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  1. An intrinsic case study explores the challenges shared by international engineering postdoctoral scholars working in the United States (US). Little research has been devoted to their experiences despite their stark increase in the postdoctoral labor force over the last decade. Semi-structured interviews were conducted with eight engineering postdoctoral scholars hailing from Canada, China, Colombia, Iran, Italy, and Thailand. Participant interviews were analyzed inductively and resulted in four themes: (1) Immigration concerns; (2) Strains to find a community; (3) Pressure to publish and secure funding; and (4) Inadequate career counseling. The identified themes could be particularly instructive to Ph.D. advisors outside the US whose students may pursue postdoctoral positions in the US, Ph.D. recipients, US postdoctoral advisors, and US college and university international offices. 
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    Free, publicly-accessible full text available November 1, 2024
  2. This phenomenological study explores the mentoring needs of 13 Black and Latinx engineering postdoctoral scholars who aspire to the professoriate. An adaptation of the ideal mentoring model (Zambrana et al., 2015) is employed as the conceptual framework. Moustakas’ (1994) four-stage process of phenomenological data analysis was utilized to examine the interview data: epoché, horizontalization, imaginative variation, and synthesis. The phenomenon’s essence is: Black and Latinx engineering postdoctoral scholars have primary and secondary mentoring needs pertaining to their immediate career acquisition of a tenure-track faculty position. Primary mentoring needs include expanding their professional network and receiving support in being a competitive faculty applicant, as well as coaching on work-life balance. Secondary needs consist of enhancing and promoting their technical skills and acquiring political guidance on racial/ethnic bias in academia. The findings of this study reveal the importance of higher education institutions and postdoctoral advisors assuming greater responsibility for ensuring postdoctoral scholars receive the mentorship and career support they desire, which may require a systematic change in the postdoctoral training environment. 
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    Free, publicly-accessible full text available September 4, 2024
  3. This phenomenological study explores the mentoring needs of 13 Black and Latinx engineering postdoctoral scholars who aspire to the professoriate. An adaptation of the ideal mentoring model (Zambrana et al., 2015) is employed as the conceptual framework. Moustakas’ (1994) four-stage process of phenomenological data analysis was utilized to examine the interview data: epoché, horizontalization, imaginative variation, and synthesis. The phenomenon’s essence is: Black and Latinx engineering postdoctoral scholars have primary and secondary mentoring needs pertaining to their immediate career acquisition of a tenure-track faculty position. Primary mentoring needs include expanding their professional network and receiving support in being a competitive faculty applicant, as well as coaching on work-life balance. Secondary needs consist of enhancing and promoting their technical skills and acquiring political guidance on racial/ethnic bias in academia. The findings of this study reveal the importance of higher education institutions and postdoctoral advisors assuming greater responsibility for ensuring postdoctoral scholars receive the mentorship and career support they desire, which may require a systematic change in the postdoctoral training environment. 
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    Free, publicly-accessible full text available September 4, 2024
  4. An instrumental case study (Stake, 1995) explored the messages STEM postdoctoral scholar women receive about balancing an academic career with a family. Concerningly, women with children are less likely than men with children, or women and men without children, to be offered tenure-track positions or to be promoted (Bird & Rhoton, 2021; Cech & Blair-Lory, 2019; Gregor et al., 2021; Williams & Ceci, 2012; Ysseldyk et al., 2019). This reality suggests that motherhood is in opposition to professional legitimacy in academia (Hill et al., 2014; Thébaud & Taylor, 2021). Furthermore, postdoctoral scholar mothers are more likely than their peers to cite children as their primary reason for not entering the faculty job market (NPA ADVANCE, 2011). Interviews were conducted with 22 demographically diverse STEM postdoctoral scholar women to explore how messages about balancing career and family are considered. Using inductive and deductive methods (Silverman, 1993; Stake, 1995), interview transcripts were analyzed using the ideal worker conceptual framework (Kossek et al., 2021). Two themes arose: (1) STEM postdoctoral women receive messages suggesting they must sacrifice family pursuits for an academic career, and (2) positive modeling and support for balancing career and family are vital for retaining STEM postdoctoral women in the professoriate pathway. These findings illustrate a systemic conflict for STEM postdoctoral scholar women. They describe a necessity to sacrifice family desires, yet positive modeling and support for balancing career and family send messages suggesting it is possible to plan for both. This research is sponsored by the National Science Foundation (NSF) Alliance for Graduate Education and the Professoriate (AGEP; award #1821008). 
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  5. Abstract—This Research Work In Progress Paper examines empirical evidence on the impacts of feedback from an intelligent tutoring software on sketching skill development. Sketching is a vital skill for engineering design, but sketching is only taught limitedly in engineering education. Teaching sketching usually involves one-on-one feedback which limits its application in large classrooms. To meet the demands of feedback for sketching instruction, SketchTivity was developed as an intelligent tutoring software. SketchTivity provides immediate personalized feedback on sketching freehand practice. The current study examines the effectiveness of the feedback of SketchTivity by comparing students practicing with the feedback and without. Students were evaluated on their motivation for practicing sketching, the development of their skills, and their perceptions of the software. This work in progress paper examines preliminary analysis in all three of these areas. 
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  6. With funding from a National Science Foundation (NSF) IUSE/PFE: Revolutionizing Engineering and Computer Science Departments (IUSE/PFE: RED) grant, our vision is to focus on faculty development and culture change to reduce the effort and risk experienced by faculty in implementing pedagogical changes and to increase iterative, data-driven changes in teaching. Our project, called Teams for Creating Opportunities for Revolutionizing the Preparation of Students (TCORPS), is an adaptation of the “Additive innovation” model proposed by Arizona State University [1]. The Department of Mechanical Engineering at Texas A&M University has a long legacy of individualistic and---in many cases---a fixed mindset [2] approach to teaching with the expectation of top-down management of change. The goal of our project is to evolve the departmental culture to a bottom-up team structure where the faculty embrace an innovative mindset and extend an iterative build-test-learn method of the maker culture [3] that was formalized by the Lean Startup [4] approach. Faculty already have investigative and experimentation-driven processes in place for research and a keen understanding of data to support their hypotheses. We aim to leverage this preexisting strength and knowledge by extending it to the faculty-led, small-scale, iterative improvement of curriculum and pedagogy 
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  7. This work in progress (WIP) paper describes a National Science Foundation funded RED (Revolutionizing Engineering Departments) Adaptation and Implementation (A&I) grant focused on changing the culture of a large traditional mechanical engineering department at Texas A&M University (TAMU) and is an adaptation of the “Additive Innovations” model developed by Arizona State University in their RED project[1]. The TAMU RED project is focused entirely on culture change via faculty development, with the goal of shifting from a culture where teaching is secondary to research and courses evolve via sporadic, undocumented, individual innovations to a culture that recognizes teaching’s role in both faculty and student success and encourages a sustained process of incremental improvement and responsiveness to student learning through experimentation, measurement, and sharing. Two key levers in this culture change are (a) a faculty development series focused on innovation and data-driven change and (b) the creation of communities of practice[] or “soft wired’’ teams that support each other and sustain incremental change across semesters as faculty cycle in and out of courses. Ultimately, the goal of this project is to enhance a departmental culture in Mechanical Engineering where faculty regularly discuss current curricular effectiveness and are empowered to develop pedagogical innovations that enable all students and faculty to thrive. 
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  8. Abstract—This Research Work In Progress Paper examines empirical evidence on the impacts of feedback from an intelligent tutoring software on sketching skill development. Sketching is a vital skill for engineering design, but sketching is only taught limitedly in engineering education. Teaching sketching usually involves one-on-one feedback which limits its application in large classrooms. To meet the demands of feedback for sketching instruction, SketchTivity was developed as an intelligent tutoring software. SketchTivity provides immediate personalized feedback on sketching freehand practice. The current study examines the effectiveness of the feedback of SketchTivity by comparing students practicing with the feedback and without. Students were evaluated on their motivation for practicing sketching, the development of their skills, and their perceptions of the software. This work in progress paper examines preliminary analysis in all three of these areas. 
    more » « less