T9-BR1-1 - Pathways into Engineering Education Research

Panels / Special Sessions
Kelly Cross1 , Karin Jensen2, Julie Martin3
1 University of Nevada Reno
2 University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign
3 Ohio State University


Kelly J. Cross, PhD
Assistant Professor, Chemical and Materials Engineering
University of Nevada Reno
1664 N. Virginia St. M/S 0388
Reno, NV 89557
Phone: (775) 682-9833

Karin J. Jensen, PhD
Teaching Assistant Professor, Bioengineering
University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign
1406 W. Green Street
Urbana, IL 61801
Phone: (217) 333-1867

Julie Martin, PhD
Associate Professor, Dept of Engineering Education
Ohio State University
2070 Neil Ave
Columbus, OH 43210
Phone: (614) 247-8953 
Goals: The goal of the session is to elicit community feedback on what support is needed for engineering faculty interested in conducting engineering education research (EER). Upon completion of the workshop, attendees will be able to: (a) define and describe the current state of the EER community; (b) define and identify interactions needed for successful mentor/mentee relationships; and (c) define and identify barriers to successful mentor/mentee relationships that prevent engineering faculty from becoming engaged members of the EER community.

Justification: Engineering faculty bring an important perspective to engineering education research (EER), yet they rarely receive formal training or mentorship in EER or approaches to implement research based instructional strategies (RBIS). STEM faculty exploring teaching innovation has been linked to improved student development and outcomes. Therefore, it is important to understand how engineering faculty implement EER paradigms and practices to improve teaching and learning in engineering. The practice of conducting EER by engineering faculty trained in traditional disciplines requires the acquisition of skills and knowledge, engagement in the community, and the ability to overcome barriers. Some barriers include knowledge gaps in the scholarship of teaching and learning, paradigm shifts in learning EER methods, imposter syndrome or limited access to engineering education researchers. Restricted or inadequate interactions with experienced engineering education researchers can lead to less than the desired teaching and student outcomes. Overcoming these barriers and successfully training engineering faculty as engineering education researchers through direct mentorship will expand and diversify engineering education research community. Specifically, this session explores effective mentoring approaches that support the transition of engineering faculty into engineering education researchers by studying the direct mentor-mentee dynamics.

Since 2016, the NSF has invested approximately $6.9 million in the PFE: RIEF program. The PFE: RIEF program was established to increase the community of engineering researchers conducting EER and support research in the professional formation of engineers (PFE). In the program, engineering faculty with little or no experience conducting social science research are mentored by an engineering education researcher; the mentor and mentee work collaboratively on a two-year project. Despite the ongoing investment, there is a dearth of research to evaluate how the mentorship of engineering faculty by engineering education researchers is successful. Recent research suggest that the concept of mentoring has evolved and reflects the role of diversity and inclusion in engineering. The proposed session will identify characteristics of successful mentoring practices and explore how to build productive relationships between engineering faculty in traditional disciplines and engineering education researchers.

Interaction: The session consist of an open dialogue with community members about the pathways to bring engineering faculty into the EER community. The session will be a guided discussion where participants will complete a GROW activity from both the mentee and mentor perspective. https://www.performanceconsultants.com/grow-model

Session Description: The workshop is part of a larger study to understand how to build successful mentoring relationships to broaden the engineering education research community. This workshop will begin by providing an overview of the history and current state of the engineering education community. Specifically, we will summarize current pathways into the EER community including the growing PhD programs around the country, the NSF RIEF and Building Capacity in STEM programs, and informal relationships or interdisciplinary collaborations. Next, the participants will engage in a guided discussion using a conceptual model to capture the current community members’ perspective about the role of mentoring in creating pathways into the EER community. The session will conclude with a debriefing process to ensure accurate capturing of feedback, a brief overview of next steps of the project, and a few synthesizing comments.

Agenda: This will be an 80-minute interactive workshop organized as follows: Introductions and overview (5 minutes), Current EER community (15 minutes), Community perspective on incoming EER mentees: GROW exercise (25 minutes), Community perspective on incoming EER mentors: GROW exercise (25 minutes), Summary and Wrap-up (10 minutes)