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ENABLING ENGINEERING STUDENT SUCCESS The Final Report for the Center for the Advancement of Engineering Education Cynthia J. Atman, Sheri D. Sheppard, Jennifer Turns, Robin S. Adams, Lorraine N. Fleming, Reed Stevens, Ruth A. Streveler, Karl A. Smith, Ronald L. Miller, Larry J. Leifer, Ken Yasuhara, and Dennis Lund MORGAN CLAYPOOL & P U B L I S H E R SExecutive Summary 1 Executive Summary Today‘s engineering graduates will solve tomorrow‘s problems in a world that is advancing faster and facing more critical challenges than ever before. This situation creates significant demand for engineering education to evolve in order to effectively prepare a diverse community of engineers for these challenges. Such concerns have led to the publication of visionary reports that help orient the work of those committed to the success of engineering education. Research in engineering education is central to all of these visions. The Need Research on the student experience is fundamental to informing the evolution of engineering education. A broad understanding of the engineering student experience involves thinking about diverse academic pathways, navigation of these pathways, and decision points—how students choose engineering programs, navigate through their programs, and then move on to jobs and careers. Further, looking at students‘ experiences broadly entails not just thinking about their learning (i.e., skill and knowledge development in both technical and professional areas) but also their motivation, their identification with engineering, their confidence, and their choices after graduation. In actuality, there is not one singular student experience, but rather many experiences. Research on engineering student experiences can look into systematic differences across demographics, disciplines, and campuses; gain insight into the experiences of underrepresented students; and create a rich portrait of how students change from first year through graduation. Such a broad understanding of the engineering student experience can serve as inspiration for designing innovative curricular experiences that support the many and varied pathways that students take on their way to becoming an engineer. However, an understanding of the engineering student experience is clearly not enough to create innovation in engineering education. We need educators who are capable of using the research on the student experience. This involves not only preparing tomorrow‘s educators with conceptions of teaching that enable innovation but also understanding how today‘s educators make teaching decisions. We also need to be concerned about creating the capacity to do such research—in short, we need more researchers. One promising approach is to work with educators who are interested in engaging in research, supporting them as they negotiate the space between their current activities and their new work in engineering education research. To fully support this process, we must also investigate what is required for educators to engage in such a path. The Center The Center for the Advancement of Engineering Education (CAEE) began research in January 2003 as one of two national higher-education Centers for Teaching and Learning funded by the National Science Foundation that year. Two divisions of the NSF provided support: Engineering Education and Centers (Engineering Directorate) and the Division of Undergraduate Education (Education & Human Resources Directorate). Originally funded for 2003–2007, supplementary funds from the Engineering Directorate allowed additional analysis and dissemination to continue through 2010. 2 Enabling Engineering Student Success This report describes the work of CAEE—work that addresses the issues highlighted above. CAEE engaged in four threads of activity:  Academic Pathways Study (APS, 2003–2010)  Studies of Engineering Educator Decisions (SEED, 2006–2010)  Engineering Teaching Portfolio Program (ETPP, 2003–2006)  Institute for Scholarship on Engineering Education (ISEE, 2003–2008) These activities all involved an emphasis on the people in the engineering education system: students, educators, and researchers. The Center activities involved concurrent and interwoven emphasis on both research and capacity building. For example, while the first two efforts (APS and SEED) focused on research and the second two (ETPP and ISEE) were primarily capacity-building efforts, significant capacity-building outcomes were part of the first two efforts, and the last two efforts addressed important research questions. Finally, our activities were not only motivated by a desire to support future innovation, but themselves involved innovation—from the scale of the Academic Pathways Study, to the novelty of the Studies of Engineering Educator Decisions, to the emphasis on diversity in the Engineering Teaching Portfolio Program, and the flexibility of the Institute model. Below, we summarize CAEE‘s findings and outcomes, followed by highlights from our efforts to disseminate the results, including a set of research instruments and other materials that are available for use by others. We conclude with a look ahead at next steps and some questions for future research. The Learning Experiences of Undergraduate Engineering Students: The Academic Pathways Study (APS) The primary goal of the Academic Pathways Study was to create a rich and wide-ranging portrait of the undergraduate engineering learning experience, using multiple research methods and relying on the students‘ own words for much of the data. Specific research questions focused on four areas:  Skills: How do students‘ engineering design skills and understanding of engineering practice develop and/or change over time?  Identity: How do students come to identify themselves as engineers? How do these identities change as they navigate their education?  Education: What elements of students‘ engineering educations contribute to changes examined in the skills and identity questions above?  Workplace: How do students conceive of their careers? What skills do early-career engineers need as they enter the workplace? The Academic Pathways Study addressed these questions with a large, multi-faceted research effort that generated a broad and varied set of results. To summarize, the various components of the APS included the following:  over 5,400 students from around the country  multiple research methods (both quantitative and qualitative), including surveys, structured and semi-structured (ethnographic) interviews, engineering design tasks, and focus groups  a four-year longitudinal study at four institutions Executive Summary 3  a broad, national survey at 21 institutions  an additional collaboration with National Survey of Student Engagement (NSSE) researchers that enabled a broad comparison of engineering undergraduates with those in other majors (N 11,000)  a study of over 100 newly hired engineering graduates and 15 of their managers at 14 companies and organizations In this report, we provide not only details of the APS findings, but also information about the scope of the study and the specific analyses that led to the findings. In looking at our results, we expect that different people in the engineering community will have different reactions. Some findings confirm common beliefs, while others might contradict the reader‘s own experiences or otherwise challenge expectations. Many of the findings have multiple interpretations, and not all findings are directly actionable in the same way. A distinctive feature of this body of findings, besides the scope of the work, is that all of the results are grounded in data from a set of rigorously designed and conducted studies. To aid the reader, we have grouped the APS results by various aspects of the student experience. Persistence in Engineering and Comparison with Other Majors Persistence in engineering majors is comparable to that in other majors; in other words, students who start in engineering majors tend to stick with their majors as much as students in other fields. Even so, those who persist may have significant and important doubts about staying in their engineering majors. Those who leave engineering majors are disproportion- ately from groups underrepresented in engineering, including first-generation college attendees. This results in a less diverse graduating class. In addition, few students migrate into engineering majors after starting college, resulting in a net loss of students of more than 15% (greater than most other majors). This low in-migration is partly related to the curricular inflexibility and overloaded nature of some program structures. Students who do not begin college as engineering majors need to take key prerequisites, which often necessitates extending their undergraduate studies by one or more terms. Noteworthy, however, is that some 10% of engineering graduates do migrate into engineering, and this group has strong representation of underrepresented groups (and therefore can contribute to diversifying engineering). We also see that there are multiple pathways into engineering, and supporting less-traveled pathways has the potential for broadening participation in engineering. Students should be encouraged to explore and choose pathways through early-college experiences that are tied to key motivational factors and that let students ―try engineering out.‖ Students can (and do) learn about engineering through multiple sources—e.g., relationships with faculty, advisors, and peers; coursework; co-op/internship experiences; and extracurricular activities. Motivation Students are motivated to study engineering by a variety of factors, such as psychological/ personal reasons, a desire to contribute to the social good, financial security, or, in some cases, seeing engineering as a stepping stone to another profession. Some factors are strong among all engineering students—for example, intrinsic psychological and behavioral motivation. Some factors have more influence with one demographic group than another. For example, being motivated by mentors is stronger among women, whereas being motivated by the ―making‖ and ―doing‖ aspects of engineering (behavioral motivation) is stronger among men. 4 Enabling Engineering Student Success Motivation is related to several important outcomes. For first-year students, enjoyment of engineering for its own sake (psychological motivation) is correlated with intention to complete an engineering major, and, for seniors, it predicts intention to enter into engineering work or graduate school. Given these relationships, it is important for everyone responsible for engineering education to better understand the nature of student motivation and how it might be leveraged to attract a wide variety of students to engineering and to provide them with opportunities to explore different aspects of engineering. The Many Ways That Engineering Students Experience College Just as motivation to study engineering is not identical for all students, neither is the way students construct and experience their college education—i.e., how they combine coursework and extracurricular involvement; how they engage in co-op, internship, and research opportunities; and how they make decisions about their future. Some students desire significant engagement in everything they do, others are more selective in their patterns of involvement, and some seem largely uninvolved in out-of-classroom activities. Even students who follow similar academic paths may experience their education differently. For example, students differentially experience curricular overload or pressure to represent their demographic group. Some of these trends are related to gender or underrepresented racial/ethnic minority (URM) status, whereas others are more aligned with underlying motivation and confidence factors. Still others may be influenced by programmatic structures and institutional settings. These findings suggest opportunities for improved advising and curricular program design, based on a deeper understanding of what students desire from their college education and the many ways they go about constructing and experiencing this education. Learning about Engineering, Becoming an Engineer Students develop an engineering identity and learn about engineering from a variety of sources: co-op and internship experiences, their coursework and instructors, extracurricular activities, and personal contacts. We observed that these sources vary little by gender or URM status. On the one hand, APS findings showed that students were learning about engineering: By their senior year, most engineering students saw problem solving, communications, teamwork, and engineering analysis as key engineering competences and were using more engineering-specific language to express technical ideas. However, comparing juniors and seniors to first-years and sophomores, we saw that the more advanced students did not exhibit greater attentiveness to the broad context of engineering design problems (though women considered broad context more so than men on some engineering design tasks). In addition, seniors did not perceive professional and interpersonal skills (e.g., leadership, teamwork, communication, and business ability) as being any more important than did their first-year counterparts, even having had project- based learning, design experiences, and, possibly, co-op or internship experiences. These findings suggest that the typical engineering curriculum may not be doing enough to help students carry what they learn in first- and second-year math and science courses into the more engineering-focused classes in their latter years. These gaps suggest that some students fail to integrate the knowledge they are gaining about engineering from the various sources and across their years of study into a more complex, complete understanding of what it means to be an engineer. Furthermore, students do not always successfully transfer specific course knowledge and skills to real- world problems and settings. For instance, they may not anticipate how the teamwork skills they develop in courses using project-based learning are applied when working as an intern on a globally distributed design team. Alternatively, they may not recognize that the Executive Summary 5 organizational skills needed to manage multiple projects in their co-op assignment are similar in nature to the skills they learned in leading a student organization. Developing the Whole Learner Engineering students report experiencing considerable intellectual growth during their undergraduate years; they learn to apply key math and science support tools, and learn to take on substantial challenges in their design work. In addition, their college studies promote gains in confidence in many of the professional and practical skills increasingly called for in practice. However, studying engineering may mean students are not able to take advantage of other parts of a college education. For example, engineering students report lower gains in personal growth and fewer opportunities to study abroad than students in other majors. Some engineering students also report a sense of curricular overload. In addition, when compared with first-year students, seniors are less involved in engineering courses, are less satisfied with their instructors (though they interact with them more frequently) and are less satisfied overall with their college experience. In spite of these relative differences, seniors reported having significant learning experiences, especially those that were in-depth and presented them with a challenge. Positioning for Professional Success: Student Plans About 30% of the engineering students we studied had post-graduation plans focused exclusively on engineering (work and/or graduate school). These students were strongly motivated to study engineering for intrinsic psychological reasons and were likely to have had co-op and/or internship experiences. In general, these same students were among those who were less confident in their professional and interpersonal skills than those considering non-engineering professional endeavors post-graduation. Most other students conceived of their careers as combining engineering and non- engineering components. Some of these students expected different degrees of engineering specificity in their work, changing as their careers progressed. Others may still have been uncertain, even as graduation approached, as to whether an engineering or non-engineering path would be the best fit for them. These patterns might also have been influenced by the focus of the institution that students attended. In any case, faculty, staff, and programmatic structures generally do little to acknowledge (much less support and advise) students looking at combining engineering and non-engineering endeavors in their career plans. Early Experiences in the Work World Those students who enter the work world after graduating face challenges on multiple fronts. They find that the problems they are solving are more complex and ambiguous than the problems they solved in school. The structures of their new work environments are unfamiliar and multi-faceted, and it can be difficult for newly hired engineers to find the information they need. Sometimes, recently hired graduates feel that they are not allowed sufficient exposure to the ―big picture‖ of where they and their work activities fit into the goals of the work group or company. These new hires also find that they are working with larger, more diverse teams than they experienced in school—teams that are composed of engineers and non-engineers, coworkers, and customers or clients. They must often learn new terminology and new communication skills. 6 Enabling Engineering Student Success Beyond the Academic Pathways Study We hope the new insights about engineering student pathways gained through APS research, coupled with practice-related questions provided in Subsection 2.10, will facilitate reflection, stimulate discussion, and eventually inform action on campuses across the country. The APS team has already engaged multiple communities in productive discussions facilitated in multiple formats at a variety of major conferences. Better understanding the diversity in the experiences of our students will inform how we design, deliver, and improve engineering education. This diversity in student experiences brings to mind questions about how teachers accommodate such a wide range of student goals, choices, and pathways. As discussed next, another component of CAEE‘s research addressed aspects of the teaching of engineering. Investigating Faculty Approaches to Teaching: Studies of Engineering Educator Decisions (SEED) In the Studies of Engineering Educator Decisions work, we sought to gain insight into engineering teaching using an innovative approach: the collection and analysis of narratives about teaching decisions. To do this, we interviewed 31 engineering educators about two decisions that they had made: a planning decision (a decision made in advance of teaching) and an interactive decision (a decision made in the moment). Our interview protocol was designed based on principles from the Critical Decision Method, an approach used to study decision making in other domains. We then used the resulting narratives about the decisions and how they were made to investigate a variety of questions related to engineering teaching.  In analyzing the decision narratives to better understand educator decision-making, we found that most participants reacted positively to the emphasis on decisions and decision making, and that all were able to provide rationale for their decisions (with both time and allusions to prior decisions as common features of their rationale). We also learned that the participants collectively mentioned a variety of sources of information as being useful in decision making (although research was infrequently mentioned as a source), and we identified five patterns in terms of satisfaction with their teaching decisions.  Looking beyond their decision processes and toward what additional information the decision narratives could reveal, we analyzed the narratives to explore educators‘ use of teaching practices that are considered effective at helping students develop intrinsic motivation to learn. In this analysis, we found that engineering educators reported using a variety of teaching practices that are known to increase student motivation to learn, such as helping students see the relevance of material, helping students feel connected to the learning group, and helping students experience productive levels of engagement and challenge. We found less frequent mention of providing students with opportunities for autonomy, enabling all students to feel respected, and providing students with opportunities to demonstrate their growing competence.  Driven by the broad issue of how engineering educators conceptualize engineering students, we analyzed the decision narratives to learn more about how engineering educators differentiate among students. In this analysis, we found that all of the educators differentiated among students at some point, that student behaviors were the most prevalent basis for differentiating among students, and that differentiation based on other dimensions (e.g., what students know, their educational classifications, their social classifications) was also prevalent but less so. Executive Summary 7  In addition to these analyses, we also investigated the benefits of engaging in research on teaching decisions. We observed that engaging in research on teaching decisions has professional development benefits for the researchers who analyzed the decision narratives, the researchers who collected the narratives, and even the educators who were asked to provide the narratives. In looking ahead, we believe the outcomes of this research may be useful for faculty development personnel in helping them to better understand their faculty clients. Additionally, the decision narratives themselves can be used by faculty developers to initiate fruitful discussions with faculty on problematic teaching issues. We also believe that these results represent a starting point for additional research. Variations of this work could focus on collecting decision narratives related to specific constraints (e.g., decisions about assessment, decisions about student projects, decisions in working with freshman). In Section 3 of this report, we also offer a variety of more specific research questions that could be explored. Finally, there are opportunities to bring these ideas together—for projects featuring not only the collection and analysis of decision narratives in specific domains but also active efforts to leverage (and document) the collection and analysis activities as professional development. Supporting the Development of Future Faculty: Engineering Teaching Portfolio Program (ETPP) The Engineering Teaching Portfolio Program was designed to assist engineering graduate students with an interest in teaching by advancing their thinking about teaching through the development and peer-based discussion of teaching portfolios. Each student‘s portfolio consisted of a teaching philosophy statement, a diversity statement, and several annotated teaching artifacts. Significant ETPP outcomes include a comprehensive set of curricular and supplemental materials that are available for others to use, approximately 100 program ―graduates,‖ and several small-scale spinoff efforts. In addition, the program‘s research component informed the development of the curricular materials and can be used by others interested in supporting graduate students. ETPP is notable in the way it embeds opportunities to learn about teaching in the production of something inherently desirable to future faculty (the portfolio), includes conversations about diversity in prominent ways, and involves a way of talking about teaching that supports participation by people with a wide range of prior experiences. Our experiences with multiple offerings of ETPP suggest that the educational power of portfolio construction comes from consideration of the significant questions that can be associated with portfolio construction (e.g., who am I talking to, what exactly do I want to say about my teaching, who judges teaching, how do I provide evidence of my strengths as a teacher, what counts as ―good‖ teaching). Potential future work with ETPP includes more extensive data analysis to better understand how participants benefit from program participation, as well as additional program offerings and integration of APS results into the curriculum and supplemental materials. 8 Enabling Engineering Student Success Building Engineering Education Research Capacity and Community: Institute for Scholarship on Engineering Education (ISEE) The Institute for Scholarship on Engineering Education (ISEE) sought to cultivate a diverse community of engineering education researchers. In addition, the team formulated principles and models for advancing this community of scholars. Three cycles of the Institute for Scholarship on Engineering Education were held. The three cycles involved a total of 49 engineering education researchers (Institute ―Scholars‖) representing 20 institutions. Twenty (40%) were women and 17 (36%) were underrepresented minorities. All academic ranks (and other roles) were represented: 6 full professors; 12 associate professors; 9 assistant professors; 13 graduate students; and 9 staff members, including administrators and advisors. Each ISEE cycle consisted of five main phases: (1) designing and/or adapting the Institute model, (2) recruiting Scholars for the current year‘s Institute, (3) a week-long Summer Summit kick-off event at the host school, (4) activities during the academic year to support Scholars in conducting their studies, and (5) a culminating Leadership Summit event. The Summer Summit was designed to engage the Scholars in the process of engineering education research, introducing many to new techniques and ideas in educational research. Activities and discussions during the Summit helped Scholars refine their research questions, decide on appropriate methodology, and, very importantly, to form a community that could be sustained beyond the week-long meeting. After the Summit, Scholars typically returned to their respective campuses to conduct their research, with frequent electronic communication and interaction with fellow Scholars and the ISEE team. Each Institute had a different theme. The individual projects for the 2004–2005 Institute primarily focused on classroom changes under the broad theme of ―classroom as lab.‖ For the 2005–2006 Institute, Scholars worked on projects aimed at impact on engineering education at their campus (i.e., a theme of ―campus as lab‖). The 2006–2007 theme was ―Advancing Engineering Education Research to Meet the Needs of the 21st Century.‖ Scholars were recruited through a competitive, national application process and were asked explicitly to consider issues of diversity in their projects. As such, the focus of the 2006– 2007 Institute was ―nation as lab.‖ The Institutes had a powerful impact on the participating Scholars in three broad areas: building skills, knowledge, and experience; broadening their career paths; and helping to foster their membership in the broader community of engineering education researchers. In terms of impact on their institutions, Scholars‘ projects addressed existing concerns on several campuses. Examples include examining a set of engineering fundamentals courses on one campus, investigating the benefits of ―empowering‖ students at another campus, and supporting Hispanic students transferring from community colleges. ISEE served as a model for others interested in organizing similar community-building activities. A paper describing the design of the Institutes and an example schedule for the week-long kick-off event are available on the CAEE web site. Finally, a research study of 13 engineering education researchers detailed two significant aspects of their pathways into the field of engineering education research: the importance of a community of practice perspective and the development of composite identity. This study further extended our understanding of capacity building for engineering education research. Executive Summary 9 Getting the Word Out: Publications, Presentations, Research and Program Resources, and People The CAEE team recognized from the outset that a significant part of our mission was to get the word out about the work of the Center. A fundamental part of this activity was sharing news about the research and results with as wide a variety of audiences and in as many different venues as possible. These dissemination activities began early in the life of the Center and are continuing after the formal end of the grant period. From January 2003 to June 2010, CAEE productivity included  over 130 papers and journal articles in both engineering education and education publications;  9 plenary, keynote, and invited presentations at national conferences and meetings;  9 conference special sessions; and  more than 25 workshops to a wide variety of audiences. In addition to published research findings and presentations, CAEE created a set of materials that can be used by others in conducting their own research. These materials include two surveys, four sets of interview protocols, two engineering design task exercises, and program design and materials for ETPP and ISEE. The Academic Pathways Study team prepared a report and complete documentation package describing the design and implementation of the APS. We have already seen that these APS tools and materials are being used extensively by other researchers. Capacity building was also a critical part of the Center‘s impact. An explicit goal in assem- bling the team was to combine researchers from both engineering and education depart- ments who had a mix of quantitative and qualitative research expertise. Over the course of the grant, the Center grew to involve 63 faculty members and staff, 41 graduate students, and almost 50 undergraduates during the period 2003–2010. As research scientists and graduate students moved on to faculty positions at other campuses, they typically continued their involvement with CAEE, spreading the Center‘s influence even further. Future Work The Academic Pathways Study results call attention to certain areas of educational research that warrant further analysis. For example, considering the diverse programs and student perspectives we observed across the institutions we studied, it makes sense that other institutions have their own nuances to be explored. We also observed substantial changes in students between their first and senior years, both in terms of learning and development. This warrants further inquiry into the middle years—the experiences of sophomore and junior level students. Further, APS longitudinal research focused on the experiences of students who spend the entirety of their undergraduate careers at one institution. However, APS cross-sectional research shows that this represents only a portion of engineering students. Studies of community college and transfer students are becoming more important as students increasingly follow this academic path. Finally, there are important questions concerning students who never consider or enter engineering. Given that the current Studies of Engineering Educator Decisions work focused on participants from a single institution, extending the research to confirm or refine findings reported here would be valuable. Such additional data could also be used to further investigate issues such as the role of research results in informing teaching decisions; the 10 Enabling Engineering Student Success relationship between satisfaction, dissatisfaction, and additional change; and the broad issue of how engineering educators conceptualize students. Building on the Engineering Teaching Portfolio Program efforts, we could further explore the ways in which the portfolio construction activities help participants reflect on their existing ideas about teaching and ultimately develop a more sophisticated, integrated, personalized, and actionable understanding of teaching. Building on research on the community of engineering education scholars that was conducted as part of the Institutes for Scholarship in Engineering Education, we could expand our investigations into how people enter and navigate the field of engineering research, even as the community itself is growing. The future work ideas above represent direct extensions of our work. In our report, we also go farther by offering a broad set of research questions organized into seven areas: questions related to (1) student pathways; (2) student learning of engineering; and (3) the role of significant learning experiences; as well as questions related to (4) engineering knowing, (5) teaching engineering, (6) researching issues in engineering education, and (7) bringing about change in engineering education. Closing Comments Engineering education is a rich and vibrant area for research, with many opportunities for in- depth scholarship that can contribute significantly to improving engineering education for many constituencies. In 2010, as CAEE comes to an end, the engineering education community is much larger, more distributed, more interdisciplinary, and has expertise in a wider range of research methods than when we began our work in 2003. CAEE contributed to this expanding field during our seven years of funding, not only through the generation of a rich body of research results, but also by demonstrating the scope of research and program activity that a large center is uniquely capable of accomplishing. CAEE also contributed to the growth of the engineering education community through the many individuals who were involved directly and collaboratively with the Center and through the community-building efforts of ISEE. We feel that CAEE has been a significant contributor to growth in these areas, as well as to important efforts of helping to use research findings to improve engineering education. As the engineering education community moves forward, we anticipate further research-based improvements to engineering education, ensuring that a diverse cadre of engineering graduates are prepared for the challenges they will face in the coming years. Introduction 11 1 Introduction 1.1 Situating Our Work Today‘s engineering graduates will solve tomorrow‘s problems in a world that is advancing faster and facing more critical challenges than ever before. This situation creates significant demand for engineering education to evolve in order to effectively prepare a diverse community of engineers for these challenges. Such concerns have led to the publication of visionary reports that help orient the work of those committed to the success of engineering education. For example, the Engineer of 2020 (National Academy of Engineering 2004) offers a blueprint for the knowledge and skills future engineers will need in order function effectively in the future. Creating a Culture for Scholarly and Systematic Innovation in Engineering Education (Jamieson and Lohmann 2009) emphasizes the need for a culture of innovation in engineering education in order to create and disseminate educational activities and curricula that are effective at preparing students for the future. Engineering for a Changing World (Duderstadt 2008) presents a systems perspective on innovation, locating innovation not just within the curriculum but within a larger framework that is composed of engineering education and engineering practice. Research in engineering education is central to all of the visions described in these reports. Research can shed light on how students develop their competencies, the effectiveness of innovations, and how a systems perspective affects the endeavor. The report Educating Engineers: Designing for the Future of the Field (Sheppard et al. 2008) represents a significant contribution to this research space, with its goal to ―understand, through field research, how the educational practices of the schools form future engineers.‖ (p. xix). A broad sense of the research needed for engineering education was addressed by the NSF- sponsored conversations referred to as the Colloquies on Engineering Education (Adams et al. 2006). Research on the student experience is a fundamental kind of research for informing the evolution of engineering education. A broad understanding of the engineering student experience involves thinking about pathways, navigation, and decision Research on the student points—how students choose engineering programs, navigate experience is a fundamental through their programs, and then move on to jobs and kind of research for enabling innovation in engineering careers. Further, looking at students‘ experiences broadly education. entails not just thinking about their learning (i.e., skill and knowledge development in both technical and professional areas) but also their motivation, their identification with engineering, their confidence, and their choices after graduation. In actuality, there is not one singular student experience, but rather many experiences. Research on the engineering student experience can look into systematic differences across gender, disciplines, and campuses; gain insight into the experiences of underrepresented students; and create a rich portrait of the changes from students‘ first year through graduation. Such a broad understanding of the engineering student experience can serve as 12 Enabling Engineering Student Success inspiration for designing innovative curricular experiences that support the many and varied pathways that students take on their way to becoming an engineer. However, an understanding of the engineering student experience is clearly not enough to create innovation. For example, we need educators who can use the research in the context of their own teaching and broader teaching innovations. We need educators who are prepared to innovate, which in turn requires being prepared to use the research on the student experience. This involves not only preparing tomorrow‘s educators with conceptions of teaching that enable such innovation but also understanding how today‘s educators make teaching decisions. We also need to be concerned about creating the capacity to do such research—we need more researchers. While this can involve dedicated programs to train Ph.D. level researchers, we need additional innovative ways to create capacity. One promising approach is to work with educators who are interested in engaging in research, supporting them as they negotiate the space between their current activities and their new work in engineering education research. To fully support this process, we must also investigate what is required for educators to engage in such a path. This report describes the work of the Center for the Advancement of Engineering Education (CAEE)—work that addresses the issues highlighted above. CAEE engaged in four threads of activity:  Academic Pathways Study (APS, 2003–2010)  Studies of Engineering Educator Decisions (SEED, 2006–2010)  Engineering Teaching Portfolio Program (ETPP, 2003–2006)  Institute for Scholarship on Engineering Education (ISEE, 2003–2008) These activities all involved an emphasis on the people in the engineering education system: students, educators, and researchers. The Center activities involved concurrent and interwoven emphasis on both research and capacity building. For example, while the first two efforts (APS and SEED) focused on research and the second two (ETPP and ISEE) were primarily capacity-building efforts, significant capacity-building outcomes were part of the first two efforts, and the last two efforts addressed important research questions. Finally, our activities were not only motivated by a desire to support future innovation, but themselves involved innovation—from the scale of the Academic Pathways Study, to the novelty of the Studies of Engineering Educators Decisions, to the emphasis on diversity in the Engineering Teaching Portfolio Program, and the flexibility of the Institute model. In the rest of this report, we present the results of this work. Introduction 13 1.2 A Short History of the Center 1.2.1 The Center The Center for the Advancement of Engineering Education (CAEE) began research in January 2003 as one of two national higher-education Centers for Teaching and Learning funded by the National Science Foundation that year. Two divisions of the NSF provided support: Engineering Education and Centers (Engineering Directorate) and the Division of Undergraduate Education (Education & Human Resources Directorate). Originally funded for 2003–2007, supplementary funds from the Engineering Directorate allowed additional analysis and dissemination to continue through 2010. 1.2.2 The Team CAEE began as a team of scholars from Colorado School of Mines, Howard University, Stanford University, the University of Minnesota, and the University of Washington (the lead institution). During the course of the grant, the team grew to The CAEE team included over include researchers from other institutions including Purdue 100 faculty members, research scientists, graduate students, University, Olin College of Engineering, Virginia Tech, University and staff, as well as almost 50 of Illinois at Champaign-Urbana, and the University of undergraduate students. Rochester. Over the duration of the grant, team members included 63 faculty, research scientists, and staff; 41 graduate research assistants; and almost 50 undergraduates who were involved in the research. 1.2.3 The Research Over 5,700 individuals (including CAEE research was focused on the broad areas of undergraduate students, graduate students, early-career  the engineering undergraduate learning experience and engineers, practicing educators, school-to-work transition, faculty, and administrators)  understanding engineering educator teaching decisions, participated in CAEE activities.  the professional development of engineering graduate students using teaching portfolios, and  activities and models for expanding the engineering education research community. These areas aligned with four major strands of the research which are described below: The Academic Pathways Study (APS, 2003–2010), led by Sheri Sheppard, represented the most in-depth portion of CAEE‘s research with approximately 80% of the personnel resources. APS activities included the longitudinal (160 participants) and cross-sectional (over 4,200 participants) studies of engineering undergraduates‘ learning experiences. In addition, over 100 early career engineers and several of their managers participated in investigations of the transition to work. The APS also included smaller-scale, targeted studies that examined specific aspects of engineering student learning and experiences. The Studies of Engineering Educator Decisions (SEED, 2006–2010), led by Jennifer Turns, investigated the teaching decisions of 31 engineering faculty using a semi-structured 14 Enabling Engineering Student Success interview protocol. Participants represented nine engineering departments and a range of academic ranks from non-tenure track to assistant, associate and full professors (with several also serving in administrative positions). The sample included nine women. The Engineering Teaching Portfolio Program (ETPP, 2003–2006), led by Jennifer Turns and Angela Linse, was designed to use teaching portfolios to enhance the professional development of engineering graduate students. In iterative development of the ETPP, the team used a semi-structured interview protocol and field observations with over 100 participants. The curriculum and supplemental materials were outcomes of this study, in addition to the research findings. The Institute for Scholarship on Engineering Education (ISEE, 2003–2008), led by Robin Adams, conducted three year-long Institutes that were specifically designed to expand the engineering education research community (involving 49 researchers representing 20 institutions). The design and implementation of the three Institutes served as a basis for developing models in engineering education research that can be adopted and adapted by others. Thirteen Institute Scholars also participated in a companion study of the pathways of scholars into engineering education research. 1.3 Goals of This Report and a Reader’s Guide 1.3.1 Goals of This Report This report provides an overview of the work of the CAEE team during the seven years of the grant. The report accomplishes several goals:  summarizes highlights from the findings, organized by the major themes of o the engineering student learning experience, o faculty approaches to teaching, o development of graduate students interested in teaching careers, and o building the community of engineering educators and engineering education researchers  includes references to publications for further investigation by the reader  lists key CAEE-developed materials for use by other researchers  offers two sets of questions—one that can serve as a guide for using our results locally, and a second set that discusses future research directions  serves as encouragement and a model for those undertaking similar work 1.3.2 Reader‘s Guide to the Sections Section 1 provides a general framing for our research and provides a brief overview of CAEE including the major research areas. Section 2 presents findings on undergraduates and early career engineers from the Academic Pathways Study (APS). This extensive section concludes with a summary of findings (Subsection 2.10) that includes a set of research-based ―local inquiry questions‖ (also compiled in Appendix D) that can guide efforts to improve the undergraduate engineering experience. Introduction 15 Section 3 presents findings from the research into engineering teaching (SEED, Studies of Engineering Educator Decisions). Section 4 describes the development of an innovative portfolio program and accompanying tools to support graduate students interested in teaching careers (ETPP, the Engineering Teaching Portfolio Program). Section 5 gives details and examples of community building in engineering education drawn from the Institute for Scholarship on Engineering Education (ISEE) program and the three year-long Institutes. Section 6 summarizes CAEE activities to get the word out to a variety of audiences at both local and national levels. It also provides a list of resources that were developed by the team and can be used by others. (These resources are available through the CAEE web site and include survey and interview instruments and a ―behind the scenes‖ look at the design and development of the Academic Pathways Study.) Section 7 presents ideas for further work to effect change on campuses and conduct more research. In addition, the report contains five appendices:  Appendix A: References and Cumulative Bibliography  Appendix B: Cumulative Team List and Advisory Board Members (2003–2010)  Appendix C: APS Headlines (summarizing Section 2)  Appendix D: Local Inquiry Questions (drawn from Section 2.10)  Appendix E: Looking Ahead: Ideas for Future Research (expanded from Section 7) 16 Enabling Engineering Student Success Student Learning Experiences 17 2 Student Learning Experiences: The Academic Pathways Study This section of the report discusses CAEE‘s research on the educational experiences of engineering undergraduates as examined in the Academic Pathways Study (APS). Discussion of findings is organized by the large themes that emerged during the course of analysis. In some cases, findings may not be especially surprising, but they do provide empirical confirmation and form part of the larger story. In other cases, intriguing findings bring up questions that merit further research. We hope that the range of findings we present will interest engineering educators, policy makers, and other engineering education researchers. The selected findings create a rich portrait of the learning experience of engineering undergraduates as they move through four years of school and beyond. After an overview of the APS‘s overarching research questions and methods, most of Section 2 describes a broad range of results, organized by theme. These results draw on over 100 papers based on the APS research, three dissertations, several unpublished analyses, and selected works by other researchers. The closing subsection contains broad- brush summaries of the key APS research findings that are described in greater detail in the preceding subsections. It also contains questions informed by this research for faculty, administrators, and staff to use in considering how to better support student success in following an engineering pathway through their programs. The topics covered in this section are as follows:  2.1 Overview of the APS: Research questions, samples and cohorts, methods  2.2 The College Experience: Engineering students compared to other majors  2.3 Motivation to Study Engineering: Motivational factors in choosing to study and persist in engineering  2.4 The Engineering College Experience: Educational experiences as related to demographics, confidence, motivation, and other factors  2.5 Engineering Knowledge, Conceptions, and Confidence: Understanding of and confidence in engineering, and engineering practice  2.6 Engineering Design Knowledge, Conceptions, and Confidence: Understanding of and confidence in engineering design  2.7 Looking Beyond Graduation: Student Plans: Post-graduation plans of engineering students  2.8 Looking Beyond Graduation: Experiences in the Work World: Early-career experiences in the engineering workplace  2.9 Summarizing Results about Diversity: Findings related to underrepresented students  2.10 Enabling Success for Engineering Students: Summary of the findings and questions to ask in guiding efforts to enable student success 18 Enabling Engineering Student Success 2.1 Overview of the APS The primary goal of the Academic Pathways Study was to create a rich and wide-ranging portrait of the undergraduate engineering learning experience, using a variety of research methods and relying on the students‘ own words for much of the data. The APS represents the largest portion of CAEE‘s research, with approximately 80% of the center‘s budget allocated to researcher support. During the course of the APS, over 130 faculty, research scientists, graduate and undergraduate research assistants, and staff representing 12 universities and six national organizations were involved in the research. Detailed research design began in early 2003, and data were collected during the 2003–04 through 2007–08 academic years. The original funding was from 2003 to 2007, and NSF provided supplemental funds to enable two additional years of work. Data analyses continued into 2010. The research questions being addressed by APS are listed in Table 2.1-A and consider how today‘s educational systems support students learning to be engineers. Table 2.1-A: APS research questions Focus Research question How do students‘ engineering design skills and understanding of engineering Skills practice develop and/or change over time? How do students come to identify themselves as engineers? How do these Identity identities change as they navigate their education? What elements of students‘ engineering educations contribute to changes Education examined in the skills and identity questions above? How do students conceive of their careers? What skills do early-career engineers Workplace need as they enter the workplace? 2.1.1 Individual Studies To investigate these research questions, we designed a series of longitudinal and cross- sectional studies of engineering undergraduates‘ learning experiences and transition to work. In addition, we drew on the National Survey of Student Engagement (NSSE) data set to provide the basis for a large-scale comparison between engineering students and students from other academic disciplines. Table 2.1-B summarizes the number of participants and institutions/organizations for the different studies. Following the table, the studies are described briefly, including goals, methodology, and complete duration (including initial study design, data collection, subsequent analyses, and dissemination). For a more detailed description of the APS design and methodology, see the CAEE technical report ―An Overview of the Academic Pathways Study: Research Processes and Procedures‖ (Sheppard et al. 2009; available on the CAEE web site). Student Learning Experiences 19 Table 2.1-B: APS cohorts, samples, and studies with number of participants, institutions/organizations, and methods (S: survey, I: structured and/or semi- structured (ethnographic) interview, F: focus group, O: observation, D: engineering design task) Institutions/ Data Study Participants Methods organizations collection Longitudinal Cohort 160 4 2003–2007 Broader Core Sample 842 4 2007 Broader National 4,266 21 2008 Sample (APPLES) NSSE Comparative, 11,812 247 2002–2007 Longitudinal Data Set Single-School, Cross-sectional 160 1 2005–2006 Sample Transition to 101 new hires, 14 2007–2008 Workplace Studies 15 managers Difficult Concepts 19 students, 1 2004–2006 Study 23 faculty Longitudinal Cohort (2003–2009) The Longitudinal Cohort consisted of 160 undergraduate engineering students (40 at each of four diverse campuses). The students were paid a stipend to participate in the study from 2003 to 2007, beginning with their first year in college and into their fourth year. Oversampling increased the number of participants from underrepresented groups in engineering. The initial sample comprised approximately 61% men and 39% women. Just under 60% of the participants were white or Asian-American, with the rest being from underrepresented racial/ethnic minority (URM) groups. To put these numbers into perspective, at the national level, 19.5% of engineering graduates are female, and 12% are from underrepresented racial/ethnic groups (National Science Foundation 2010; see 2006 data (most recent available) in Tables 4 and 6). The APS research team used four primary data collection methods for the Longitudinal Cohort: surveys, structured and semi-structured (ethnographic) interviews, observations, and short engineering design tasks, as described below. In addition, academic transcripts were collected for all participants, and exit interviews of those leaving an engineering major were conducted.