Increasing Student Engagement By Improving Social-cognitive Bias Education
Developing and maintaining outstanding STEM workers is critical to America''s global competitiveness. Innovation is limited when resources are untapped. Throughout the United States, there is a great demand for engineers and scientists who are well-trained and well-equipped for today''s STEM workforce, including the engineering professoriate. This project seeks to design, implement, and study a faculty development program that addresses two major factors influencing student retention: (a) reducing the "chilly climate" that underrepresented engineering students'' experience and (b) increasing active learning opportunities in the engineering classroom. Through the use of specialized readings, workshops, and small group discussions and activities, participating engineering faculty will be offered support on active learning instructional practices and on creating an inclusive learning environment for students from diverse backgrounds. This grant project is closely linked with current priorities of the National Science Foundation''s Broadening Participation in Engineering program. By enhancing instruction and improving the engineering classroom climate, engineering faculty are likely to create more inclusive learning environments that may increase the number of underrepresented students who pursue engineering.The investigators purport to develop a training program for engineering faculty that equip them with strategies and skills to reduce their social cognitive biases and the effects of such biases have on success outcomes for students, especially underrepresented student groups. Using a mixed-method research design, the results of the faculty development program will be analyzed at multiple levels to determine the impact the project had on engineering students and faculty. If successful, it has immense potential to improve engineering instruction and classroom climate in higher education across the country. To this end, all data collections will focus on the following:(1) Faculty reactions to the program,(2) Observed changes in instructional practice,(3) Student experiences of the classroom climate,(4) Student engagement in the classroom,(5) Student engagement in subsequent courses, and(6) Student retention in the engineering curriculum.The project is targeting components of the effort that can be easily adapted by others, by identifying the limitations that exist and the resources that are needed to scale the effort. A website will be created to provide program information to the community and workshops are planned for meetings of the Engineering Deans Council and the SEC. The project will also leverage the ADVANCE Implementation Mentors (AIM) Network to connect with the representative institutions and further encourage adaptation of the effort''s strategies and materials.