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  1. This theory paper describes the development and use of a framework for supporting early career faculty development, especially in competitive National Science Foundation (NSF) CAREER proposals. Engineering Education Research (EER) has developed into a field of expertise and a career pathway over the past three decades. In response to numerous reports in the 1990s and early 2000s, multiple EER graduate programs were established in the mid-2000s and a growing number continue to emerge to educate and train the next generation of EER faculty and policy makers. Historically, many came to EER as individuals trained in other disciplines, but with an interest in improving teaching and learning. This approach created an interdisciplinary space where many could learn the norms, practices, and language of EER, as they became scholars. This history combined with the emergence of EER as a discipline with academic recognition; specific knowledge, frameworks, methodologies, and ways of conducting research; and particular emphasis and goals, creates a tension for building capacity to continue to develop EER and also include engineering education researchers who have not completed PhDs in an engineering education program. If EER is to continue to develop and emerge as a strong and robust discipline with high qualitymore »engineering education research, support mechanisms must be developed to both recognize outstanding EER scholars and develop the next generation of researchers in the field. The Five I’s framework comes from a larger project on supporting early career EER faculty in developing NSF CAREER proposals. Arguably, a NSF CAREER award is significant external recognition of EER that signals central membership in the community. The Five I’s were developed using collaborative inquiry, a tool and process to inform practice, with 19 EER CAREER awardees during a retreat in March 2019. The Five I’s include: Ideas, Integration, Impact, Identity, and Infrastructure. Ideas is researchers’ innovative and potentially transformative ideas that can make a significant contribution to EER. All NSF proposals are evaluated using the criteria of intellectual merit and broader impacts, and ideas aligned with these goals are essential for funding success. The integration of research and education is a specific additional consideration of CAREER proposals. Both education and research must inform one another in the proposal process. Demonstrating the impact of research is essential to convey why research should be funded. This impact is essential to address as it directly relates to the NSF criteria of broader impacts as well as why an individual is positioned to carry out that impact. This positioning is tied to identity or the particular research expertise from which a faculty member will be a leader in the field. Finally, infrastructure includes the people and physical resources from which a faculty member must draw to be successful. This framework has proven useful in helping early career faculty evaluate their readiness to apply for an NSF CAREER award or highlight the particular areas of their development that could be improved for future success.« less
  2. When instructors change their classroom practices —shifting from lecture to active learning for example—there is a direct impact on student learning that is relatively straightforward to measure. However, every course is also part a curriculum that is developed by the faculty, often in line with a college or university’s present vision, and shaped by national values and policies surrounding engineering education and higher education. These factors have indirect but equally significant impacts on student learning, and constitute the larger ecosystem in which student learning takes place. These indirect effects are more difficult, and likely impossible, to fully understand. If the higher education system in the United States was more centrally governed by an educational ministry, as is found in Europe and elsewhere, it might be easier to understand and control the impact of these indirect factors. However, the highly decentralized system of educational governance within the U.S., and the great diversity of schools that are both the product and reasons for this ecosystem, have given rise to an extremely heterogeneous system. In the United States accreditation serves as one of the few, central mechanisms for shaping learning; it carries the weight of the state to the extent that it contributesmore »to job and federal loan availability as well as licensure in selected fields. This paper examines the historic and presentday impact of accreditation on engineering education in the United States.« less
  3. This work-in-progress paper presents preliminary findings on how the education of engineering ethics is justified by academic administrators and policymakers drawing from the data collected in a multi-institutional project called “The Distributed System of Governance in Engineering Education”. The project seeks to understand the practice of engineering education reform using ethnomethodological data collected from oral interviews at a variety of academic institutions and other organizations in engineering education. Investigations of effective strategies for ethical formation of engineering students have been continuously pursued in the engineering education community. Review of the literature on this topic results in not only identifying diverse approaches and conceptions of engineering ethics, but also a set of diverse rationales and contexts of justification for development and implementation of programs on engineering ethics. The students’ attitude towards ethical development is shaped by how the subject is delivered, e.g., use of “best practices” or conceptual clarity in the notion of ethics offered to them, as well as why it is taught. Institutions send a signal to students, even if they do not intend to, about the importance of ethics in the engineering profession by how and why they address this matter. The initial analysis of interview data frommore »over a hundred subjects from more than twenty universities demonstrates diverse ways of justifying ethics education such as satisfying ABET accreditation requirements or complying with recommendations of the disciplinary professional association (e.g., ASME or ASCE). Identifying a resistance to notions such as judgment, and in general, a disregard for engineering ethics in conversations on governance and educational decision-making are other preliminary findings of this work.« less
  4. In this research paper, we analyze “diversity” discourses among faculty and administrators in engineering programs across the Unites States, and the initiatives deployed in the name of diversity. The recruitment and retention of women and “minorities” is a task of paramount importance in engineering programs, and higher education in general. However, despite continued efforts to diversify the student body, women and minorities have remained underrepresented in engineering departments. The rationale for increasing diversity in engineering education can vary, from industry arguments about “filling pipelines” for the labor force, to social justice arguments that everyone should have an equal opportunity for success, to cognitive diversity arguments that problems are solved more efficiently with diverse viewpoints. Furthermore, there is significant variation across institutions regarding who is prioritized under the “diversity” umbrella – some highlight women in general, others African American, Hispanic and Lantinx men and women, others target students of low socioeconomic status (SES). Finally, initiatives to address diversity also vary widely, from scholarship programs, to extracurricular activities, to integration of the needs and interests of excluded groups into coursework. This paper draws upon data collected as part of a multi-institutional research study entitled “The Distributed System of Governance in Engineering Education.”more »We use methods of discourse analysis to study how the term “diversity” is leveraged in different contexts to enact certain methods of recruitment and retention of particular populations.« less
  5. 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 tomore »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”).« less
  6. This work-in-progress paper presents preliminary findings on how teaching engineering ethics is justified by academic administrators and policymakers, drawing from data collected in a multi-institution collaborative project called “The Distributed System of Governance in Engineering Education”. The project seeks to understand the practice of engineering education reform using data collected from a larger number of oral interviews at a variety of academic institutions and other organizations in engineering education. Investigations of effective strategies for the ethical development of engineering students have been pursued extensively in engineering education research. Canvassing this literature reveals not only diverse approaches and conceptions of engineering ethics, but also a diverse set of rationales and contexts for justifying the development and implementation of engineering ethics coursework and programs. It is also evident that the students’ ethical development is shaped by how the subject is delivered, e.g., the use of case studies or “best practices”, as well as the underlying reasons given to them about why ethics is taught. Institutions send signals to their students, even without intending to, about the importance of engineering ethics to their professional identity through their choice in how and why they address this matter. Our initial analysis of interview data frommore »over a hundred subjects from more than twenty universities demonstrates the diverse ways in which ethics education is justified. The most common reason offered are satisfying ABET accreditation requirements and complying with the recommendations of a disciplinary professional association (e.g., ASME or ASCE). Resistance to notions such as professional judgment, and the absence of any substantial reference to engineering ethics in general conversations about educational decision making and governance are other initial findings from our work.« less
  7. This work-in-progress paper draws from the ongoing “The Distributed System of Governance in Engineering Education” project’s qualitative dataset. The Governance project uses an ethnomethodological approach to understand the practice of engineering education reform. The dataset contains oral interview data from both academic institutions and organizations with roles in engineering education governance such as ABET. The academic institutions in the study are representative of the range of engineering schools in US—research intensive, predominately undergraduate, private, public, MSI, etc.—and interview subjects span the administrative spectrum from faculty to department chairs to provosts. This work-in-progress uses this data set to probe two research questions: 1) To what extent, and how, do academic administrators and policy makers in higher education draw on insights from engineering education research (EER) in deriving policies and making decisions? 2) To what extent do the issues and challenges articulated by administrators match those articulated or identified by EER community? The initial analysis of interview data from over seventy subjects from fifteen universities was done from a symbolic interactionism perspective. Initial findings are that university administrators are generally not aware of engineering education and the engineering education research body of knowledge is not generally used in day-to-day decision making. Thismore »may be due to the fact the concerns expressed by administrators are often misaligned with EER priorities. The authors seek feedback on how to better understanding “invisible channels” through which EER findings may find their way into administrative decisions as well as other means by which EER influences governance processes other than through established administrative channels.« less
  8. This work-in-progress paper draws from the ongoing “The Distributed System of Governance in Engineering Education” project’s qualitative dataset. The Governance project uses an ethnomethodological approach to understand the practice of engineering education reform. The dataset contains oral interview data from both academic institutions and organizations with roles in engineering education governance such as ABET. The academic institutions in the study are representative of the range of engineering schools in US—research intensive, predominately undergraduate, private, public, MSI, etc.—and interview subjects span the administrative spectrum from faculty to department chairs to provosts. This work-in-progress uses this data set to probe two research questions: 1) To what extent, and how, do academic administrators and policy makers in higher education draw on insights from engineering education research (EER) in deriving policies and making decisions? 2) To what extent do the issues and challenges articulated by administrators match those articulated or identified by EER community? The initial analysis of interview data from over seventy subjects from fifteen universities was done from a symbolic interactionism perspective. Initial findings are that university administrators are generally not aware of engineering education and the engineering education research body of knowledge is not generally used in day-to-day decision making. Thismore »may be due to the fact the concerns expressed by administrators are often misaligned with EER priorities. The authors seek feedback on how to better understanding “invisible channels” through which EER findings may find their way into administrative decisions as well as other means by which EER influences governance processes other than through established administrative channels.« less
  9. In this research paper, we analyze “diversity” discourses among faculty and administrators in engineering programs across the Unites States, and the initiatives deployed in the name of diversity. The recruitment and retention of women and “minorities” is a task of paramount importance in engineering programs, and higher education in general. However, despite continued efforts to diversify the student body, women and minorities have remained underrepresented in engineering departments. The rationale for increasing diversity in engineering education can vary, from industry arguments about “filling pipelines” for the labor force, to social justice arguments that everyone should have an equal opportunity for success, to cognitive diversity arguments that problems are solved more efficiently with diverse viewpoints. Furthermore, there is significant variation across institutions regarding who is prioritized under the “diversity” umbrella – some highlight women in general, others African American, Hispanic and Lantinx men and women, others target students of low socioeconomic status (SES). Finally, initiatives to address diversity also vary widely, from scholarship programs, to extracurricular activities, to integration of the needs and interests of excluded groups into coursework. This paper draws upon data collected as part of a multi-institutional research study entitled “The Distributed System of Governance in Engineering Education.”more »We use methods of discourse analysis to study how the term “diversity” is leveraged in different contexts to enact certain methods of recruitment and retention of particular populations.« less