Cheryl Bodnar, Rowan University
Courtney Faber, University of Tennessee-Knoxville
Walter Lee, Virginia Tech
Erin McCave, University of Houston
Courtney Smith-Orr, UNC-Charlotte
This research project was made possible through a grant from the National Science Foundation.
Supporting Agency Among Early Career Engineering Education Faculty in Diverse Institutional Contexts
Faculty are at the center of many potential solutions to national and global calls for transformative improvements in STEM education. The last 20 years have seen significant advancement in understanding of how to create effective learning environments for STEM education. While many individual faculty have adopted new approaches to teaching, change has not been deep or widespread enough to make a major impact across all of STEM education. Better understanding is needed of how faculty can become change agents in order to effect this change. This study focuses on exploring the experiences of early career engineering education faculty as they attempt to impact the engineering education experiences of students locally and more broadly. By identifying the barriers and supports that affect early career faculty's abilities to take strategic and intentional actions towards achieving impact, the results of this study will enable engineering education graduate programs and national engineering education organizations to make programmatic changes to benefit future faculty. In addition, the evidence-based insights resulting from this study have the potential to expedite the on-boarding process of new engineering education faculty, promote improvements in STEM education nationally by faculty at all stages of their careers, and support the development of the field of engineering education research.
The results of this project will (1) advance the engineering education community's understanding of existing structures for facilitating change (or the lack thereof) in engineering education (2) identify barriers and supports for making change as early career engineering education faculty; and (3) develop a co-constructed understanding of how to better prepare and support faculty to exercise agency as it relates to impacting engineering education during their first few years in academic positions.