S4-PRO6-4 - Bridging Professionalism: Dispositions as Means for Relating Competency across Disciplines

3. Research Work In Progress
Stephen Frezza1 , Stephanie Adams1
1 Gannon University

In this work-in-progress submission, we unpack the learning goals related to competency development in two disparate professional disciplines: Software Engineering and Occupational Therapy. Using competency modeling as a springboard, this research uses dispositions as a means of comparing professional development goals, and as a means of comparing and contrasting the competency goals for different majors.

Leveraging recent research in competency modeling, professional competency, is structurally composed of Knowledge, Skills, Dispositions performed in a particular context. While knowledge, skills and context can vary significantly across disciplines, this paper explores how dispositions vary between two significantly different professional settings: Software Engineering (SE) and Occupational Therapy (OT).

Dispositions can be defined as patterns of behaviors that are exhibited intentionally in the absence of coercion, suggesting a habit of mind. In particular, they represent enacted values, that is, where the competent reflects how various values they hold are prioritized based on their actions in what and how professional tasks are performed.

As a particular lens into the values of the competent person, dispositions as an aspect of an educational goal also represent an assertion of what is aspirationally expected of all graduates. This paper theorizes that dispositions as aspirational goals represent a comparable point where the competencies of one discipline can be compared to between significantly different professions. The expected outcome is to further the understanding of dispositions as components of professional competency and to develop, reinforce or assess dispositions as useful, appropriate ways of expressing competency goals for SE & OT graduates.

This paper reports on progress to date towards conceptualizing and operationalizing the notion of dispositions for SE & OT graduates, and to compare and contrast these dispositional elements in order to improve modelling of well-structured and assessable competency statements. This paper reviews the research challenges faced, the models adopted and the findings.

The approach to this comparison is to leverage the competency modeling approach developed as part of the ACM/IEEE-CS Computing Curriculum 2020 Overview Project (CC2020) and reported elsewhere. These models and the theoretical framework supporting the approach will be explained. The competency model and process will be used to develop structured, comparable competency statements that represent the actual competencies expected by the two different program (SE & OT) graduates. With structured competencies described, the team will then compare and contrast the dispositions identified and explore how these dispositions are examined in the two program contexts. These comparisons will then be illustrated through