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  1. This paper describes the development of a facilitator training program that prepares volunteers to offer interactive workshops to build professional skills. This effort to “train the trainers” is part of the CyberAmbassadors workforce development project funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF). The overarching goal of the CyberAmbassadors project is to develop professional skills training that helps participants collaborate more effectively in interdisciplinary settings. The core curriculum for participants includes 20+ hours of materials and activities to build communications, teamwork, and leadership skills. The “train the trainers” project described here is a complementary effort to prepare STEM professionals to facilitatemore »these CyberAmbassadors professional skills trainings for their own workplaces and communities. The facilitator training program was developed and tested with two cohorts, totaling more than 50 participants. Over the course of two days of in-person training, new facilitators had opportunities to experience the core curriculum as participants; to practice facilitation skills and lead group activities; to discuss practical and logistical aspects of offering training in their own communities; and to become familiar with the underlying pedagogy, learning goals, and modular structure of the professional skills curriculum. Surveys were used to collect feedback and evaluate participants’ satisfaction with the CyberAmbassadors professional skills curriculum; their self-assessment of facilitation and professional skills before and after the training; and feedback on the facilitator training experience. Responses from the first cohort of participants were used to refine the facilitator training program and it was offered to a second group of volunteers six months later. In the intervening time, several facilitators from the first cohort implemented CyberAmbassadors trainings at academic institutions, professional conferences, and industry workplaces. Participant surveys were used to provide feedback to the volunteer facilitators and to assist the project coordinators in identifying areas where additional training or support might be helpful. These lessons were used to improve the facilitator training program for the second cohort, and we recruited some of the original volunteers to help lead the second “train the trainers” experience. This approach both provides newer facilitators with additional experience and expands the number of individuals who can “train the trainers” and help to propagate the program for future participants. In addition to describing the experiences and results from this “train the trainers” effort, this paper details the information, planning tools, and supports that are incorporated throughout the CyberAmbassadors professional skills curriculum materials to assist facilitators in offering these trainings. Lessons learned from this project can be adapted to other professional education efforts, both in terms of preparing new instructors and in helping trained facilitators better understand and meet the needs of their audience.« less
    Free, publicly-accessible full text available January 1, 2023
  2. This design-focused practice paper presents a case study describing how a training program developed for academic contexts was adapted for use with engineers working in industry. The underlying curriculum is from the NSF-funded CyberAmbassadors program, which developed training in communication, teamwork and leadership skills for participants from academic and research settings. For the case study described here, one module from the CyberAmbassadors project was adapted for engineers working in private industry: “Teaming Up: Effective Group and Meeting Management.” The key objectives were to increase knowledge and practical skills within the company’s engineering organization, focusing specifically on time management as itmore »relates to project and product delivery. We were also interested in examining the results of translating curricula designed for an academic setting into a corporate setting. Training participants were all from the dedicated engineering department of a US-based location of an international company that provides financial services. The original curriculum was designed for live, in-person training, but was adapted for virtual delivery after the company adopted a 100% remote workforce in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The training was conducted in four phases: (1) train-the-trainer to create internal evangelists; (2) train management to build buy-in and provide sponsorship; (3) phased rollout of training to individual members of the engineering department, contemporaneous with (4) specific and intentional opportunities to apply the skills in normal business activities including Joint Architecture Design (JAD) sessions. Effectiveness was measured through surveys at the engineering management level (before, during, and after training), and through direct discussions with engineering teams who were tracked for four weeks after the training. A number of cultural shifts within the company were observed as direct and indirect outcomes of this training. These include the creation and standardization of a template for meeting agendas; a “grassroots” effort to spread the knowledge and best practices from trained individuals to untrained individuals through informal, peer-to-peer interactions; individuals at varying levels of company hierarchy publicly expressing that they would not attend meetings unless an appropriate agenda was provided in advance; and requests for additional training by management who wanted to increase performance in their employees. As a result of this adaptation from academic to industry training contexts, several key curricular innovations were added back to the original CyberAmbassadors corpus. Examples include a reinterpretation of the separate-but-equal leadership roles within meetings, and the elevation of timekeeper to a controlling leadership role within a meeting. This case study offers valuable lessons on translating training from academic/research settings to industry, including a description of how the “business case” was developed in order to gain approval for the training and sponsorship from management. Future work includes adapting additional material from the CyberAmbassadors program for applications in a business context, and the continued formal and informal propagation of the current material within the company.« less
  3. Antimicrobial resistance (AMR) is one of the top 10 global public health threats facing humanity, especially in low-resource settings, and requires an interdisciplinary response across academia, government, countries, and societies. If unchecked, AMR will hamper progress towards reaching the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), including ending poverty and hunger, promoting healthy lives and well-being, and achieving sustained economic growth. There are many global initiatives to curb the effects of AMR, but significant gaps remain. New ways of thinking and operating in the context of the SDGs are essential to making progress. In this entry, we define the next generationmore »of the AMR research network, its composition, and strategic activities that can help mitigate the threats due to AMR at the local, regional, and global levels. This is supported by a review of recent literature and bibliometric and network analyses to examine the current and future state of AMR research networks for global health and sustainable development.« less
  4. STEM (science, technology, engineering, mathematics) graduate programs excel at developing students’ technical expertise and research skills. The interdisciplinary nature of many STEM research projects means that graduate students often find themselves paired with experts from other fields and asked to work together to solve complex problems. At Michigan State University, the College of Engineering has developed a graduate level course that helps students build professional skills (communications, teamwork, leadership) to enhance their participation in these types of interdisciplinary projects. This semester-long course also includes training on research mentoring, helping students work more effectively with their current faculty mentors and buildmore »skills to serve as mentors themselves. Discussions of research ethics are integrated throughout the course, which allows participants to partially fulfill graduate training requirements in the responsible conduct of research. This paper will discuss the development of this course, which is based in part on curriculum developed as part of an ongoing training grant from the National Science Foundation. 18 graduate students from Engineering and other STEM disciplines completed the course in Spring 2019, and we will present data gathered from these participants along with lessons learned and suggestions for institutions interested in adapting these open-source curriculum materials for their own use. Students completed pre- and post-course evaluations, which asked about their expectations and reasons for participating in the course at the outset and examined their experiences and learning at the end. Overall, students reported that the course content was highly relevant to their daily work and that they were highly satisfied with the content of all three major focus areas (communications, teamwork, leadership). Participants also reported that the structure and the pacing of the course were appropriate, and that the experience had met their expectations. The results related to changes in students’ knowledge indicate that the course was effective in increasing participants understanding of and ability to employ professional skills for communications, teamwork and leadership. Statistical analyses were conducted by creating latent constructs for each item as applicable and then running paired t-tests. The evaluation also demonstrated increases in students’ interest, knowledge and confidence of the professional skills offered in the course.« less
  5. The CyberAmbassadors Project (NSF #1730137) is a training grant to develop professional skills curriculum (communications, teamwork, leadership) to build capacity in Cyber Infrastructure (CI) Professionals. CI Professionals are experts at high performance computing, data science algorithms, and/or supercomputing infrastructure; they are often called upon to work with experts from STEM (science, technology, engineering, mathematics) in multi-disciplinary teams to solve complex problems. The CyberAmbassadors training program seeks to improve the function of these teams by helping CI Professionals build and practice skills for effective communication, teamwork and leadership within the context of complex, multidisciplinary research. This paper summarizes the results ofmore »the pilot testing of the CyberAmbassadors curriculum, which was conducted at institutions across the United States using both in-person, online and hybrid delivery methods. A Kirkpatrick evaluation model was used to assess expectations and reasons for participation, as well as satisfaction with the training and impacts on participants’ learning and behavior. The curriculum was revised based on these initial pilot tests, and 43 volunteers have participated in “train the trainers” workshops to prepare to facilitate this training on a larger scale during 2019-20.« less
  6. This paper describes initial results from a collaborative effort to develop a flexible, open-source professional skills training program for engineers and scientists. The collaboration was initiated by Michigan State University (MSU) as part of a (successful) training grant proposal to the National Science Foundation. MSU proposed to lead efforts to develop new professional development training materials focused on communication, teamwork and leadership skills. Tau Beta Pi, the Engineering Honor Society, joined the collaboration and provided access to a national network of well-trained, volunteer facilitators who were eager for new curriculum materials. Several national organizations that offer technical training in variousmore »areas of expertise also joined the collaboration, including the National Research Mentor Network (NRMN), the Center for the Improvement of Mentored Experiences in Research (CIMER), and the Carpentries. Their contributions included experience managing large repositories of curricula and ensuring quality control while allowing materials to be updated regularly. During the first year of this collaboration, new curriculum was developed at MSU and pilot tested by facilitators from Tau Beta Pi (TBP). Several of the collaborating training programs helped to advertise or host these pilot tests. While the project is funded for another two years, the benefits of this unique collaboration are already apparent and new partners are expressing interest in expanding this project to develop a national framework for sharing resources, facilitators and curriculum between programs.« less
  7. Engineering Futures (EF) is a professional development program developed by Tau Beta Pi, the Engineering Honor Society, in the 1980s to provide undergraduate engineering students with the “soft skills” necessary for professional success. Originally, the EF program included a series of day-long, interactive workshops led by volunteer facilitators and hosted on-site at college campuses. The original sessions included People Skills (interpersonal problem communication and resolution); Team Chartering (understanding team dynamics); Group Process (tools for effective meetings); and Analytical Problem Solving (brainstorming, list reduction and evaluation criteria). Over the decades, the EF program adapted to meet the changing needs of undergraduatemore »students, with options for shorter sessions and the addition of a module on Effective Presentation Skills in the early 2000s. In the 2010s, the EF program directors began to explore opportunities to expand the curriculum to address new challenges. A new partnership in 2015 led to the addition of two new modules: Equity, Inclusion & Engineering Ethics; and Research Mentoring. In 2017, Tau Beta Pi partnered with several other organizations in a successful proposal to the National Science Foundation to develop updated training materials focusing on communications, teamwork and leadership skills. These materials are being designed in a modular fashion that allows them to be adjusted for different audiences (undergraduates, graduate students, professionals) and the project includes funding for a “train the trainers” program that will enable the EF materials to be deployed nationally at little or no cost to hosting organizations. This paper provides a historical context for the EF program, describes the recent efforts to update and expand the curriculum, and provides insights from several years of participation and program evaluation data.« less
  8. The CyberAmbassador project aims to provide professional skills training for Cyber-Infrastructure (CI) professionals, with the goal of developing "CyberAmbassadors" [16] who are prepared to facilitate and lead multidisciplinary, computationally-intensive research. This NSF funded program (Award Number 1730137) has the following objectives: (1) Develop curriculum that focuses on professional skills (communications, teamwork, leadership) within the context of large scale, multidisciplinary computational research; (2) Pilot, evaluate and revise the curriculum; (3) Develop "Train the Trainers" workshops to broaden the impact of the curriculum and connect with external partners to ensure the longevity of the program beyond the timeframe of the grant. Thismore »paper introduces the core curriculum, describes different modes of delivering content that we have piloted, shares preliminary evaluation results from two particularly relevant cases, and offers initial lessons learned.« less