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  1. Since its inception in 2015, the National Science Foundation Revolutionizing Engineering Departments (RED) program has supported engineering and computer science educators as they work to transform the preparation of undergraduate students. As part of the program, members of RED teams connect with one another as a community of practice (CoP). More than just a collection of individuals who possess a shared interest, a CoP is defined by several distinct features: members of the CoP are practitioners; they develop a shared repertoire of resources that represent their shared practice; and they develop their community over time as a result of shared interaction. In our work with RED teams, we have identified aspects of their interactions that suggest that they operate as a CoP and gain benefits from their engagements. We see the RED CoP as instrumental to their success as change makers and an example of how CoPs can contribute to implementing change in other academic contexts. 
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    Free, publicly-accessible full text available June 30, 2024
  2. Transforming academic organizations to be more equitable and inclusive requires a range of change agents working together and engaging in diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) initiatives. Central to this DEI work is learning how to create change. Yet, change agents do not always know at the outset what resources are necessary to enact change; they often acquire the necessary resources and skills over time. This research paper investigates how change agents participating in a community of practice (CoP) across academic institutions learn about and mobilize resources to transform engineering education. This analysis of resource mobilization mechanisms comes from research with the National Science Foundation (NSF) Revolutionizing Engineering Departments (RED) grant recipient teams. To date, 26 teams have been funded through the RED mechanism to create revolutionary organizational and cultural changes within their departments with the goal of improving equity, inclusion, and educational outcomes. Projects vary in how they define and the degree to which they focus on equity. We find that resource mobilization practices in the CoP center and strengthen DEI values in two main ways. Firstly, participants learn about and gain access to resources that are explicitly DEIrelated: they mobilize resources to advance equity at the institutional level as an outcome of the projects and collaborate on additional projects to embed DEI into the process of change-making itself, starting from the initial stages of writing a proposal. Secondly, the way participants engage with each other, and approach change goals puts equity and inclusion into practice: participants identify and tackle structural barriers to change through DEI-aligned behaviors, from addressing how institutional circumstances create resistance to DEI, to developing a shared vision for systemic change that is inclusive and collaborative. 
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    Free, publicly-accessible full text available June 30, 2024
  3. This paper reports on workshops developed as part of an NSF ADVANCE Partnership project focused on faculty salary equity titled Let’s Talk Money (LTM). The LTM workshops are conducted via video conferencing to a mixed audience of deaf, hard-of-hearing, and hearing participants from three partner universities. The aim is to train and support teams of administrators and faculty in using a collaborative process to build knowledge and understanding of the institutional compensation system, and take action to improve salary-related policies, perceptions, leadership skills, and community engagement. The workshops prepare the partner institutions to engage in salary equity efforts and demonstrate best practices in teamwork. Guiding principles used in creating the workshop content include - Collaboration between diverse stakeholders - Providing accessible and clear communication for all - Addressing and challenging “unstated assumptions” - Recognizing the emotions surrounding the subject of salary and equity Over the first year of the project, the workshops presented communication and facilitation challenges with this audience. American Sign Language (ASL) interpreting within multiple breakout rooms of mixed-hearing-status participants was of varying effectiveness, and workshop facilitators struggled to attend to requests regarding interpreting in real time. Formative assessment based on observations of the project evaluation team and open feedback channels with participants from our partner universities allowed us to quickly identify these problems and collaboratively determine ways to improve. Thus, revisions were made to the workshop design and “run of show” support documentation, including a backchannel communication method among the presentation team, reminders to enable auto-transcription as a backup for interpreting, and real-time checking on quality of ASL interpretation. These changes improved the workshop experience for all participants, not only those who are deaf or hard-of-hearing. Ensuring that communication is clear supports inclusivity for everyone while paving the way for full participation and richer discussions. 
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  4. Principal investigators and project teams funded by the National Science Foundation are familiar with the requirement to discuss the impact of their research. Whether the discussion appears in a new proposal, or as part of annual or final reporting, describing the impacts of a project is key to demonstrating the value of the work itself. PIs and project teams may not, however, consider the ways in which their reporting on impacts can help them disseminate their work to stakeholders and propagate their innovations to other researchers. Impact statements can also be useful to NSF program officers who are often in the position of informing about and advocating for the projects under their management. Consequently, our work to support the NSF Revolutionizing Engineering Departments (RED) program helps project teams develop more coherent and persuasive impact statements. These impact statements lay the foundation for teams to persuasively disseminate their work. As part of our work to support the NSF Revolutionizing Engineering Departments (RED) program, we have developed an impacts tutorial that helps proposal and report writers capture what is impactful about their projects and to communicate that impact to multiple audiences (e.g., the NSF program officer, stakeholders for the project, etc.). We piloted the tutorial during the 2019 RED Consortium Meeting to the 21 RED teams in attendance. The tutorial began with a clear statement of the purpose of impact statements generally that was included in a printed workbook distributed to all attendees. From that starting point, groups made up of representatives from different RED teams worked to draft responses to the NSF Annual Report question prompts that address impacts. Initial feedback from NSF about this session have been positive and indicate improvements in reporting by RED teams. During our poster presentation at ASEE, we will introduce this method of writing impact statements, share elements of the workbook, and help attendees apply the method to their own NSF reporting. 
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  5. Our work with teams funded through the National Science Foundation REvolutionizing Engineering and Computer Science Departments (RED) program began in 2015. Our project—funded first by a NSF EAGER grant, and then by a NSF RFE grant—focuses on understanding how the RED teams make change on their campuses and how this information about change can be captured and communicated to other STEM programs that seek to make change happen. Because our RED Participatory Action Research (REDPAR) Project is a collaboration between researchers (Center for Evaluation & Research for STEM Equity at the University of Washington) and practitioners (Making Academic Change Happen Workshop at Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology), we have challenged ourselves to develop means of communication that allow for both aspects of the work—both research and practice—to be treated equitably. As a result, we have created a new dissemination channel—the RED Participatory Action Project Tipsheet. The tipsheet format accomplishes several important goals. First, the content is drawn from both the research conducted with the RED teams and the practitioners’ work with the teams. Each tipsheet takes up a single theme and grounds the theme in the research literature while offering practical tips for applying the information. Second, the format is accessible to a wide spectrum of potential users, remaining free of jargon and applicable to multiple program and departmental contexts. Third, by publishing the tipsheets ourselves, rather than submitting them to an engineering education research journal, we make the information timely and freely available. We can make a tipsheet as soon as a theme emerges from the intersection of research data and observations of practice. During the poster session at ASEE 2019, we will share the three REDPAR Tipsheets that have been produced thus far: Creating Strategic Partnerships, Communicating Change, and Shared Vision. We will also work with attendees to demonstrate how the tipsheet content is adaptable to the attendees’ specific academic context. Our goal for the poster session is to provide attendees with tipsheet resources that are useful to their specific change project. 
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  6. This panel paper presents research on connecting theory to practice and the lessons learned in a change project, with a focus on team formation during the early stages of change making. An important yet often overlooked step in any change project is pulling together individuals to form a competent and efficient team. The literature has identified six key characteristics of a guiding coalition (i.e., an effective change-making team): position power, expertise, credibility, leadership, trust, and a common goal. In this qualitative study of 10 teams working on systemic change projects at their respective institutions, we examine the process of team formation through the framework of guiding coalitions. We find that the characteristics of a guiding coalition shift and evolve over time, as relationships among team members (and with their stakeholders) continue to grow. The results presented in this paper connect theory to practice, sharing practices for building effective change-making teams within higher education. Permalink: https://peer.asee.org/32489. 
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  7. Our work with teams funded through the National Science Foundation REvolutionizing Engineering and Computer Science Departments (RED) program began in 2015. Our project—funded first by a NSF EAGER grant, and then by a NSF RFE grant—focuses on understanding how the RED teams make change on their campuses and how this information about change can be captured and communicated to other STEM programs that seek to make change happen. Because our RED Participatory Action Research (REDPAR) Project is a collaboration between researchers (Center for Evaluation & Research for STEM Equity at the University of Washington) and practitioners (Making Academic Change Happen Workshop at Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology), we have challenged ourselves to develop means of communication that allow for both aspects of the work—both research and practice—to be treated equitably. As a result, we have created a new dissemination channel—the RED Participatory Action Project Tipsheet. The tipsheet format accomplishes several important goals. First, the content is drawn from both the research conducted with the RED teams and the practitioners’ work with the teams. Each tipsheet takes up a single theme and grounds the theme in the research literature while offering practical tips for applying the information. Second, the format is accessible to a wide spectrum of potential users, remaining free of jargon and applicable to multiple program and departmental contexts. Third, by publishing the tipsheets ourselves, rather than submitting them to an engineering education research journal, we make the information timely and freely available. We can make a tipsheet as soon as a theme emerges from the intersection of research data and observations of practice. Permalink: https://peer.asee.org/32275. 
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  8. Our NSF funded project—Creating National Leadership Cohorts to Make Academic Change Happen (NSF 1649318)—represents a strategic partnership between researchers and practitioners in the domain of academic change. The principle investigators from the Making Academic Change Happen team from Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology provide familiarity with the literature of practical organizational change and package this into action-oriented workshops and ongoing support for teams funded through the REvolutionizing engineering and computer science Departments (RED) program. The PIs from the Center for Evaluation & Research for STEM Equity at the University of Washington provide expertise in social science research in order to investigate how the the RED teams’ change projects unfold and how the teams develop as members of national leadership cohorts for change in engineering and computer science education. Our poster for ASEE 2018 will focus on what we have learned thus far regarding the dynamics of the researcher/practitioner partnership through the RED Participatory Action Research (REDPAR) Project. According to Worrall (2007), good partnerships are “founded on trust, respect, mutual benefit, good communities, and governance structures that allow democratic decision-making, process improvement, and resource sharing.” We have seen these elements emerge through the work of the partnership to create mutual benefits. For example, the researchers have been given an “insider’s” perspective on the practitioners’ approach—their goals, motivations for certain activities, and background information and research. The practitioners’ perspective is useful for the researchers to learn since the practitioners’ familiarity with the organizational change literature has influenced the researchers’ questions and theoretical models. The practitioners’ work with the RED teams has provided insights on the teams, how they are operating, the challenges they face, and aspects of the teams’ work that may not be readily available to the researchers. As a result, the researchers have had increased access to the teams to collect data. The researchers, in turn, have been able to consider how to make their analyses useful and actionable for change-makers, the population that the practitioners are more familiar with. Insights from the researchers provide both immediate and long-term benefits to programming and increased professional impact. The researchers are trained observers, each of whom brings a unique disciplinary perspective to their observations. The richness, depth, and clarity of their observations adds immeasurably to the quality of practitioners’ interactions with the RED teams. The practitioners, for example, have revised workshop content in response to the researchers’ observations, thus ensuring that the workshop content serves the needs of the RED teams. The practitioners also benefit from the joint effort on dissemination, since they can contribute to a variety of dissemination efforts (journal papers, conference presentations, workshops). We plan to share specific examples of the strategic partnership during the poster session. In doing so, we hope to encourage researchers to seek out partnerships with practitioners in order to bridge the gap between theory and practice in engineering and computer science education. 
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