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  1. null (Ed.)
  2. null (Ed.)
    As the field continues to grow, engineering education is continually challenged with finding engineering education research (EER) positions that align with the broad abilities and interests of its members. EER positions exist in engineering education departments, traditional engineering departments (e.g., mechanical, civil), and in non-degree granting programs (e.g., centers for teaching and learning, engineering programs). These positions vary across their emphasis on research, teaching, and service and provide access to different resources and mechanisms to impact engineering education. Given the range of positions available in EER and the emergence of new EER programs, it can be challenging for graduate students and postdocs to navigate the job search process and identify a position that aligns with their professional goals. The purpose of this research was to better understand the EER job market as it relates to what applicants (i.e., graduates and post-docs) experience as they navigate the job-search and decision-making process. For this study, we conducted interviews with seven transitioning first-year EER faculty members. These individuals were transitioning into various EER faculty positions (e.g. Lecturer, Teaching Fellow, Assistant Professor, Research Assistant Professor) with different backgrounds in EER based on their graduate training experiences which included established EER programs as well as traditional engineering departments with EER advisor(s). We asked questions that focused on the individual’s new faculty position, their perception of the weekly time requirements, their job search process, and factors that influenced their final decision of which job to select. Each interview was conducted by two graduate students and was then transcribed and verified for accuracy. Three faculty members performed holistic coding of the transcripts focused on three areas: EER position types, job search process, and job decision making process. The Qualifying Qualitative research Quality framework (Q3) was used as a guide throughout our data collection and analysis process to ensure reliability and trustworthiness of the data collected. Through our analysis process, we developed a visual representation that provides a guide to assist EER graduate students and postdocs with their job search process. The first figure captures the diversity of positions along with the types of institutions where these positions exist to provide a starting point for individuals on their job search process. The second figure includes a timeline to help capture the average time frames for different phases of the job search process. Factors associated with final decisions based on the interviews conducted are also outlined to provide areas of consideration for individuals undergoing this process in the future. This work provides insight to aspiring academics about the range of opportunities available to those with a background in EER and how they can pursue finding alignment between their interests and positions that are available. 
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  3. null (Ed.)
    As the field of engineering education continues to evolve, the number of early career scholars who identify as members of the discipline will continue to increase. These engineering education scholars will need to take strategic and intentional actions towards their professional goals and the goals of the engineering education community to be impactful within their positions. In other words, they must exercise agency. Accordingly, the purpose of this study is to investigate how the agency of early career, engineering education scholars manifests across different contexts. Our overarching research question is: How do institutional, individual, and disciplinary field and societal features influence early career engineering education faculty member’s agency to impact engineering education in their particular positions? To investigate how faculty agency manifests across different contexts, we adopted a longitudinal research approach to focus on our own experiences as engineering education scholars. Due to the complexity of the phenomenon, more common approaches to qualitative research (e.g., interviews, surveys, etc.) were unlikely to illuminate the manifestation of agency, which requires capturing the nuances associated with one’s day-to-day experiences. Thus, to address our research purpose, we required a research design that provided a space to explore one’s acceptance of ambiguity, responses to disappointments, willingness to adapt, process of adapting, and experiences with collaboration. The poster presented will provide a preliminary version of the model along with a detailed description of the methods used to develop it. In short, we integrated collaborative inquiry and collaborative autoethnography as a means for building our model. Autoethnography is a research approach that critically examines personal experience to explore a cultural phenomenon. Collaborative autoethnography, which leverages collective sense-making of the data, informed the structure of our data collection. Specifically, we documented our individual experiences over the course of six semesters by (1) completing weekly, monthly, pre-semester, and post-semester reflection questions; (2) participating in periodic activities and discussions focused on targeted areas of our theoretical framework and relevant literature; and (3) discussing the outcomes from both (1) and (2) in weekly meetings. Collaborative inquiry, in contrast to collaborative autoethnography, is a research approach where people pair reflection on practice with action through multiple inquiry cycles. Collaborative inquiry guided the topics of discussion within our weekly meetings and how we approached challenges and other aspects of our positions. The combination of these methodologies allowed us to deeply and systematically explore our own experiences, allowing us to develop a model of professional agency towards change in engineering education through collaborative sense-making. By sharing our findings with current and developing engineering education graduate programs, we will enable them to make programmatic changes to benefit current and future engineering education scholars. These findings also will provide a mechanism for divisions within ASEE to develop programming and resources to support the sustained success and impact of their members. 
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  4. Alongside the continued evolution of the field of engineering education, the number of early career faculty members who identify as members of the discipline continues to increase. This growth has resulted in a new wave of roles, titles, and experiences for engineering education researchers, many of which have yet to be explored and understood. To address this gap, our research team is investigating the ways in which early career engineering education faculty are able to achieve impact in their current roles. Our aim is to provide insights on the ways in which these researchers can have new and evolving forms of impact within the engineering education field. The work presented herein explores the transition experiences of our research team, consisting of six early-career faculty, and the ways in which we experience agency at the individual, institutional, and field and societal levels. Doing so is necessary to consider the diverse backgrounds, visions, goals, plans, and commitments of early career faculty members. Guided by two qualitative research methodologies: collaborative inquiry and collaborative autoethnography, we are able to explore our lived experiences and respective academic cultures through iterative cycles of reflection and action towards agency. The poster presented will provide an update on our NSF RFE work through Phase 1 of our two phase investigation. Thus far the investigation has involved analysis of our reflections from the first two years of our faculty roles to identify critical incidents within the early career transition and development of our identities as faculty members. Additionally, we have collected reflective data to understand each of our goals, relevant aspects of our identity and desired areas of impact. Analysis of the transition has resulted in new insights on the aspects of transition, focusing on types of impactful situations, and the supports and strategies that are utilized. Analysis has begun to explore the role of identity on each members desired areas of impact and their ability to have impact. Data will also be presented from a survey of near peers, providing insight into the ways in which each early career engineering education faculty believe they are able to and desire to have impact in their current position. The collective analysis around the transition into a faculty role, strategic actions of new faculty, desired impact areas, and faculty identity will play a role in the development of our conceptual model of early career faculty agency. Additionally, this analysis provides the groundwork for phase two of our study, where we will seek to place the experiences of our group within the context of the larger community of early career engineering education faculty. 
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  5. This research paper describes the development of a critical incident-centered analysis methodology based on Schlossberg’s Transition Theory to explore transitions experienced by engineering education researchers as they begin new faculty positions. Understanding the transition experiences of scholars aiming to impact change within engineering education is important for identifying approaches to support the sustained success of these scholars at their institutions and within engineering education more broadly. To date, efforts to better prepare future faculty for academic roles have primarily focused on preparing them to be independent researchers, to teach undergraduate courses, and to support their ability to advance their career. Research of early career faculty is similarly limited in scope, focusing mostly on new faculty at research-exclusive universities or on faculty member’s teaching and research practices. To address this gap in the literature, our research team is examining the role of institutional context on the agency of early career engineering education faculty as it relates to facilitating change. As part of this larger project, the focus of this paper is on the integration of critical incident techniques and Schlossberg’s Transition Theory to create “incident timelines” that explore the transition of early career engineering education researchers into new faculty positions. Our paper will illustrate how this integration provided an effective methodology to: 1) explore a diverse set of transitions into faculty positions, 2) identify critical events that impact these transitions, 3) isolate strategies that supported the faculty members in different aspects of their transitions, and 4) examine connections between events and strategies over time and across faculty members’ transitions. Transition Theory provides a lens to explore how individuals identify and adapt based on transitions in their lives. An individual’s transition, according to Schlossberg, tends to include three phases: moving in, moving through, and moving out. Over the course of those phases, the individual’s experiences are influenced by the context of the transition, the characteristics of the individual such as their motivations and beliefs, the extent to which they have support, and the strategies they utilize. Given the complexity of a transition into a faculty position, it was necessary to determine the extent to which particular events and the relationship between events impacted a new faculty member’s experience. To accomplish this, we integrated a critical incident analysis to specifically investigate individual events that were considered significant to the overall transition leading to the development of an incident timeline. We applied our approach to monthly reflections of six new engineering faculty members from diverse institutional contexts who identify as engineering education researchers. The monthly reflections asked each participant to provide their impressions of the faculty role, in what ways they felt like a faculty member, and in what ways they did not. Through an iterative data analysis process, we developed initial incident timelines for each participant’s transition. Follow-up interviews with the participants allowed us to explore each event in more detail and provided an opportunity for reflection-on-action by the participant. These incidents were then further explored to distinguish strategies used and support received. Finally, we examined connections between events and strategies over time to identify overarching themes common to these types of faculty transitions. In this methods paper, we will demonstrate the usefulness of this variation of the critical incident approach for exploring complex professional transitions by highlighting the details of our incident timeline analysis. 
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  6. Given the infancy of engineering education as an established field and the recent increase in early career faculty aligning themselves with the discipline, it is imperative that the community better understand the experiences of these new faculty members. As a result, we will be able to enhance national efforts to train and develop faculty prepared to drive change in engineering education. Accordingly, this two-phased study will investigate how institutional context influences the agency of our research team and other early career engineering education faculty as it relates to facilitating change in engineering education. Faculty agency is important because faculty play a central role in making change, and there is a need to further understand the factors that influence their ability to do so. This work leverages collaborative inquiry and collaborative autoethnography to explore the lived experiences of our research team, which consists of six engineering education faculty with different roles and responsibilities who are positioned in varied settings at different institutions. We represent diverse perspectives with regard to our goals, visions, and training in engineering education. This project officially started in May 2017; however, we have been collecting data since August 2015. Our poster will present a summary of our current progress, which includes the use of the Q3 Research Quality Workshop to guide our plans for data collection and analysis. This was important to our work, because in Phase I of our study we are combining elements from auto ethnography and collaborative inquiry to explore our research questions. In addition to our study’s methodological impact, the results will provide the engineering education community with evidence-based insights on conditions that facilitate change efforts by early career engineering education faculty. By sharing our findings with current and developing engineering education graduate programs, we will enable them to make programmatic changes to benefit future faculty. These findings also provide a mechanism for divisions within the American Society of Engineering Education to develop programming and resources to support the sustained success of their members. 
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  7. Engineering faculty are faced with a variety of challenges ranging from teaching responsibilities, navigating research, and negotiating service demands. Due to the nature of the emerging field of engineering education and the emphasis on education within the ASEE community, there is a need to develop methods to facilitate cross-institutional mentoring. While many institutions offer formal mentoring in some capacity, there are limitations and challenges associated with these support structures. Some common challenges are scheduling a time to meet, navigating institutional power dynamics, and identifying individuals with shared interests and goals. This work proposes best practices for the development of an innovative peer mentoring structure that accounts for shared commitment to the advancement of engineering education. This paper will provide insight for engineering education faculty who are currently transitioning into or are planning to pursue a career in academia in the future. We will describe a framework to create a virtual community for peer mentoring. The value of a virtual peer mentoring community is that it can provide support that may not be available within one’s institution and it minimizes the negative impacts that may be associated with institutional power dynamics. The best practices that we will describe are informed by six early career engineering education faculty that developed and participated in a virtual community over the last two years. We will describe best practices in relation to identifying a shared vision, developing possible tangible outcomes, writing operating procedures for the group, selecting an appropriate platform for communication, and facilitating reflection and changes to practice. 
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