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  1. National Science Foundation (NSF) funded Engineering Research Centers (ERC) must complement their technical research with various education and outreach opportunities to: 1) improve and promote engineering education, both within the center and to the local community; 2) encourage and include the underrepresented populations to participate in Engineering activities; and 3) advocate communication and collaboration between industry and academia. ERCs ought to perform an adequate evaluation of their educational and outreach programs to ensure that beneficial goals are met. Each ERC has complete autonomy in conducting and reporting such evaluation. Evaluation tools used by individual ERCs are quite similar, but each ERC has designed their evaluation processes in isolation, including evaluation tools such as survey instruments, interview protocols, focus group protocols, and/or observation protocols. These isolated efforts resulted in redundant resources spent and lacking outcome comparability across ERCs. Leaders from three different ERCs led and initiated a collaborative effort to address the above issue by building a suite of common evaluation instruments that all current and future ERCs can use. This leading group consists of education directors and external evaluators from all three partners ERCs and engineering education researchers, who have worked together for two years. The project intends to addressmore »the four ERC program clusters: Broadening Participation in Engineering, Centers and Networks, Engineering Education, and Engineering Workforce Development. The instruments developed will pay attention to culture of inclusion, outreach activities, mentoring experience, and sustained interest in engineering. The project will deliver best practices in education program evaluation, which will not only support existing ERCs, but will also serve as immediate tools for brand new ERCs and similar large-scale research centers. Expanding the research beyond TEEC and sharing the developed instruments with NSF as well as other ERCs will also promote and encourage continual cross-ERC collaboration and research. Further, the joint evaluation will increase the evaluation consistency across all ERC education programs. Embedded instrumental feedback loops will lead to continual improvement to ERC education performance and support the growth of an inclusive and innovative engineering workforce. Four major deliveries are planned. First, develop a common quantitative assessment instrument, named Multi-ERC Instrument Inventory (MERCII). Second, develop a set of qualitative instruments to complement MERCII. Third, create a web-based evaluation platform for MERCII. Fourth, update the NSF ERC education program evaluation best practice manual. These deliveries together will become part of and supplemented by an ERC evaluator toolbox. This project strives to significantly impact how ERCs evaluate their educational and outreach programs. Single ERC based studies lack the sample size to truly test the validity of any evaluation instruments or measures. A common suite of instruments across ERCs would provide an opportunity for a large scale assessment study. The online platform will further provide an easy-to-use tool for all ERCs to facilitate evaluation, share data, and reporting impacts.« less
  2. The United Nations recognizes reducing the effects of global warming as a Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) (#13). This goal is interconnected and critical to improving health and education, reducing inequality, and spurring economic growth globally. Civil engineers will play a vital role in meeting this goal. To understand how civil engineering students perceive global warming, we surveyed a national sample of civil engineering students in their final semester of college (n = 524). We asked them (a) if they recognize both the technical and social issues associated with global warming and (b) when they believe global warming will start to have a severe effect on themselves, others, and the planet. Civil engineering students are significantly more likely to recognize the technical issues associated with global warming than social issues. In particular, the majority of students understand global warming is an immediate issue for the environment, engineering, health, and science, but less than half recognize global warming presents social justice, poverty, and national security issues. Moreover, civil engineering students hold an inverse relationship between spatial distance and the timing of the effects of global warming. The majority of students believe global warming is currently having a severe impact on plant andmore »animal species, the environment, people in developing countries, and the world's poor but do not recognize themselves in this group. Instead, civil engineering students predominantly believe the effects of global warming will start to have a serious impact on themselves, their family, and people in their community in 25 to 50 years. These results are troubling because if those beliefs translate into students waiting to address climate change for another two to five decades locks in more emissions and increases the chance of future and more severe global humanitarian crises. Educational interventions are needed to change these perspectives about time and impact.« less
  3. null (Ed.)
    This Special Session will engage engineering and computing education professionals in an interactive discussion of how to find and use the expertise of an advisory board when writing and executing funded projects. Our recent research of effective practices for supporting early career faculty in engineering education has shown that grant administration is an area that many faculty feel unprepared to manage. Beyond writing an excellent grant proposal, the skills required to carry out the planned grant activities are different from those addressed in existing professional development opportunities and are essential the success of a grant. This session will provide an interactive discussion and development of tools on one specific aspect of grant proposal writing and management—advisory boards. Advisory boards are an essential part of leveraging the expertise in the wider engineering education community, but there are various ways of strategically building and engaging advisory boards in grant work. The outcomes of this session will be a set of tools for faculty to use in building and leveraging the expertise of an advisory board in grant submissions.
  4. This research paper examines students’ perceptions of faculty and how it influences their identity trajectory. First-year students enter undergraduate engineering education with rich stories of how they came to choose engineering as a career pathway. Over time, the culture of engineering and network of peers, faculty members, and professionals shape students' stories and identity trajectories. How students “cast” faculty members in their story, often as helpful or hurtful actors, have implications for their identity trajectory, success, and, ultimately, retention in engineering. In this paper, we used two composite narratives constructed from longitudinal narrative interviews with 16 students to illustrate how students cast faculty into a role as either a support or an obstacle, based on their classroom experiences and interactions with them. This paper highlights the interactions that led these students to view faculty as helpful or harmful and explores the effects resulting: influence over student identity trajectory by fostering or hindering relationship building and networking, as well as influencing intellectual growth and personal ability beliefs.