Improving Student Experiences to Increase Student Engagement (ISE-2) was awarded by NSF through the EEC –Engineering Diversity Activities unit. ISE-2 created a faculty development program that focuses on implicit biases and active learning, with the expectation that it can increase student engagement, success, and retention. Further, we expect these positive effects will be stronger for underrepresented minority (URM) students, women students, and first generation student than for other students. This poster will summarize the first year of the project, emphasizing the structure of the faculty development program and the research methods.
Ten engineering faculty joined the program for Summer 2017. The program had two major components: three workshops (2-3 hours) and six informal “coffee conversations”. Attendance was required at all three workshops, but faculty could choose which coffee hours to attend.
Overview of workshop content. The first workshop (early May) began with an overview of the program and a framework for teaching in a diverse classroom. Most of the session focused on social cognitive biases and the behaviors that arise from them, including topics like implicit and explicit bias and microaggressions. The second workshop (mid-May) covered the basics of how students learn in the classroom, which demonstrated the need for active learning strategies; these strategies were the primary focus of the workshop. The third workshop (early August) refocused on the framework for teaching in a diverse classroom and preparation for applying the program material to establish student-centered instruction.
Between the second and third workshops, near-weekly coffee hours were held to encourage continued engagement with the program and the material. These six coffee hours fostered conversation among the program members regarding the ISE-2 topics. The majority of faculty members attended at least one session. Session topics included: teamwork; informal assessment; implicit bias in exam questions; microaggressions; study skills; and, preparing for course redevelopment.
Overview of evaluation plan. The evaluation has several components. First is focus groups with the ISE-2 faculty, which will be held in late October 2017, to obtain feedback about the sessions and learn about faculty experiences implementing and applying the ISE-2 tactics and information. Second is a comparison of student engagement and classroom climate, based on student surveys, from students in ISE-2 professors’ classes and in comparison classes. Finally, we will examine student retention and success in the College of Engineering, evaluating student grades and student retention in the 2nd and 3rd years in the program and whether participating in ISE-2 faculty-led classes influences those.
Future of ISE-2. The study will run through Summer 2019, with another cohort of faculty participating in the faculty development program in Summer 2018. Each summer will consist of workshops and coffee conversations with the intervention group, with follow-up focus groups in the fall semester.
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