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Improving undergraduate STEM teaching for diverse students is dependent to some extent on increasing the representation of Black, Indigenous and People of Color (BIPOC) and women in the ranks of faculty in engineering departments. However, new faculty members, whether they had postdoctoral training or not, report that they were not adequately prepared for academia. To address this need, a professional development program was developed for underrepresented doctoral and postdoctoral students, which focused on various strategies to be successful in teaching, research and service aspects of academic positions. The program included an intensive two-week summer session, with follow-up mentoring during the academic year, and was conducted from 2017 to 2020 with three cohorts of fellows recruited from across the country. To evaluate the impact of the program on the participants’ perceptions of their preparation for academic careers, a follow up survey was sent in May 2021 to the three former cohorts of participants (n=61), and responses were received from 37 of them. The survey asked participants to reflect on areas that they felt most prepared for in their academic positions, and areas that they felt least prepared for. The survey also asked participants to discuss additional supports they would have liked to have been provided with to better prepare them given their current positions (academic, industry, etc.). Results from the survey indicated that 92% of participants found the professional development program prepared them for the responsibilities and expectations to succeed in academic positions. Over 90% agreed that the program prepared them for the application process for a tenure track search, and 89% agreed the program prepared them for the primary components of the startup package. In addition, participants reported that the program increased their preparation in developing teaching philosophy (100%), developing learning outcomes (97%), and using active learning strategies during teaching (91%). The majority agreed that the program helped prepare them to teach students with various cultural backgrounds, and to develop and use assessment strategies. Participants were also asked to discuss the impact of the Covid 19 pandemic on their career trajectory, and most of them reported being somewhat impacted (65%) to extremely impacted (29%). Participants reported few or no job openings, cancelations of interviews, delays in research which impacted the rate of completing degrees, and publications, which affected the participants’ application competitiveness. Furthermore, working from home and balancing family and academic responsibilities affected their productivity. Based on the survey results, funds were secured to provide an additional day of professional training to cover any items not addressed during summer training, as well as any issues, challenges, or concerns they might have encountered while fulfilling their academic position. Thirty-three ACADEME fellows have indicated that they will participate in the new professional development, held in May 2022. Results from this analysis, and preliminary topics and outcomes of the supplemental activities are discussed. The findings contribute to the literature by increasing knowledge of specific challenges that new faculty encounter and can inform future efforts to support minorities and women in engineering doctoral programs.more » « less
Global competition, changes in manufacturing/automation and desire for more sophisticated technology has increased the demand of graduates in STEM fields. Although the graduation of technically competent individuals with diverse backgrounds can help the US regain its competitive advantage, a large percentage of the population is left untapped. In engineering, women, racial and ethnic minorities, and persons with disabilities are classified as underrepresented minorities. In addition to the disparity in industry, diversity in faculty and academic administration positions lags, which can marginalize or prevent full participation of underrepresented groups graduating in engineering disciplines. This paper will provide a brief overview of our approach and update of a National Science Foundation (NSF) sponsored collaborative project to broaden the participation of underrepresented engineering minorities in engineering academia by providing participants with an improved skill set for entry into a faculty position. The project has completed three, two-week summer intensive professional trainings that provided participants with skills for entry into a faculty position and recently started the third year of mentoring. The first summer intensive professional preparation was held at The University of Akron and had 13 ACADEME (Advancing Career in Academics with Diversity and Mentorship in Engineering) Fellows from The University of Akron, universities in the same geographical region, and from the collaborating institutions. Modifications to the advertising approach were successful; yielding applicants from across the country and increased participation. The second summer professional preparation held at the University of Houston had 27 ACADEME Fellows while the third training held at Mississippi State University had 25 ACADEME Fellows. This paper highlights the assessment results from the three professional trainings, includes details as to which project activities have worked, and first-hand accounts of how the program benefited Fellows securing academic positions.more » « less
In engineering, women, racial and ethnic minorities, and persons with disabilities are classified as underrepresented minorities. Although strides have been made at the undergraduate level, diversity in faculty and academic administration positions still lags. This paper will present our approach and preliminary results of a National Science Foundation (NSF) sponsored collaborative project to broaden the participation of underrepresented engineering minorities in engineering academia by providing participants with an improved skill set for entry into a faculty position. This project, comprised of a two-week intensive summer professional preparation training in conjunction with year-long activities, built upon the findings of a previous NSF 1.5-day workshop. The specific goals of the project include: 1. increase the awareness of what is "needed" to be an assistant professor; 2. quantify the specific areas PhD students and post-docs identified they need the most assistance with; 3. increase participant knowledge on effective STEM undergraduate learning; 4. advance the awareness and skills pertaining to curriculum development, delivery and assessment; 5. enhance the establishment of a research career; and 6. increase participant networking opportunities. Achievement of these goals will yield a more diverse and better prepared set of engineering educators, leading to better-equipped engineers entering the workforce. The first summer intensive professional preparation had 12 participants from the host institution, universities in the same geographical regions as the host, and from the collaborating institutions. Seventy-five percent of the ACADEME (Advancing Career in Academics with Diversity and Mentorship in Engineering) Fellows strongly agreed that the summer training content was useful for his/her professional development and 100% agreed that they would recommend the program to their peers. In addition to providing the assessment results from the first summer professional training, this paper includes recommendations from ACADEME Fellows for enhancing future summer sessions, results of a survey of a non-cohort group, lessons learned from recruiting, and the most effective activities during the academic year.more » « less