learning data. We found faculty used a wide variety of instructional data-use practices. We also found several constraints that influenced their instructional data-use practices, including perceived lack of time, standardized curriculum and assessments predetermined in scope and sequence, and a perceived lack of confidence and competence in their instructional data-use practices. Novel findings include faculty descriptions of instructional technology that afforded them access to immediate and nuanced instructional data. However, faculty described limited use of instructional data that engaged students in reflecting on their own learning data. We consider implications for faculty’s instructional data-use practices on departmental and institutional policies and procedures, professional development experts, and for faculty themselves. 
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  3. null (Ed.)
    Academic research has led to a plethora of innovations and entrepreneurial resources (I&E), allowing for enhancements to the greater good. Institutions of higher education have recognized the value of faculty (and student) I&E in mission statements and strategic plans, including developing students’ skills, thinking, and employability. Yet commensurate promotion and tenure processes and policies are not a certainty. We describe (1) mapping the unknown terrain of factors relevant to the evaluation of tenure-line faculty members’ I&E in United States promotion considerations, and related training for students via a survey of 99 diverse institutions, and (2) recommendations that inform an alliance of 67+ US institutions pursuing best practices for recognizing faculty I&E impact through reward structures. 
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  4. The motivation for this exploratory qualitative study is to understand what a culture of belonging may look like across six engineering education making spaces in institutions of higher education in the U.S. The research question for this study was: In what ways are the management, instructors, and staff operating engineering education making spaces influencing a culture of belonging (if any) for engineering students? We examined the transcripts of semi-structured interviews of 49 faculty members and 29 members of management/staff of making spaces, using thematic coding. From the data, we identified four themes that described the culture of belonging being created in these six engineering making spaces: (a) a ‘closed loop’ culture for inclusion, diversity, equity, and access; (b) a ‘transactional, dichotomous’ culture; (c) a ‘band-aid, masquerading’ culture; (d) a potential ‘boundary-crossing’ culture. Our primary conclusion was that created cultures in engineering making spaces are extensions of normative cultures found in traditional engineering classrooms. Additionally, while making spaces were attempting to change this culture in their physical infrastructures, it was deemed that the space leadership needs to expand hiring strategies, the nature of making activities, the ambient/physical appearance of the space, disciplines, and required expertise, to create a truly inclusive and equitable culture of belonging. 
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    Researcher innovation and leadership skills are fundamental to create implementable solutions to pressing societal- and market-based global problems. The Research to Innovation to Society (R2I2S) program is a transformative approach to graduate education, training students at the intersection of research, innovation, and leadership. We detail the design of the program, and a three-year exploratory investigation of its impact at one research university in the western United States. We found that, overall, students who participated in the program realized the value of thinking about their scientific research from a market-need perspective. Students perceived enhanced interest in and understanding of societal and market insights related to their own and other’s research. As well, students developed professional skills in communication, team collaboration, innovation, and entrepreneurial skills. We situate our findings in frameworks concerning the development of emerging professionals and argue for programming for STEM graduate students that extends the deep discipline knowledge-based model of professional development into one inclusive of leadership, communication, and innovation goals. 
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  7. null (Ed.)
    University-based makerspaces are receiving increasing attention as promising innovations that may contribute to the development of future engineers. Using a theory of social boundary spaces, we investigated whether the diverse experiences offered at university-based makerspaces may contribute to students’ learning and development of various “soft” or “21st century” skills that go beyond engineering-specific content knowledge. Through interviews with undergraduate student users at two university-based makerspaces in the United States we identified seven different types of boundary spaces (where multiple communities, and the individuals and activities affiliated with those communities, come together). We identified students engaging in the processes of identification, reflection, and coordination, which allowed them to make sense of, and navigate, the various boundary spaces they encountered in the makerspaces. These processes provided students with opportunities to engage with, and learn from, individuals and practices affiliated with various communities and disciplines. These opportunities can lead to students’ development of necessary skills to creatively and collaboratively address interdisciplinary socio-scientific problems. We suggest that university-based makerspaces can offer important developmental experiences for a diverse body of students that may be challenging for a single university department, program, or course to offer. Based on these findings, we recommend university programs and faculty intentionally integrate makerspace activities into undergraduate curricula to support students’ development of skills, knowledge, and practices relevant for engineering as well as 21st century skills more broadly. 
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  8. null (Ed.)
    In the last decade, postsecondary institutions have seen a notable increase in makerspaces on their campuses and the integration of these spaces into engineering programs. Yet research into the efficacy of university-based makerspaces is sparse. We contribute to this nascent body of research in reporting on findings from a phenomenological study on the perceptions of faculty, staff, and students concerning six university-based makerspaces in the United States. We discuss the findings using a framework of heterogeneous engineering (integration of the social and technical aspects of engineering practice). Various physical, climate, and programmatic features of makerspaces were read as affordances for students’ development of engineering practices and their continued participation and persistence in engineering. We discuss the potential of makerspaces in helping students develop knowledge, skills, and proclivities that may support their attending to especially wicked societal problems, such as issues of sustainability. We offer implications for makerspace administrators, engineering program leaders, faculty, and staff, as well as those developing and delivering professional development for faculty and staff, to better incorporate makerspaces into the university engineering curriculum. 
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  10. Introduction The increasing demands for a 21st century postsecondary education-- that incorporates the liberal arts, humanities, and social sciences--in contrast to the stasis of engineering curriculum, has catalyzed an engineering education “identity crisis” [1]-[9]. Without an understanding of the engineering norms, practices, and worldviews that engineering students and instructors carry from their courses, there is an increased risk that underrepresentation in engineering will continue to persist. This work aims to expand a previously developed study on engineering professional identity by exploring two unique engineering courses (serving as case studies) at a college of engineering at a western institution in the U.S. One course focused on helping engineering students develop technical communication skills while the other course aimed to help underrepresented women in engineering to understand about and plan for careers in engineering. Both cases are uniquely positioned to help engineering education researchers elucidate how professionally-focused and career-planning engineering courses could guide students’ perceptions about engineering. 
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