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  1. Abstract Background

    Snags, standing dead trees, are becoming more abundant in forests as tree mortality rates continue to increase due to fire, drought, and bark beetles. Snags provide habitat for birds and small mammals, and when they fall to the ground, the resulting logs provide additional wildlife habitat and affect nutrient cycling, fuel loads, and fire behavior. Predicting how long snags will remain standing after fire is essential for managing habitat, understanding chemical cycling in forests, and modeling forest succession and fuels. Few studies, however, have quantified how fire changes snag fall dynamics.

    Results

    We compared post-fire fall rates of snags that existed pre-fire (n= 2013) and snags created during or after the fire (n= 8222), using 3 years of pre-fire and 5 years of post-fire data from an annually monitored, 25.6-ha spatially explicit plot in an old-growthAbies concolor–Pinus lambertianaforest in the Sierra Nevada, CA, USA. The plot burned at low to moderate severity in the Rim Fire of 2013. We used random forest models to (1) identify predictors of post-fire snag fall for pre-existing and new snags and (2) assess the influence of spatial neighborhood and local fire severity on snag fall after fire. Fall rates of pre-existing snags increased 3 years after fire. Five years after fire, pre-existing snags were twice as likely to fall as new snags. Pre-existing snags were most likely to persist 5 years after fire if they were > 50 cm in diameter, > 20 m tall, and charred on the bole to heights above 3.7 m. New snags were also more likely to persist 5 years after fire if they were > 20 m tall. Spatial neighborhood (e.g., tree density) and local fire severity (e.g., fire-caused crown injury) within 15 m of each snag barely improved predictions of snag fall after fire.

    Conclusions

    Land managers should expect fall rates of pre-existing snags to exceed fall rates of new snags within 5 years after fire, an important habitat consideration because pre-existing snags represent a wider range of size and decay classes.

     
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  2. This work-in-progress paper details preliminary results from a qualitative study exploring faculty developers’ interactions with and perceptions of engineering instructional faculty (EIF) at Hispanic-Serving Institutions (HSIs). One potential resource for supporting EIF’s educational innovation efforts is their institutions’ center for teaching and learning (CTL). Through CTLs, and similarly named offices, faculty developers provide EIF and other faculty with professional development opportunities, such as pedagogy workshops, consultations, and seminars. By engaging in services provided by faculty developers, EIF can draw on new ideas, energy, and perspectives for instruction that they can incorporate into their beliefs and practices. This is particularly relevant at HSIs, which play a crucial role in enhancing the education of Latinx engineering students. This study aims to understand HSI faculty developers’ perceptions of EIF’s motivation to participate in professional development programming around instruction. Leveraging the self-determination theory of motivation, our preliminary results suggest that faculty developers recognize how extrinsic and intrinsic factors play an important role in EIF’s decisions to engage in instructional development programming. Based on our preliminary results, we encourage the faculty development community to leverage the identity of EIF as problem-solving engineers, identify and correct misconceptions about the role of faculty developers, and be intentional about how their programming responds to the factors intrinsically and extrinsically motivating EIF. 
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  3. This research paper examines faculty perceptions of and approaches towards fostering students’ motivation to learn engineering at Hispanic-Serving Institutions (HSIs). By aligning learning experiences with what motivates Hispanic or Latinx students, the resulting higher student motivation could increase the sense of belonging for underrepresented populations in engineering, ultimately improving student retention and persistence through meaningful instructional practices. Motivation to learn encompasses individuals' perspectives about themselves, the course material, the broader educational curriculum, and their role in their own learning [1]. Students’ motivation can be supported or hindered by their interactions with others, peers, and educators. As such, an educator’s teaching style is a critical part of this process [2]. Therefore, because of the link between a faculty member’s ability to foster student motivation and improved learning outcomes, this paper seeks to explore how engineering faculty approach student motivation in their course designs at Hispanic-Serving Institutions. Humans are curious beings naturally drawn to exploration and learning. Self Determination Theory (SDT), popularized by Ryan and Deci, describes the interconnection of extrinsic (external) and intrinsic (internal) motivators, acknowledging the link between student’s physiological needs and their learning motivations [1], [3]. SDT proposes that students must experience the satisfaction of competence, autonomy, and relatedness for a high level of intrinsic motivation. Further, research indicates that appropriately structured, highly autonomy-supportive teaching styles that foster intrinsic motivation are associated with improved student outcomes [2]. However, further research is needed to observe how faculty prioritize students’ innate needs and how they seek to foster student motivation in tangible ways within their engineering classrooms. Therefore, this paper seeks to answer the following research question: What educational supports do engineering faculty at HSIs propose to embed in their curricula to increase their students’ intrinsic motivation? To answer this question, thirty-six engineering educators from thirteen two- and four-year HSIs from across the continental United States were introduced to the SDT and approaches for supporting students’ intrinsic motivation during a multi-institutional faculty development workshop series. Participants were asked to reflect on and prototype learning experiences that would promote intrinsic motivation and fulfill students’ needs for competence, relatedness, and autonomy to learn engineering [1]. Data were collected through a series of reflection worksheets where participants were asked to describe their target stakeholders, define a course redesign goal, and generate possible solutions while considering the impact of the redesign on student motivation. Qualitative analysis was used to explore participant responses. Analysis indicates that the participants were more likely to simultaneously address multiple motivational constructs when attempting to improve student motivation, rather than addressing them individually. Some of these approaches included the adoption of autonomy-supportive and structured teaching styles. As a result of this research, there is potential to influence future faculty development opportunities at HSIs and further explore intentional learning experiences that promote and foster intrinsic motivation in the engineering classroom. 
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  4. The AMPLIFY project, funded through the NSF HSI Program, seeks to amplify the educational change leadership of Engineering Instructional Faculty (EIF) working at Hispanic Serving Institutions (HSIs). HSIs are public or private institutions of higher education enrolling over 25% full-time undergraduate Hispanic or Latinx-identifying students [1]. Many HSIs are exemplars of developing culturally responsive learning environments and supporting the persistence and access of Latinx engineering students, as well as students who identify as members of other marginalized populations [2]. Our interest in the EIF population at HSIs arises from the growing body of literature indicating that these faculty play a central role in educational change through targeted initiatives, such as student-centered support programs and the use of inclusive curricula that connect to their students’ cultural identities [3]–[7]. Our research focuses on exploring methods for amplifying the engineering educational change efforts at HSIs by 1) making visible the experiences of engineering instructional faculty at HSIs and 2) designing, implementing, and evaluating a leadership development model for engineering instructional faculty, thereby 3) equipping and supporting these faculty as they lead educational change efforts. To achieve these goals, our project team, comprising educational researchers, engineering instructional faculty, instructional designers, and graduate students from three HSIs (two majority-minority and one emerging HSI), seeks to address the following research questions: 1) What factors impact the self-efficacy and agency of EIF at HSIs to engage in educational change initiatives that encourage culturally responsive, evidence-based teaching within their classrooms, institutions, or beyond? 2) What are the necessary competencies for EIF to be leaders of this sort of educational change? 3) What individual, institutional, and professional development program features support the educational change leadership development of EIF at HSIs? 4) How does engagement in leadership development programming impact EIF educational leadership self-efficacy and agency toward developing and using culturally responsive and evidence-based approaches at HSIs? This multi-year project uses various qualitative, quantitative, and participatory research methods embedded in a series of action research cycles to provide a richer understanding of the successes and needs of EIF at HSIs [8]. The subsequent design and implementation of the AMPLIFY Institute will make visible the features and content of instructional faculty development programs that promote educational innovation at HSIs and foster a deeper understanding of the framework's impact on faculty innovation and leadership. 
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  5. Abstract

    Snow duration in post‐fire forests is influenced by neighbourhoods of trees, snags, and deadwood. We used annually resolved, spatially explicit tree and tree mortality data collected in an old‐growth, mixed‐conifer forest in the Sierra Nevada, California, that burned at low to moderate severity to calculate 10 tree neighbourhood metrics for neighbourhoods up to 40 m from snow depth and snow disappearance sampling points. We developed two linear mixed models, predicting snow disappearance timing as a function of tree neighbourhood, litter density, and simulated incoming solar radiation, and two multiple regression models explaining variation in snow depth as a function of tree neighbourhood. Higher densities of post‐fire large‐diameter snags within 10 m of a sampling point were related to higher snow depth (indicating reduced snow interception). Higher densities of large‐diameter trees within 5 m and larger amounts of litter were associated with shorter snow duration (indicating increased longwave radiation emittance and accelerated snow albedo decay). However, live trees with diameters >60 cm within 10 m of a snow disappearance sampling point were associated with a longer‐lasting spring snowpack. This suggests that, despite the local effects of canopy interception and emitted longwave radiation from boles of large trees, shading from their canopies may prolong snow duration over a larger area. Therefore, conservation of widely spaced, large‐diameter trees is important in old‐growth forests because they are resistant to fire and can enhance the seasonal duration of snowmelt.

     
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  6. Engineering identity is an attractive lens being used by engineering education researchers to help understand the factors contributing to student retention and persistence in engineering. However, few studies have linked pedagogical approaches for developing an identity to their impact on engineering identity development. This research paper investigates the difference in students’ engineering identity, engineering performance/competence, engineering interest, recognition in engineering, and affect towards six professional engineering practices in two difference engineering departments: a traditional program that implicitly supports engineering identity formation and a non-traditional program that explicitly supports engineering identity formation. Survey data was collected from a total of 184 students (153 from the traditional department and 31 from the non-traditional department). Using independent samples t-tests, results show that engineering identity was higher for students in the traditional department than for students in the non-traditional department. However, students in the non-traditional department showed statistically significantly higher levels of collaboration compared to the traditional department. This work contributes to the ongoing conversation about engineering identity development by beginning to explore the pedagogical approaches that impact students’ engineering attitudes. Implications of results are discussed. 
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