Marie Curie Fellowship, Interim Report

I’ve produced a report of the work I’ve done in the past year, and thought that readers of this blog might be interested to see it. Not the most thrilling reading, but it might be useful to other MSCA Individual Fellows to see how I’ve structured this, and what I’ve managed to achieve in twelve months as a Research Fellow at University College London.

MSCA Log of Activities conducted in the first year by MSCA IF Prof. Shannon Chance 

(01 January 2018 – 31 December 2018)

This interim report summarizes work and achievements resulting from year one of a Marie Sklodowska-Curie Actions (MSCA) fellowship provided the European Union. This fellowship runs 1 January 2018 until 31 December 2019.

Call identifier         H2020-MSCA-IF-2016

Project number      747069

Project acronym     DesignEng

Project title            Designing Engineers: Harnessing the Power of Design Projects to Spur Cognitive and Epistemological Development of STEM Students

We are delighted to report outcomes of the training and mutual learning of MSCA Research Fellow Professor Shannon Chance alongside her primary MSCA supervisor Professor Nick Tyler, her informal second MSCA supervisor Professor John Mitchell, her colleagues from University College London (UCL) and its Centre for Engineering Education (CEE), and her colleagues from Technological University Dublin (TU Dublin, formerly DIT) and its CREATE research group. The achievements identified in this report reflect the positive learning environment at the host institution (UCL) and ongoing positive relationships with the home institution (TU Dublin).

This mid-project report provides a log of activities conducted in 2018, the first 12 months of this fellowship, by MSCA Research Fellow Professor Shannon Chance. The work plan proposed in the fellowship application has been followed, and the researcher development activities promised in the six Work Packages are on track. Allowing for a small degree of variation from details of original proposal yet thoroughly meeting the intent—at the overall level as well as within each work package—we report that all milestones have been met, and all promised items have been either produced or on track to be produced on time.

WP1, Qualitative studies

Conducted interviews with 15 final-year women studying engineering in Ireland, and worked with teachers at my home institution to implement findings to enhance their teaching practice.

Designed a research study and conducted a literature review on global responsibility in civil engineering. Obtained ethics approval to proceed with the study. Prepared an extensive mid-project report for Engineers without Borders UK.

Designed a study on conceptualizations of architecture and civil engineering students, obtained ethics approval to proceed with the study, and conducted three pilot interviews to test the interview protocol.

Assisted in the design of a study of student experiences and expectations in UCL’s Integrated Engineering Programme (IEP) and provided advice throughout the ethics application and data collection process.

Assisted in the development of a manuscript reporting a systematic review of the literature on “grit”.

Published three conference papers disseminating findings of my empirical research under this work package and presented them at ASEE, ICL, and SEFI.

  • CHANCE, S. M. & Williams, W. (2018). Preliminary findings of a phenomenological study of Middle Eastern women’s experiences studying engineering in Ireland. American Society for Engineering Education (ASEE) conference in Salt Lake City, Utah.
  • CHANCE, S. M. & Direito, I. (2018). Preliminary findings of a systematic review of doctoral theses in engineering education that have used phenomenological methods. European Society for Engineering Education (SEFI) conference in Copenhagen, Denmark.
  • CHANCE, S. M. & Williams, W. (2018). Middle Eastern Women’s Experiences of Collaborative Learning in Engineering in Ireland. International Conference on Interactive Collaborative Learning (ICL) in Kos Island, Greece.

Submitted the final draft for publication (based on a 2017 conference presentation) in the proceedings of the UK Royal Academy of Engineering’s EERN, Engineering Education Research Network

Submitted a draft journal article to SRHE’s consultant for the journal PRHE for advice.

  • CHANCE, S. M., Maguire, R., Direito, I., Gleeson-Mills, A., & Eddy, P. L. (first draft). National STEM educational policies: Their relation to girls’ experiences in physics across Europe and to the engineering pipeline. Policy Reviews in Higher Education.

Made additional presentations of my empirical research under this work package at SRHE and EERN:

  • CHANCE, S. M. (2018). Summary of National STEM Educational Policies in Relation to Girls’ Experiences in Physics in Europe and into the Engineering Pipeline. Society for Research in Higher Education conference 2018 in Newcastle, UK.
  • CHANCE, S. M. (2018). Summary of National STEM Educational Policies in Relation to Girls’ Experiences in Physics in Europe and into the Engineering Pipeline. Society for Research in Higher Education conference 2018 in Newcastle, UK.
  • Leão, C. P., Soares, F., Williams, B., & CHANCE, S. (2018). Challenges, experiences and advantages in being a female engineering student: Voices in the first person. Presentation at the UK & Ireland Engineering Education Research Network (EERN) annual conference 2018 in Portsmouth.
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Presentation at SRHE 2018

WP2, Mixed-methods study

Published one conference paper and delivered one presentation, disseminating findings of my empirical research under this work package.

  • CHANCE, S. M. & Duffy, G. (2018). A model for spurring organizational change based on faculty experiences working together to implement Problem-Based Learning. American Society for Engineering Education (ASEE) conference in Salt Lake City, Utah.

Submitted a complete manuscript that uses multiple methodologies for review by EJEE, received instructions to revise and resubmit, and submitted a revised version for the second round of peer reviews.

  • CHANCE, S. M., Duffy, G., & Bowe, B. (in press). Comparing grounded theory and phenomenology as methods to understand lived experience of engineering educators implementing Problem-Based Learning. European Journal of Engineering Education. 
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Recent journals on engineering and higher education

WP3, Special focus journal

(I proposed delivering one special focus issue over two years and have exceeded this goal.)

Spearheaded a special focus issue on diversity in electrical and electronic engineering that was published November 2018, and served as lead author of the guest editors’ statement.

  • CHANCE, S., Bottomly, L., Panetta, K., & Williams, B. (Eds.). (November, 2018). Special focus issue on gender in engineering in the IEEE Transactions on Education.
  • CHANCE, S., Bottomly, L., Panetta, K., & Williams, B. (Eds.). (November, 2018). Guest Editorial Special Issue on Increasing the Socio-Cultural Diversity of Electrical and Computer Engineering and Related Fields. IEEE Transactions on Education, (61)4, 261-264.

I am spearheading another special focus issue on using design to spur epistemological and identity development among engineering students underway and ahead of schedule: Call for papers issued (m1), Proposals arrive (m4), Proposals selected for continuation (m6), Full drafts received (m14), Reviews returned to authors (m16), Finals submitted for re-review (m19).

  • CHANCE, S., Williams, B., Goldfinch, T., Adams, R. S., & Fleming, L. N. (Eds.). (forthcoming, 2019). Special focus issue on using design projects to spur cognitive development of students in science and engineering n the IEEE Transactions on Education. 

Produced PBL encyclopedia entry.

  • CHANCE, S. M. (forthcoming). Problem-Based Learning: Use in Engineering Disciplines. In Amey, M. J. & David, M. E. (Eds.). The SAGE Encyclopedia of Higher Education, 5v. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.
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Learning from experts like phenomenographer Dr. Mike Miminiris

WP4, Outreach activities

(I proposed delivering 19 outreach events/outputs over two years.)

Outreach to General Public

(In 2018, 5 workshops, 1 booth, 1 book publisher advised, 2 educational websites)

Directly conducted 4 robotics and electrical engineering workshops for kids in Ireland with colleagues from my home institution. Having co-founded RoboSlam robotics outreach team in 2013, I continue to be active in RoboSlam, as one of the four main coordinators of events. In 2018, was part of a team that ran a number of robotics and electrical engineering workshops for kids in Ireland over the month of August with the Wexford library service. I specifically assisted in running two workshops in Bunclody (17th August) and two in Enniscorthy (18th August). The workshops were attended by approximately 120 children in the age range 8-12. The children built an electronics arcade game which they brought home afterwards. The intention of the workshops was to encourage an interest in electronics and programming. Feedback and pictures (courtesy of Shannon Chance) are available here: https://www.dropbox.com/home/DIT%20Bread%20Board%20Games. The technical resources we used (instructions, and code) can be found here: https://ioprog.com/bbg.

Operated an educational booth on electrical engineering in Ireland with colleagues from my home institution, at Dublin Maker 2018. A large team of volunteers (staff and students) from the school participated in Dublin Maker in Merrion Square in mid-July 2018. The common theme of our stand was “paper programming”.

Provided support for the EI sponsored Engineer Your Future Week summer school for TY students in mid-May. Our school’s contribution encompassed Robot Building and Biomedical Engineering.

STEM Activity Books for Kids—provided “expert advice” as the primary content consultant for activity books:

  • Scribble Engineering, STEM activity book published by Usborne Publishing Ltd. (2018)
  • Scribble Architecture, STEM activity book to be published by Usborne Publishing Ltd. (forthcoming)

Hosted and created content for an educational blog on being a mobile researcher that had 3,732 visitors in 2018 and 13,106 views (discrete clicks indicating engagement) with additional interaction via Linkedin, Twitter, and Facebook.

  • CHANCE, S. (2012-present). Ireland by Chance: Research Adventures in Ireland and the UK. http://www.IrelandByChance.com showcasing research and fellowship activities

Provided content for a blog on robotics that I collaborative manage with colleagues from my host institution that had 3,299 visitors in 2018 and 6,505 views.

  • Burke, T., CHANCE, S., Berry, D., & Duignan, F. (2012-present). RoboSlam: Robot-building for Beginners. Roboslam.com showcasing outreach activities I do with my colleagues in electrical engineering.
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My colleagues in engineering education development and research at UCL.

Outreach to Support Educators

Provided workshops on teaching (learning theories and innovative teaching techniques) for educators.

  • Akinmolayan, F. & CHANCE, S. M. (2018). Facilitating group & Problem-Based Learning in the context of engineering education. Two-day Master Class conducted for the University of Cape Town’s Engineering Education Existing Staff Capacity Enhancement Programme.
  • CHANCE, S. M. (2019). Learning theories in engineering: A US perspective on student development. A class session for UCL’s new MSc in Engineering and Education.
  • CHANCE, S. M. (2018). Supporting diverse students. Lunch seminar for UCL’s Centre for Engineering Education in London.

Outreach to Support Researchers

Provided workshops on research techniques for Early Stage Researchers.

  • Direto, I., Malik, M., & CHANCE, S. M. (2018). Conducting Systematic Literature Reviews in Engineering Education Research. Workshop to the UK & Ireland Engineering Education Research Network (EERN) annual conference 2018 in Portsmouth.
  • Edström, K., Bernhard, J., De Laet, T., & others including CHANCE, S. M. (2018). Doctoral Symposium. One-day pre-conference workshop at the European Society for Engineering Education (SEFI) 2018 annual conference in Copenhagen, Denmark.
  • De Laet, T., Williams, B., & others including CHANCE, S. M. (2018). Engineering Education Research. Workshop by EER Working Group at the European Society for Engineering Education (SEFI) 2018 annual conference in Copenhagen, Denmark.
  • CHANCE, S. M. (2018). MSCA fellowship experiences. Presentation delivered for Dublin Institute of Technology’s EPA & IUA MSCA Research Information Workshop Programme.

Provided presentations at symposia for experienced researchers

  • CHANCE, S. M. (2018). Gender Equality in STEM Education. Presentation delivered at Marie Curie Alumni Association’s Gender Equality Workshop Programme on 3 December 2018 in Dublin, Ireland.
  • Edström, K., Bernhard, J., van den Bogaard, M., Benson, L., Finelli, C., CHANCE, S. M., & Lyng, R. (2018). Reviewers, reviewers, reviewers! Workshop at the European Society for Engineering Education (SEFI) 2018 annual conference in Copenhagen, Denmark.

WP5, Training and transfer-of-knowledge

(I proposed attending 56 training sessions over two years and have exceeded this goal)

Researcher Training sessions completed

In chronological order:

  1. UCL online training module and certificate earned in Safety
  2. UCL online training module and certificate earned in Green Awareness
  3. UCL online training module and certificate earned as Green Champion
  4. UCL day-long Researcher Development Workshop, Finding Your Voice as an Academic Writer
  5. UCL day-long Researcher Development Workshop, An Introduction to Research Student Supervision at UCL
  6. Researcher information session organized by the Irish Research Council, Opportunities to collaborate with UK-based researchers
  7. UCL day-long Researcher Development Workshop, Creative Approach to Problem Solving and Decision Taking for Researchers
  8. UCL Arena Guidance Sessions: Initial Guidance
  9. UCL day-long Researcher Development Workshop, Leading Collaborative Projects
  10. UCL’s Centre for Engineering Education’s event, In Conversation With… Angela Saini and Louise Archer
  11. UCL AstreaVoices workshop: Choosing your journey
  12. UCL day-long Researcher Development Workshop, Writing Books and Book Chapters
  13. UCL day-long Researcher Development Workshop, Managing Your Reputation
  14. UCL Arena Senior Fellow Guidance Session: Developing your application
  15. UCL day-long Education Conference 2018 at the UCL Institute of Education
  16. Nathu Puri Institute Thought Leadership discussion and dinner in April
  17. SRHE day-long workshop, Migration and academic acculturation
  18. SRHE day-long workshop, Developing curriculum, learning and pedagogies in STEM subjects: the case of Engineering
  19. SRHE day-long workshop, Phenomenography: An approach to qualitative research in higher education
  20. UCL LLAKES Seminar by Louise Archer Why can’t we solve the science participation ‘crisis’? Understanding young people’s (non)participation in post-16 science
  21. Attended a UCL “Town Hall” to better understand the administrative structure of this research-intensive university, Finding a new place in society for universities
  22. UCL day-long Researcher Development Workshop Publish or Perish: Getting Collaborative Social Science Published
  23. One-day Inaugural Spring Colloquium of the UK-Ireland Engineering Education Research Network, held in Newcastle
  24. UCL day-long Researcher Development Workshop, The Superior Performer: How to Work to Your Strengths
  25. SRHE day-long workshop, Publishing Academic Articles: A way through the maze
  26. UCL Researcher Development Workshop, Induction for New UCL Research Staff
  27. Attended a half-day of UCL conference on Impacts of Gender Discourse on Polish Politics, Society & Culture Comparative Perspectives reservation
  28. UCL workshop, Provost’s Welcome to New Staff
  29. UCL day-long Researcher Development Workshop, Writing and Publishing Research Papers
  30. UCL day-long Researcher Development Workshop, Increasing Impact – Gaining Positive Media Coverage
  31. Attended two-day Inspirefest celebrating women in technology, held in Dublin
  32. Attended four-day conference of the American Society for Engineering Education (ASEE) in Salt Lake City
  33. Attended one-day symposium at the Royal Society sponsored by the RAEng and UCL CEE, Inclusive Engineering Education Symposium
  34. Second Nathu Puri Institute Thought Leadership Event at 6-9 Carlton House Terrace, London SW1Y 5AG
  35. Attended two-day 7th International Symposium of Engineering Education (ISEE 2018), hosted by UCL
  36. UCL day-long Researcher Development Workshop, Storytelling Skills for Teachers and Presenters
  37. UCL Arena training for fellowship applicants at principal level, PFHEA Lunch session
  38. Attended five-day conference of the European Society for Engineering Education (SEFI 2018) in Copenhagen
  39. Attended three-day International Conference on Interactive Collaborative Learning (ICL 2018) plus events of the International Conference on Engineering Pedagogy (IGIP 2018) in Kos Island, Greece
  40. UCL online training module and certificate earned in GDPR
  41. SRHE day-long workshop, IS THERE (STILL) ROOM FOR EDUCATION IN THE CONTEMPORARY UNIVERSITY? Exploring policy, research and practice through the lens of professional education. Seminar 3
  42. Lecture organized by the Irish Fulbright Commission, Creative Minds: In Conversation with a NASA Astronaut
  43. TU Dublin (formerly DIT) online training module and certificate earned in GDPR
  44. TU Dublin 2.5-hour workshop by Dr. Bill Williams, Getting published in engineering education research journals
  45. Attended half-day IEP Research Away (Half) Day
  46. Attended three-day Society for Research in Higher Education conference (SRHE 2018) in Newport, Wales
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Exploring Athens between conferences

Research skills development activities

PhD/Research supervision

  • Second supervisor for one PhD student at LSBU, Thomas Empson, meeting with him and the primary supervisor Professor Sushma Patel bi-monthly. Successfully guided him through (1) REES2 submission and panel interview gaining university permission to proceed, (2) ethics approval process, and (3) submission of abstract to EPDE conference that was accepted for development into a full paper.
  • Co-supervising one PhD student at TU Dublin, Una Beagon.
  • Supervised a group of students in The Civil Service Graduate Development Programme 2017-18 in Ireland in conducting a policy-related research project.

International Leadership Appointments in EER

  • Appointed Associate Editor for the journal IEEE Transactions on Education. In addition to organizing the two special focus issues listed under WP3, I also provided advice to the Editor in Chief at the desk review stage, managed the review of multiple manuscripts, gave input into operational changes, and review manuscripts nominated for Best Paper.
  • Appointed to and served on the Editorial Board of the European Journal of Engineering Education.
  • Appointed to and serve as Governing Board member, global Research on Engineering Education Network (REEN) and providing leadership on the sub-committee for recruitment and selection of upcoming conference hosts.
  • Appointed to the organizing group of the new Irish Chapter of the Marie Curie Alumni Association (MCAA). Joined international MCAA organization and both the Irish and UK chapters.
  • Appointed to the SEFI Working Group on Engineering Education Research.
  • Provided leadership to the Nathu Puri Institute at the London South Bank University as a think-tank member (2018) and by serving on the interview panel for the new director of the Institute.
  • Appointed as Visiting Professor at London South Bank University.
  • Invited to serve as a member of the Program Committee of the 11th Global Engineering Education Conference (EDUCON), which will take place in Porto, from 27-30 April 2020.

Journal Peer Reviews

  • Reviewed manuscripts for the European Journal of Engineering Education (EJEE), including CEEE20160099, CEEE20180019, CEEE20170301, CEEE20180019.R1, CEEE20180086, and CEEE20180173.
  • Reviewed manuscripts for the Journal of Engineering Education (JEE) manuscript JEE-2017-0238 and JEE-2017-0238.R1.

Conference Peer Reviews

  • Provided reviews of three abstracts for the Research in Engineering Education Symposium to be held in 2019
  • Provided peer reviews of four abstracts (contributions 1149, 1217, 1236, and 1384) for SEFI 2018.
  • Served as meta-reviewer, breaking ties on three abstracts (contributions 1123, 1237, and 1242) for SEFI 2018.
  • Reviewed one abstract (contribution 1194) for the 2018 ICL conference.

Educational Assessment

  • Provided assessment of one proposal for Fulbright Ireland’s 2019-2020 Programme.
  • Invited to serve on National Architectural Accreditation Board (NAAB) IPR Review Panel (forthcoming 2019).
  • Invited to serve as Evaluator for EU grant proposals under the ERASMUS Program (forthcoming 2019).
  • Provided a formal assessment of four MSc capstone thesis papers submitted at my home institution.

Curriculum Design and Education Development

  • Provided input into the design of a new MSc in Applied Computing for professionals in Built Environment at her home institution.
  • Provided advice for UCL’s new MSc Engineering and Education, launched in September 2018. This flexible and unique MSc is designed for anyone teaching in a department of engineering or working as an engineer or in engineering policy, who is aiming to: (a) lead change and enhance the performance of engineers in industry or (b) develop innovative strategies to improve the education of engineers, in either educational or work contexts.   More information and apply at: https://www.ucl.ac.uk/prospective-students/graduate/taught/degrees/engineering-education-msc
  • Provided input into the proposed new curriculum in architecture engineering for Newgiza University to be developed by my host institution.
  • Developed links around accessible transport in London that are of importance to my home institution’s new MSc in Transport and Mobility. I am coordinating a visit of DIT’s MSc staff for spring 2019 to London to visit the world-recognized transportation testing facility headed by Professor Nick Tyler, CBE.
  • Visited former colleagues and students in bridge and robot design modules during research trips to Dublin.

Fellowship applications

  • Submitted a fellowship application to the British Academy that was not funded.
  • Advised Dr. Inês Direito on preparing her won grant application for the Nuffield Foundation.
  • Worked on developing an application for a HEA Teaching Fellowship.

Coaching and mentoring

  • Advised researchers in Portugal (Filomena Soares and Celina Pinot Leao) who are collecting interview data to add to that I’ve collected with Dr. Bill Williams.
  • Mentored multiple young past students and research participants and the person hired to cover me during my MSCA career break.
  • Advised aspiring MSCA applicants.
  • Provided references for past students and colleagues.
  • Provided mentoring on PhD research design to a UCL colleague.
  • Kept up with the achievements of my former architecture students via Facebook and LinkedIn (e.g., buildings designed, books launched, exams passed, professional registrations earned, challenges faced, lives well-lived.)

Miscellaneous

  • Provided data to assist with UNESCO report on engineering.
  • Worked to keep my research profiles up-to-date, including UCL EngineeringIRIS, LinkedIn, ORCId
  • Nominated colleague Dr. Bill Williams for appointment as Visiting Professor at my home institution and assisted in organizing his inaugural lecture and a workshop for my home research group, called CREATE.
  • Coordinated guest lecture at my host institution (UCL) by Dr. Mike Miminiris
  • Provided interview for gender researcher Susana Vázquez Cupeiro
  • Served as moderator of ISEE conference session organized by my host institution.
  • Was featured in a two-page spread in DIT’s Research News, issued in March 2018, on women in STEM.

Received one-to-one training from research experts

  1. Mike Mimirinis, phenomographer
  2. Professor Nick Tyler
  3. Professor John Mitchell
  4. Bill Williams
  5. Professor Jenni Case
  6. Jeff Froyd
  7. Professor Brian Bowe
  8. Professor Anne Gardner
  9. Professor Pam Eddy
  10. Inês Direito
  11. Professor Shushma Patel
  12. Able Nyamapfene
  13. Claire Ellul GeoBIM – Linking Geographic Information Systems and Building Information Modelling
  14. Jenny Griffiths
  15. Professor Rao Bhamidimarri
  16. Kate Roach
  17. Folashade Akinmolayan
  18. Nicky Wolmarans
  19. Jay Derrick
  20. Emanuela Tilley
  21. Lorraine D’Arcy
  22. Avril Behan
  23. Kevin Gaughan
  24. Jean Cahill
  25. Amir Tobacovic
  26. Professor Ron Daniel
  27. Ted Burke
  28. Damon Berry
  29. Frank Duignan
  30. Professor Simon Phibin
  31. Georgia Pitts
  32. Elpedia Makriyannis
  33. Jeffrey Johnson
  34. Professor Euan Lindsay
  35. Andrew Forkes, Maker Labs at LSBU
  36. Alan Hilliard
  37. Rovani Sigamoney of UNESCO
  38. Rob Lawlor
  39. Fiona Truscott
  40. Conor O’Carroll
  41. Tony Fawcett, CEGE Communications and Marketing Manager

Attended CPD lectures to stay up-to-date in my field (architecture and urbanism)

  1. Attended two lectures on accessible transportation at PAMELA, UCL’s transportation research hub, delivered by Professor Nick Tyler
  1. UCL Architecture lecture, Sir Peter Cook of CRAB Studios
  2. UCL Architecture lecture, SueAnne Ware with University of Newcastle, Australia
  3. UCL Architecture lecture, Ken Yeang
  4. UCL Architecture lecture, Fabio Gramazio of ETH Zurich and Gramazio Kohler Research
  5. UCL Architecture lecture, Jeremy Till from UAL
  6. UCL Architecture lecture, Vera Bühlmann from Technical University of Berlin
  7. UCL Engineering event, presentations of BEAMS EPSRC Vacation Bursary Best Project nominations
  8. UCL Architecture lecture, Peg Rawes from The Bartlett
  9. UCL Engineering lecture, Designing a Road Traffic Model for the Cross-sectoral Analysis of Future National Infrastructure
  10. UCL Education Awards
  11. Architecture lecture by Grafton Architects
  12. TU Dublin lecture by Dr. Bill Williams, It’s not just about innovation: 14 ways engineers create value
  13. Attended DIT London Alumni Annual Reception at the London Irish Centre 

Visited museum visits to stay up-to-date in my field (architecture and urbanism)

  1. Science Museum (including the Transportation exhibit)
  2. Bartlett exhibition on Street Life
  3. Tower Bridge with bride design exhibition
  4. Foundling Museum
  5. Tower of London
  6. Paris—San Chappelle, Arab Institute, Medieval Museum, Marie Curie Museum
  7. Saatchi Gallery
  8. V&A Museum
  9. British Museum (e.g., Egyptian exhibition)
  10. Courtard Gallery
  11. Folkestone Museum
  12. Dover Castle
  13. Royal Academy (Charles I)
  14. Whitechapel Gallery
  15. Sir John Soane Museum
  16. V&A Museum of Childhood (including Nordic Design exhibition)
  17. Apartheid Museums in Johannesburg
  18. Constitution Hill museum in Johannesburg
  19. National Gallery (exhibitions on Degas and Murillo)
  20. Wallace Collection
  21. History Museum in London
  22. UCL Art Museum, Octagon exhibition hall, and Library
  23. National Gallery (Monet and Architecture)
  24. Tate Modern (e.g., an exhibition on Modigliani)
  25. Tate Britain (e.g., an exhibition on Impressionists in London, and the Turner Prize)
  26. Somerset House (print exhibit & tour)
  27. Building Centre
  28. Institute of Making
  29. UCL Grant Museum of Archeology
  30. Open House Dublin (Normal House, Villas, Belvedere House, Ash House, 14 Henrietta Street, KS Garda St, Richmond Surgical)
  31. Udvar-Hazy Air and Space Museum
  32. Smithsonian Air and Space Museum
  33. Smithsonian East Wing
  34. Smithsonian Cochrane Gallery
  35. Smithsonian Museum of American History

Visited and studied cities to stay up-to-date in my field (architecture and urbanism)

  1. London, England
  2. Paris, France
  3. Folkestone, England
  4. Dover, England
  5. Johannesburg, SA
  6. Ramsgate, England
  7. Rye, England
  8. Nice and south of France
  9. Copenhagen, Denmark
  10. Athens, Greece
  11. Kos, Greece
  12. Newport, Wales
  13. Bristol, England
  14. Washington, DC

WP6, Management

  • Attended pre-grant meetings with primary MSCA supervisor Professor Nick Tyler, second supervisor Professor John Mitchell, colleagues from the research center I was joining and the corollary center at my home institution to align plans and activities, including its head, Professor Brian Bowe.
  • Attended a fellowship kick-off meeting with Professor Nick Tyler and second supervisor Professor John Mitchell.
  • Developed an official Career Development Plan based on research and bespoke advice from Professor Nick Tyler.
  • Attended a Month 1 Probationary Assessment with my supervisor, Professor Nick Tyler.
  • Attended a Month 3 Probationary Assessment with my supervisor, Professor Nick Tyler.
  • Attended a Month 6 Probationary Assessment with Professor Nick Tyler and submitted required documents to UCL.
  • Held frequent discussions (bi-monthly) with my second supervisor, Professor John Mitchell.
  • Held quarterly discussions with my former MSCA supervisor, Professor Brian Bowe.
  • Attended a one-year review discussion with supervisor Nick Tyler.
  • Prepared and submitted a log of activities to be included in the mid-project report to the European Commission.

 

Recap on SRHE: Eye-opening research on highly productive researchers and the history of higher ed

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I presented on the first day of the 2018 SRHE Conference in Newport, Wales.

The Society for Research in Higher Education (SRHE) met last week for its 2018 conference. On Day 1, I delivered a summary report on national education policies in relation to what female engineering students told me about school experiences that led them to study engineering.

SRHE is a UK-based organization and its annual meeting is held each December in Wales at the Celtic Manor near Newport, a high-end golf resort where the organization has garnered good deals by assembling mid-week, off-season. The place was decorated beautifully for Christmas and I got a room on the tenth/top floor, with views of the nearby hills. Because I’m a genuine geek, I attended seminars straight through and missed out on the facility’s lovely pool, ice skating rink, and challenge course. Despite missing those thrills, I found the seminars delightful. In this blog, I can’t describe all the fascinating things I learned at the conference, but I’ll share some overarching thoughts and impressions.

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View from my tenth-floor room of Celtic Manor.

The opening and closing keynote speeches were very interesting, and they bookended the conference by taking opposite approaches to study international trends in higher education.

Prof. Marek Kwiek delivered the opening keynote. He described how his mixed-methods research study was conducted. He collected over 17k surveys and 500 interviews across 11 European countries, and he identified eye-popping results that did not sit well with some conference attendees. Essentially, top earners in higher education in Europe are more research-oriented, they publish much more than other academics but they also work quite hard, spending more time than others on *all* aspects of academic work–including teaching, research, service, and administration. This goes against commonly held beliefs, and prior research, that suggests researchers successfully avoid work other than research.

Prof. Kwiek said the top 10% of researchers produce 50% of all journal articles.

Prof. Kwiek found that the top 10% of researchers produce 50% of all journal articles. Top-producers work a full two months per year more than most university teachers. They also collaborate with many others internationally when they publish. But what visibly agitated the audience was the demographics Prof. Kwiek identified with regard to these top performers: they are predominantly male, middle-aged, full professors, with a mean age of 47. Being that I’m 48, I am already behind–but more than willing to catch up!

I’m a quick learner, and now I have the code for success. In this case, Prof. Kwiek highlighted an inherent problem: that the variables that mean the most to promotions/progression, salary, and prestige consistently favor men. This is not a problem of Prof. Kwiek’s making, but it is a situation his data clearly showed.

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Meeting with my phenomenography mentor, Dr. Mike Miminiris and his US-based friend Marquis Moore.

The other bookend presentation, the closing keynote by Prof. Louise Morley of the Centre for Higher Education and Equity Research in Sussex, would highlight several relevant and important points in response.

One interesting point Prof. Morley raised was that the person who identifies a problem often comes to be seen *as* the problem. Another interesting topic she raised was that bias built into the system of higher education ties to our overall economic-political model called “neo-liberalism” and this makes it nearly impossible to escape. It’s like trying to avoid air. How can we step outside this model to properly credit diverse contributions, when all the measures of performance inherently favor mainstream versions of excellence and productivity?

To help me come to terms with much of this–and excel despite being culturally different–I bought Prof. Kwiek’s book “Changing European Academics: A comparative study of social stratification, work patterns and research productivity.” If you’re interested in the details he presented, you can buy the book. I’ve also included some slides of his presentation directly below, followed by more commentary and photos of other presentations:

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An extremely informative panel with Profs. Ellen Hazelkorn and Vikki Boliver and Kalwant Bhopal.

Although I am not a positivist (similar to Prof. Kwiek), I also haven’t adopted the critical perspectives that Prof. Morley uses. I haven’t entirely rejected the neo-liberal framework, and most of my research takes an interpretivist and/or constructivist stance in that I study the status quo prior to suggesting ways to change it. I do incorporate some aspects of critical feminism and critical race theory, but these are underlying principles, not the core paradigm I use.

With regard to neo-liberalism, back during my Ph.D. studies, I really enjoyed the class I had at William and Mary called “Finance of Higher Education.” My teacher, Prof. David Leslie, studied economic trends in USA higher ed and he identified patterns like this. He exampled that in the States, there’s a direct correlation between the discipline you teach in, the pay you’ll receive teaching in that discipline, and how traditionally male- or female-dominated the profession is. This means that in the USA, I can get paid more by teaching in an architecture or engineering department than in an education department. I did look this up and found it shockingly true.

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Dr. Maryam Al-Mohammad presenting on “global citizenship” alongside Dr. Neil Harrison, both from UWE.

Fortunately, in European higher ed, the pay grades are less inherently tied to gender. On the whole, there seems to be better pay equity among disciplines in the European academy. Despite the fact that there is more equitable pay for equal work, men still reach the top echelons of higher education management/administration (and research) at much, much higher rates than women. Ireland, for example, is far behind the US where many university and community college (the US equivalent of the Irish IoT) presidents are female.

So, yes, bias regarding gender, ethnicity, physical ability, etc., etc., etc. is still extremely pervasive. Understanding bias, and visualizing why and how it happens, can help us remedy the problems.

So, even though the findings Prof. Kwiek presented were gloomy overall, he did provide me with helpful ideas for accelerating my career. I’ve been trying to break into publishing in a new discipline (I’ve moved from publishing in architecture education and education planning journals to publishing in engineering education) and the findings Prof. Kwiek reported will help me set, and meet, my goals faster. For me, having a road map of what it takes to succeed under current conditions is an important step in moving ahead and I thank Prof. Kwiek for providing such a guidebook.

A later speaker during Day 1 of the conference, Dr. Rachel Handford, noted that “possible selves” “can only include those selves that it is possible to perceive (Stevenson & Clegg, 2011; 233)” meaning that we learn what we might become and consider options before we act, but we need to see examples of possibilities first. I’ve always found this to be true, and I try to expose myself to many different people with different ways of working and seeing the world. They help me figure out what I want to be, learn, do and accomplish. There are photos of Dr. Handford’s presentation below, as well as presentations by Prof. Ming Cheng (on Chinese students studying abroad) and Drs. Cecelia Whitechurch and William Locke (on academic staff members’ techniques for gaining promotion).

I need to wrap up, though I would like to mention other highly-notable moments: three presentations on higher ed in South Africa, one presentation on low-income UK students studying abroad at elite US institutions, a fascinating panel that included Profs. Ellen Hazelkorn and Vikki Boliver and Kalwant Bhopal, a presentation by Drs. Maryam Al-Mohammad and Neil Harrison on “global citizenship”, and talks by historians Prof. John Tyler and Dr. Mike Klasser.

Prof. John Tyler delivered a keynote on the impact of WWI on higher education in Europe and his presentation was insightful. In the US, the aftermath of the Civil War and WWII were turning points for higher education. I’d say the Morrill and Hatch Acts which established the Land Grant institutions in the US mark the birth of the modern university in North America. These facilitated providing higher education to the masses. The federal government became involved in funding higher education. These funds expanded after WWII when our country needed to re-train returning vets and decided to provide money to send them to university. The US government also decided to fund research via universities, as it had worked well for the US to have Harvard run the top-secret Manhattan Project that developed the A-bomb and helped end the war. These are all things I learned in the “History of Higher Education” course I took at Old Dominion University in 2009. At SRHE, Prof. Tyler explained that the dawn of the modern university in the UK came after WWI.

In a paper presentation, Dr. Mike Klassen discussed his research on “the academization of engineering education in the United States and the United Kingdom: A neo-institutional perspective.” Dr. Klassen recently visited UCL (for our recent CEE strategy meeting) but I hadn’t learned what he was studying other than higher ed policy. At SRHE, I got to hear him present on the history of engineering education. I’m hoping that someday he’ll want to study overlaps between engineering and architecture education history and pedagogy development–again comparing North American and European traditions–and that the two of us can work together on this.

I left SRHE having forged many new contacts. I met so many people I’d like to keep in contact with and learned so many new ideas and research findings. I look forward to attending SRHE 2019 and speaking at an SRHE workshop, to be organized by Ann-Marie Bathmaker, in spring 2019.

Special Focus on Diversity

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IEEE Transactions on Education table of contents for the special focus issue on enhancing socio-cultural diversity

The new special focus issue I spearheaded for IEEE Transactions on Education just arrived in my mailbox! It arrived alongside a number of other prestigious journals on engineering and higher education.

This issue is dedicated to helping increase social and cultural diversity in engineering fields relevant to IEEE, including electrical, electronics, and computer engineering. As a result of my work on this issue, I was appointed as an Associate Editor of the journal and I have a second special focus issue underway.

To give you a bit of information on it–the November 2018 issue on socio-cultural diversity–I’m sharing an early draft of our guest editorial. You’ll find the draft below, after the list of article titles. You can visit the journal’s homepage or follow the links I’ve provided to download individual articles. Our guest editorial statement is free, but many of the others will require you to purchase the article or log in via a university library website that pays for access. Please contact me if you need help accessing articles.

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A favorite photo from my days at Hampton University, with architecture students Nataschu Brooks

Fostering diversity and supporting diverse students has always been a focus of mine. I’m proud to have been associated with Hampton University, a Historically Black University in southeast Virginia, and to have been appointed Full Professor there in 2014. I try to bring what I learned there into the work I do here in Europe every day.

I’m also proud to have done research to increase understanding of how diverse students experience engineering education. I did much of this work at Dublin Institute of Technology, and I’m extending the impact of that work today through my current appointment as a Marie Curie Research Fellow at University College London (UCL), by publishing articles and special focus issues.

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UCL has a proud history of inclusivity, having admitted women and people from diverse races and religions long before most institutions did so. My amazing colleagues in UCL’s Centre for Engineering Education (CEE)–including Jan Peters, Emanuela Tilley, and John Mitchell–worked with the Royal Academy of Engineering in the UK to produce a groundbreaking report titled “Designing Inclusion into Engineering Education.” Techniques they developed have far wider applicability than just engineering, so please download a copy.

Articles in the Special Focus Issue

Description by guest editors

Universities and colleges struggle to find the best approaches for achieving diversity throughout their campus environments. Even after successfully recruiting diverse populations, challenges arise in providing appropriate support and developing engagement opportunities that help enable students’ success. Some students from minority populations may not have had schooling that was as well funded as their peers from the mainstream. They may arrive differently equipped, but not any less capable, than their peers. In this special focus issue, we asked: How do we support their efforts to succeed? How do we help faculty understand the challenges diverse students face? How can we affect change in the teaching methods they encounter?

This issue of the IEEE Transactions on Education (ToE) makes exciting contributions to the literature on teaching in fields including electrical and electronics engineering, computer engineering, and computer science. This issue represents an effort to positively influence engineering scholarship, engineering education, and engineering practice. It helps stake new territory for ToE with regard to format as well as the diversity of authors, topics, editors, and reviewers.

Regarding the presentation of content, this is ToE’s third issue to provide structured abstracts. This feature makes content more searchable and it also makes the questions guiding each study more explicit. The most noteworthy contributions and findings are identified clearly and succinctly, prior to the full text. These features help readers locate relevant content and more easily understand how the pieces fit together.

Even more importantly, this issue provides a platform for voices and perspectives from around the globe to explore facets of diversity relevant to IEEE. Although engineering education research (EER) on diversity has focused greatly on gender aspects, we aimed to explore many different aspects of diversity in this issue. All contributors provide concepts and techniques to foster equity and equality in engineering education.

The topics, authors, editors, and reviewers represent ever-widening diversity—geographically, socially, ethnically, racially, religiously, and otherwise. Our call for papers defined diversity broadly, in an effort to increase inclusion and equity in engineering classrooms and labs as well as in engineering publications. A primary intention has been to improve the participation rates of people from under-represented groups—particularly in computer science, electrical and electronic engineering, computer engineering, software engineering, and biomedical engineering—and to support their ongoing success in these fields.

The guest editors have lived and worked in multiple countries across Africa, Europe, and North America and were keen to involve diverse individuals throughout the publication process. We were acutely aware that many readers and authors of many US-based journals had lacked exposure to much of the work in EER being conducted outside the US. Citation analysis of 4321 publications across four prominent platforms—the Journal of Engineering Education (JEE), the European Journal of Engineering Education (EJEE), and conferences of both the American Society of Engineering Education (ASEE) and European Society of Engineering Education (SEFI)—had shown ASEE and JEE citations “are dominated by sources with US affiliations.” SEFI and EJEE reflected wider diversity in that “while US sources are frequently cited, European and other authors are also well represented (Williams, Wankat, & Neto, 2016, p. 190).” Thus, Williams et al demonstrated, “in citation terms, European EER is relatively global but US EER is not (p. 190).”

In response, the guest editors encouraged researchers active in the US to submit articles and they also worked to solicit manuscripts from around the world. They aimed to provide “complementary perspectives” as encouraged by Borrego and Bernhard (2013), whose study compared EER that originated in the US with EER from Northern and Central Europe. They found the latter tends to explore “authentic, complex problems, while U.S. approaches emphasize empirical evidence” (p. 14). They also found “disciplinary boundaries and legitimacy are more salient issues in the U.S., while the Northern and Central European Bildung philosophy integrates across disciplines toward development of the whole person” (p. 14). Informing this edition’s intent, Borrego and Bernhard asserted, “Understanding and valuing complementary perspectives is critical to growth and internationalization of EER” (p. 14).

Adopting a global perspective, this issue promotes research, advocacy, and action geared toward achieving equity. Authors have considered many facets of diversity, including race, ethnicity, economic status, religious affiliation, age, and multiple understandings of the term gender. Subsequent issues of IEEE ToE will extend this work by, for instance, featuring technologies developed to support learning in IEEE fields for people with physical disabilities. Supporting a range of approaches to diversity, this current issue features empirical research on engineering/STEM pedagogies, paying particular attention to their level of inclusivity for students and teachers from minority groups.

Research from Saudi Arabia that is included in this issue contributes new understanding of women’s experiences studying engineering there. The nation has only recently offered engineering programs in-country that are open to women; some of the engineering teachers are female, but many who deliver courses are male. Digital technologies, Mariam Elhussein and colleagues explain, are intended to bridge the divide in classrooms where women sit on one side of a glass partition while observing male teachers who deliver content. Technologies do not always achieve the desired aims, because female students explained during focus group discussions that they sometimes keep their digital devices off to avoid illuminating their faces and revealing their identities—a taboo in their culture. The study, authored by Mariam Elhussein, Dilek Düştegör, Naya Nagy, and Amani Alghamdi, is entitled “The Impact of Digital Technology on Female Students’ Learning Experience in Partition-Rooms: Conditioned by Social Context.”

Contributing new understanding regarding racially diverse learners in the US, Jumoke Ladeji-Osias et al. describe outcomes of an ongoing school program to engage black male youths in engineering and computing. These authors describe a program, running both after-school and during summers, wherein students develop mobile apps and build 3D-printed models to ignite their interest in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM). Having participated for two years, students reported more positive ideas about STEM and increased interest in attending university and entering a career in either science or app development. Unfortunately, participants did not show corresponding interest in taking science courses in school. The research team of Jumoke Ladeji-Osias, LaDawn Partlow, and Edward Dillo submitted this study, titled “Using Mobile Application Development and 3D Modeling to Encourage Minority Male Interest in Computing and Engineering.”

Contributing new understanding regarding socially and economically diverse learners who enter engineering via two-year colleges in the US, Simon Winberg and colleagues discovered a correlation between math performance in two-year colleges and persistence to graduation in the four-year degree. Such research can help educators to better advise students and recruit those likely to complete degrees. The authors mined data from institutional databases to analyze and compare the performance of transfer and non-transfer students. By calculating and comparing averages, frequencies of passes and failures, withdrawals and repeats, the authors identified factors associated with persistence-to-graduation in Bachelor of Science ECM programs. The study helps confirm prior research showing many minority students who transfer to four-year engineering programs demonstrate high levels of persistence, focus and commitment, resilience to overcome challenges, and they also had high grades at their two-year institution, cumulative and in mathematics. This study, by Simon Winberg, Christine Winberg, and Penelope Engel-Hills, is titled “Persistence, Resilience and Mathematics in Engineering Transfer Capital.”

Reporting from Spain, Noelia Olmedo-Torre et al. assess what attracts women to join STEM and select specific branches of engineering. The team collected survey data from more than 1000 women (graduates and current students) representing six different institutions of higher education. About 40% were in computing, communications, electrical and electronic engineering (CCEEE) and the rest in other STEM (non-CCEEE) fields where women are greatly under-represented. Women in CCEEE were significantly less motivated by “the possibility of working on projects ” and “the possibility of working as part of a team” than those outside CCEEE. This study also reveals women’s perceptions of why others avoid CCEEE majors. The article was submitted by Noelia Olmedo-Torre, Fermín Sánchez Carracedo, Núria Salán Ballesteros, David López, Antoni Perez-Poch, and Mireia López-Beltrán and it asks, “Do Female Motives for Enrolling Vary According to STEM Profile?”

In a similar study from the US, Geoff Potvin et al. worked together to assess how gender relates to an individual’s level of interest in electrical, computer, and biomedical engineering and to identify how these interests relate to students’ expectations of careers in each branch. They analyzed data collected from women and compared these data with people who had not identified themselves as women. The female group showed more interest in bioengineering/biomedical engineering and less interest in electrical and computer engineering. They associated the career outcome of “helping others” but not “supervising others” with bioengineering and/or biomedical engineering more strongly than non-female students did. Overall, students in this study associated inventing and designing things as well as “developing new knowledge and skills” with electrical engineering, whereas they envisioned inventing and designing things but not “working with people” in computer engineering. The research team was comprised of Geoff Potvin, Catherine McGough, Lisa Benson, Hank Boone, Jacqueline Doylek, Allison Godwin, Adam Kirn, Beverly Ma, Jacqueline Rohde, Monique Ross, and Dina Verdin, who worked together to assess “Gendered Interests in Electrical, Computer and Biomedical Engineering: Intersections With Career Outcome Expectations.”

Two articles identify gender bias evident in team projects in engineering classrooms, that tends to go undetected and/or unreported by students. First, in a small-scale study with clear relevance in engineering classrooms around the globe, Laura Hirshfield’s US-based analysis shows that when students self-report regarding team performance and team dynamics, they may fail to see and/or report differences that have to do with the way they interact and allocate tasks. Although individuals submitted team assessments and interviews describing effective collaboration and a lack of gender bias in allocating roles, self-reports did not match the author’s observations nor the data she collected via interviews. Dynamics and assignments reflected visible gender bias, the author reports, yet male and female students reported the same levels of confidence and said they were similarly satisfied with their teams. To achieve greater equity, the author urges readers to look deeper and consider forms of stereotyping and gender bias that influence students’ experiences. Laura Hirshfield’s article is titled “Equal But Not Equitable: Self-Reported Data Obscures Gendered Differences in Project Teams.”

Similarly, authors Robin R. Fowler and Magel P. Su identified “Gendered Risks of Team-Based Learning: A Model of Inequitable Task Allocation in Project-Based Learning.” In this second article, we see that the jobs that are assigned by the team to its various members often fall along gender lines–sometimes because of assumptions made by team members and sometimes because individuals want to play it safe and promise things they know they can deliver well. This can hinder the diversity of experience they get and how well-rounded their skills ultimately become by way of the project.

Two of the papers in this issue focus on educators’ experiences. Reporting from India, Anika Gupta et al. have analyzed the ratings male and female students assign to their teachers as measures of the teaching quality. They identified statistically significant differences in the ratings given—differences that correspond to the teachers’ gender and socio-economic status. In addition to bias regarding socio-economic status, this research team also found same-gender and cross-gender biases that yielded statistically different scores for teaching. The team gathered over 100,000 complete surveys—comparing groups from (a) civil engineering, (b) computer science and engineering, (c) electrical engineering, (d) humanities and social sciences, and (e) mathematics. Similar to the study by Potvin et al., these results illustrate student perceptions of various majors. In this case, statistics showed that interaction between a student’s gender and socio-economic status and those characteristics of the teacher influenced the student’s evaluation of the teacher. As student evaluations are used to inform faculty promotion and retention decisions, it is reasonable to question the validity of the data they provide. The paper was submitted by Anika Gupta, Deepak Garg, and Parteek Kumar and is titled “Analysis of Students’ Ratings of Teaching Quality to Understand the Role of Gender and Socio-Economic Diversity in Higher Education.”

Kat Young and colleagues have assessed participation in audio engineering conferences, a field that remains strongly male-dominated. Their work provides a new tool for determining the gender of participants who do not report their own data, such as in cases where they are listed as authors in various publications and conference proceedings. The techniques presented in this paper consider that not all individuals identify in a binary way. As such, this manuscript contributes new knowledge related to LGTBQ+ and how to determine what gender an author would ascribe to their self in instances where they have not been asked to provide that data. The team analyzed four aspects of data from 20 conferences—looking at conference topic, presentation type, position in the author byline, and the number of authors involved. Data revealed a low representation of non-male authors at conferences on audio engineering as well as the significant variance in conference topic by gender, and the distinct lack of gender diversity across invited presentations. This paper is titled “The Impact of Gender on Conference Authorship in Audio Engineering: Analysis Using a New Data Collection Method” and it was submitted by Kat Young, Michael Lovedee-Turner, Jude Brereton, and Helena Daffern.

Prior research has shown that including diverse perspectives on STEM teams enables more robust and innovative designs (Hunt et al, 2018) and that cross-disciplinary teaming that can facilitate pooling of diverse perspectives is difficult to achieve in practice (Edmondson & Harvey, 2017). A challenge for engineering educators is to ensure the perspectives of diverse individuals we now recruit are fully heard—that all participants have the opportunity to have their contributions considered and valued. Many instructors have had little or no training on pedagogical approaches within STEM. Even well-intentioned instructors may not understand how team formation and management of teams can help reinforce peer teamwork, and they may not recognize that poorly managed and conducted can deplete the confidence of women and others outside the classroom’s mainstream. Instructors who are accustomed to assigning team projects may not be providing guidance and support and thus may ultimately throw students together, simply expecting them to be collaborative, equitable, and productive but not explaining how to achieve this. As a result, students may not perceive group work as a recipe for success, but rather an obstacle course suited to the fittest.

In this special issue of ToE, authors have presented insights generated through the study of student learning experiences. Some authors have introduced innovative methods to measure the impacts of new pedagogical approaches within institutions. Several have investigated pitfalls that could detract from the effectiveness and inclusiveness of teams. Others increased understanding of gender-identification procedures for researchers—this group also exposed perpetual underlying biases in the speaker-invitation process that all IEEE disciplines may benefit from assessing.

Diversity and inclusion are not a post-processing task tacked on in a course or mentioned in a lecture. A well-thought-out, integrated plan that places value on the different perspective of students from diverse backgrounds, genders and life-experiences. Educators are beginning to foster a sense of belonging by adopting techniques for “cohort building” among diverse groups of students. This can help bridge the gulf many students experience when they move from secondary school into higher education. Such techniques can help ensure diverse students’ expectations are met, so students do not find themselves isolated or alone.

The guest editors hope you enjoy this special issue of IEEE Transactions on Education and are able to incorporate some of the methods presented here—to help create a generation of future leaders and innovators. The editors encourage readers to review emerging calls for action in diversity recently published by The Power Electronics Industry Collaborative (PEIC), ASEE, and SEFI.

In this issue, editors channeled their efforts towards achieving fairness and holistic well being, and toward fostering a community of engineers who can address global challenges, act with vision and confidence, and develop effective and robust responses to engineering problems. When students are prepared with superior STEM skills and equipped with life-skills, they will be able to build their own interest-related cohorts and will be able to seek out the resources they need, without being afraid to ask for them. A more diverse group will be prepared to address global challenges.

—Shannon Chance, Laura Bottomley, Karen Panetta, and Bill Williams

References

Borrego, M., & Bernhard, J. (2011). The emergence of engineering education research as an internationally connected field of inquiry. Journal of Engineering Education100(1), 14-47.

Edmondson, A. C., & Harvey, J. F. (2017). Cross-boundary teaming for innovation: Integrating research on teams and knowledge in organizations. Human Resource Management Review.

Hunt, V., Prince, S., Dixon-Fyle, S., & Yee, L. (2018). Delivering through diversity. McKinsey & Company Report. Retrieved April3, 2018.

Williams, B., Wankat, P. C., & Neto, P. (2018). Not so global: a bibliometric look at engineering education research. European Journal of Engineering Education43(2), 190-200.

Diverse researchers at your service!

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The campus of DIT Grangegoreman (soon to be TU Dublin) which is now under construction

I found myself surrounded today, by dozens of brilliant scholars. I’d been invited to speak at a workshop on Gender Equality held by the Irish Alumni Chapter of Marie Skłodowska-Curie actions (MSCA). The half-day workshop was held in St. Laurence Church on the Grangegorman Campus of DIT.

Marie Curie fellows, past and present, traveled in from all over Ireland to attend the event. The Irish MSCA Alumni chapter is just two years old and it covers the whole of the island, welcoming researchers from north and south, east and west.

A lovely group of early-career researchers arrived in last night from Cork for the workshop, for instance. They came to Ireland from many different countries across Europe and beyond to work with the excellent researchers here.

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Dr. Chiara Loder, with Ireland’s MSCA office, helps researchers write winning proposals

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Dr. Geraldine Canny, the MSCA National Contact Point and Head of Ireland’s MSCA Office.

Dr. Amir Tabaković, a Strategic Research Proposal Coordinator housed in DIT’s Research Enterprise and Innovation Services office organized the event. Amir was formerly a Marie Curie Fellow to TU Delft in the Netherlands. Several other alumni assisted in organizing, including Dr. Declan Devine, the  Chair of Ireland’s MCA Alumni chapter who was a Marie Curie fellow–following his wife’s own MSCA fellowship. They have spent time doing research in Switzerland, the US, and now back home in Ireland.

The day’s line-up of speakers was both exceptionally accomplished and full of insight. We started with introductions by our hosts, Amir and Declan, and a talk by Dr. Geraldine Canny, who is Head of the Irish Marie Skłodowska-Curie Office and National Contact Point – H2020 Marie Skłodowska-Curie Programme. She is responsible for the delivery of the office suite of application supports and also provides input into MSCA policy as a Programme Committee member. The program continued as follows:

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Jean Cahill, one of my mentors and heroes

I’ve included photos of many presentations. During the coffee break and post-workshop lunch, we got to socialize and network. I asked Jean Cahill–a Head of Research at DIT and one of the people who has helped me with writing various grants in the past–how many Marie Curie Fellows we’ve had at DIT. She rattled off five, and I was two of them! I think, for institutional records, I’m counted as an incoming MSAC Fellow (2014-2016) and an outgoing MSCA Fellow (2018-2020). The reason I’d asked Jean about this was that I had just met DIT’s newest incoming MSCA fellow, and she’s female. Interestingly, all the five fellows to DIT who Jean identified are female. The program is open to men and women alike, so the success rate for women applying to DIT is very high! I’ve always found DIT to be a very supportive environment. In fact, Jean and others like former National Contact Point Dr. Jennifer Brennan, helped me draft both of MSCA applications–going well above and beyond their job requirements and providing loads of pertinent advice that was crucial to my success in securing funds. For both of my MSCA applications, Professor Nancy Stenson and Dr. Marek Rebow helped with editing as well.

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Chatting with Professor Brian Bowe in DIT’s Rathdowne House

For today, Amir had asked me to talk about my experiences as a Marie Curie fellow and identify some gender aspects of my research work. I encouraged the audience to push beyond gender and seek inclusivity for all types of diversity. I asked them to promote wider considerations of diversity in European funding calls and evaluations, as well as in their own research. I asked them to consider publishing gender-related aspects of their findings in journals that reach more than one type of specialty audience and I provided examples. Then I described one of the research projects I’ve done as an MSCA fellow and the data analysis I have underway now that I will report via the Society for Research in Higher Education.

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Dr. Shanonn Chance with DIT’s Dr. Barry McCauley, an expert in BIM and Quantity Surveying

At the conclusion of the workshop, I met up with my former Fulbright and MSCA supervisor, Professor Brian Bowe. Then I walked from DIT Grangegoreman to DIT Bolton Street by way of our new path–which connects the two sites and takes just seven minutes to walk. There at Bolton Street, I returned a library book (Marton and Booth, 1997) and had a chat with Dr. Barry McCauley, who was serving as my temporary replacement but has since been appointed to a permanent full-time position of his own at DIT. I couldn’t be more pleased, as Barry is an excellent teacher and researcher and is excelling even while adjusting to his new prosthetics. Barry was injured on a construction site when he was 21 and his legs were crushed, but he has not let this stop him. He went on to get his Ph.D. and he’s a force to be reckoned with! We are lucky to have him at DIT; I really enjoyed learning Navis Works and CostX from him in prior years and he has done some very important research on uptake and implementation of BIM (Building Informational Modelling) globally.

If you are a researcher reading this who is interested in applying for a fellowship to come do research in engineering education at either DIT (soon to be TU Dublin) or at my other institution which is UCL, or in BIM implementation here at DIT, please contact me and I’ll help you write a grant proposal (IrelandByChance at gmail dot com).

Meeting my bosses at London DIT Alumni’s annual chapter gathering

Maintaining professional connections is important, and although I’m on a Marie Curie fellowship in London, I still meet frequently with leaders from my home institution, Dublin Institute of Technology (DIT). Last night I met with Dr. Avril Behan (my direct line manager at DIT) in London, our recently-retired boss Professor Kevin Kelly, and DIT’s president Professor Brian Norton.

The London DIT Alumni chapter hosted a brilliant get-together, an annual event, at London’s Irish Center. This gave me a chance to meet DIT alumni working in London and also catch up with Avril, Kevin, Brian, and other DIT staff like Ciara Ahern.

I also had the pleasure of meeting anew many DIT graduates: MBA Tania Eyanga, Architecture Technologist John Heaney, daylighting designer Dr. Ruth Kelly Waskett, and engineers Paul Sheridan and Stephen Sunderland who work with WSP.

I’ve attached photos of the event as well as a few pics from Professor Kevin Kelly’s retirement party, held at DIT a couple of weeks ago.

At last night’s gathering, Professor Brian Norton provided updates on DIT’s new campus at Grangegoreman, and delivered the exciting news that a pedestrian route connecting Grangegoreman with DIT Bolton Street has just opened. The walk now takes just seven minutes and cuts through Kings Inn Law building, a truly stroll walk up Henrietta Street to Constitution Hill. Can’t wait to use this route! It will cut about 15 minutes off the current walking time between the two DIT sites.

Copenhagen to Athens to Kos: A hop, skip, and a jump from SEFI to ICL

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Copenhagen

Following last week’s meeting of the European Society for Engineering Education (SEFI) in Copenhagen, I enjoyed a post-conference dinner with colleagues, explored Copenhagen’s old town in the morning, and then jetted off to Greece for a second international conference–this one on Interactive Collaborative Learning (ICL). I spent a day in Athens en route, inspiring a deep sense of awe! For an architect like me, visiting the Acropolis is a must, and the experience was even more uplifting than I’d expected. I loved Athens and I will certainly return!

The photo album in this post includes photos of the day I spent cycling around Kos with my colleague, Dr. Stephanie Ferrall, and also from my one-day layover in Athens. It also provides a glimpse into the conference events to show what the work of a traveling researcher really looks like.

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Athens

The highlight of the ICL conference was getting to know colleagues with similar interests. I particularly enjoyed getting to know the Portuguese and Sri Lankan delegations and the keynote speakers.

Presentations were interesting and informative and I’ve posted photos of Anuradha Peramunugamage (from Sri Lanka), Stephanie Ferrall (USA), Christina Aggor (Ghana), and Rovani Sigamoney (currently from France) presenting their work.

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Dr. Ferrall’s ICL keynote

Stephanie was a big reason I attended. I submitted a paper for this conference after seeing she was listed as a keynote speaker. Stephanie and I were research fellows in Dublin together at DIT during the academic year 2014-2015. Stephanie is a world expert in engineering education pedagogy and in supporting LGBTQ+ students. She is currently the national president of the American Society of Engineering Education (ASEE). Her work focuses on inclusivity and “revolutionizing diversity” in engineering schools. Stephanie’s keynote speech at ICL focused on classroom diversity whereas the keynote she delivered the week before, at SEFI, described large-scale patterns and philosophies regarding diversity. At ICL, Stephanie was honored by the International Society for Engineering Pedagogy (IGIP) with its highest award, the Nikola Tesla chain.

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My ICL presentation

I was also drawn to this conference because much of my research has to do with engineering students’ experiences of collaborative learning and that is the core subject of the conference.

At the ICL conference, I presented one line of my analysis, a study of Middle Eastern women’s experiences studying engineering abroad in Ireland. I collected interviews with eight such women over a period of four years. You can download “Middle Eastern Women’s Experiences of Collaborative Learning in Engineering in Ireland” at this link: https://arrow.dit.ie/engschcivcon/109/. The citation for the paper is:

Chance, S. M., Williams, B. (2018). Middle Eastern Women’s Experiences of Collaborative Learning in Engineering in Ireland. International Conference on Interactive Collaborative Learning (ICL) in Kos Island, Greece, 2018.

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Bike tour of Kos Island

As there were a few days free between SEFI and ICL, I’d gotten to spend time exploring Kos with Stephanie before the second conference. I posted some photos of us on Facebook with a notable but unanticipated effect. A colleague of mine from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) in the USA, Christopher Kochtitzky, took notice and reached out to connect with Stephanie since their goals for changing the world overlap.

img_0173Thus, one of my top accomplishments of this conference was connecting my colleagues from the CDC and ASEE. Soon Stephanie and Chris will be working together. They will connect engineering educators and students with the CDC’s new initiatives to increase physical activity across the US population and to improve public transportation, particularly with regard to accessibility. Stephanie will be able to tap into Chris’s experience and policy research and Chris will access Stephanie’s national contacts to help achieve CDC goals.

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On the Acropolis in Athens

The best surprise of my trip to Kos was meeting and getting to know Rovani Sigamoney from the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO). This organization does amazing work. UNESCO was created following WWII to help preserve cultural monuments, artifacts, and places. Today it seeks to get better educational opportunities to the world population and to improve living conditions. I’ve always admired UNESCO’s work but saw it as a big, far-away organization. Now I see ways I can contribute, and I’m getting straight to work! Thanks, Rovaini, for the fine job you’re doing with the engineering division!

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UNESCO’s Rovani Sigamoney

On the last evening of my trip, I dined alone. The waiters provided my favorite dessert, although it wasn’t on the menu, and they made it a gift. Shortly before that, I had snapped a photo of the Kos police station in the evening light (see the end of the photo gallery). Little did I know I’d be back at that station in the morning, to report that I’d dropped my purse.

Into every life, a little rain must fall, and in this case, my purse fell off the back of the e-bike I had rented to get around town on the last day. With the generosity of many different people, I managed to make my way back to London late Saturday night. Now I’m working to recover all those bank cards and government-issued photo IDs. Thankfully, though, I still have my health and my happiness and great memories of Copenhagen and Kos, and friends new and old.

Continental Conference-Hopping

img_4547It’s been a hectic few weeks, beginning with Inspirefest in Dublin, Ireland (21-22 June) to the American Society for Engineering Education (ASEE) conference in Salt Lake City (June 24-27), a quick visit to Virginia Tech and around the state, and ending today with the UK Royal Academy of Engineering and University College London Centre for Engineering Education’s symposium on Inclusive Engineering Education (July 9-10).

Inspirefest: Women in Tech

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Live drawing made during my sister Heather’s performance of “Hedy! The Live and Inventions of Hedy Lamar”, by Liza Donnelly.

Inspirefest is an annual celebration of women in technology, and this was its fourth year. It’s organized by Ann O’Dea and Silicon Republic. I attend the very first year it was held, and was invited this year as a VIP since my sister, Heather Massie, was performing the one-woman play she wrote, produces, and performs. The play is “Hedy! The Life and Inventions of Hedy Lamar” and Heather has been performing it all over the world. Just before heading to Dublin, she spent five weeks performing around Zimbabwe and South Africa. A major highlight of this year’s Inspirefest was Heather’s abbreviated 65-minute performance in one of Ireland’s largest theaters, the Bord Gáis Energy Theatre.

Other highlights this year were the opening address by Ireland’s Minister for Health, Simon Harris, Ranjani Kearsley’s talk, “it’s time to level the playing field”, meeting new friends and reconnecting with ones I’d met at the first Insirpefest, like head STEMette, Anne-Marie Imafadon. Many of the talks were recorded and made available online.

I’ve inserted a small gallery below with a few pictures from Inspirefest of Heather, me, and other special guests. My colleague and frequent co-author, Bill Williams flew in from Portugal on other business and joined us for Heather’s play. I’ve also included photos with Ann O’Dea, Anne-Marie Imafadon, and Mary Carty, who I met at the first Inspirefest.

ASEE

I hopped on a plane to Salt Lake City to attend my first ever ASEE conference. I presented two research papers at this event:

Chance, S. M. & Williams, W. (2018). Preliminary findings of a phenomenological study of Middle Eastern women’s experiences studying engineering in Ireland. American Society for Engineering Education (ASEE) conference in Salt Lake City, Utah.

Chance, S. M. & Duffy, G. (2018). A model for spurring organizational change based on faculty experiences working together to implement Problem-Based Learning. American Society for Engineering Education (ASEE) conference in Salt Lake City, Utah.

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My first ASEE conference!

You can download and read the papers at the links above. At ASEE, I met many people who I’ve been collaborating with online, and developed new friendships as well. I attended many sessions, caught up with colleagues like former Fulbright scholars to DIT, Drs. Stephanie Ferrall (the incoming ASEE president) and Sheryl Sorby (a director of the ASEE), and met some all-stars like Prof. John Heywood and Prof. Karl Smith. Professor Smith has been bringing experts and theories from student development to speak at this conference for decades, and I hope to carry on his work.

Virginia Tech–my home place

I made a stopover in Virginia, en route back to London, taking a few days to work from home as well as four days of holiday to visit family and friends.

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Visiting Nicky Wolmarans and Jenni Case at Virginia Tech.

Virginia Tech has one of the USA’s two university schools dedicated to Engineering Education, so I grabbed the opportunity to meet with the schools’ new head, Dr. Jennifer Case, and her colleague from the University of Cape Town, Dr. Nicky Wolmarans.

Other highlights of being in Virginia were visiting my dad, dear friends (Katie, Mary, John, Wendy), aunt and uncle (Kitty and Glen), former professor (Pam Eddy) and former student (Luanna Marins) and their families (Dave and Afonzo), some former colleagues (Tony), Virginia Beach (but for a very short 1.5 hours), and my mom for a visit to the Udvar Hazy Center (a branch of the Smithsonian’s Air and Space Museum near Dulles Airport).

Inclusive Engineering Education Symposium

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Got back to London in time for UCL’s two-day symposium on Inclusive Engineering Education Symposium!

Landing in London Sunday morning left me a bit of time to rest up for the Inclusive Engineering Education Symposium, hosted by my colleagues in UCL’s Centre for Engineering Education. This was a chance to hear from industry leaders as to what steps they have taken to diversify and to welcome a new publication by the Royal Academy and UCL with tools and techniques for making engineering classrooms more inclusive.

The picture gallery below shows all these events and more….

 

Visiting Professors in London

West End fun with Drs. Eddy and Pape

I’ve been visiting with Professors from the States the past few weeks here in London, and morphing into even more of a Visiting Professor myself!

Two weeks ago, Prof. Pam Eddy and her husband Dave arrived for a week-long visit. Pam was my PhD advisor at William and Mary and she has been an inspiration, role model, and source of advice as I’ve moved across from teaching architectural into researching engineering education. Pam had a Fulbright fellowship to Dublin Institute of Technology (DIT) in 2009. Because I’d set that very same goal—winning a Fulbright grant to work at DIT—in 2003, Pam’s advice on the matter proved indispensable. She shared valuable insight into how Fulbright and DIT operate and she helped me connect with others in-the-know. On my first working trip to Dublin, I got to interview more than half a dozen academics about how DIT works, and this gave me the context I needed to make the most of my subsequent time here. Pam and I even met local scholars together, over another spring break, also before my Fulbright, when we both found ourselves Dublin.

Pam is truly one of the most generous, energetic, and positive people I’ve ever met. I’m beyond lucky to know her and I value her advice—even if I don’t always understand the funny policy-wonk words she uses! 😜

After the excellent musical “Kinky Boots.”

Pam has featured prominently on this blog before, as she’s visited me often in Dublin and we have met up in cities all around the world: Rome, Paris, New Orleans, and Washington, DC. Now we’ve added London to that list. Her professor-husband Dave is usually in tow, and always adding interesting insight, since he’s a former engineering dean.

I’m proud to say this was Pam and Dave’s first trip to the City of London and they really seemed to enjoy the place. I think they will be back!

While here, Pam and I got to work on the journal article we are crafting along with two of my colleagues from the Irish public service. We’ve had our proposal accepted for Policy Reviews in Higher Education, and now we need to pull the parts together and synch them effectively.

Following the departure of Pam and Dave, I had the chance to catch up with another favorite professor, Ron Daniel, and his spouse, Cheryl.

With Prof. Ron and Cheryl Daniel

Ron Daniel was my professor for spring semester of my second year of architecture school. We worked closely together, along with some other amazingly dedicated students and teachers, to create a multimedia extravaganza to celebrate Virginia Tech College of Architecture and Urban Studies’ 25th anniversary in 1989. We had nine screens running simultaneously with performance artists dancing throughout the hour-long show. In preparation for that bash, we also silkscreened posters and designed and poured concrete banner stands with welded steel bases—yes, I learned to weld at Virginia Tech!

For the Anniversary show, I was most closely involved with making several of the 16mm films running on three of the nine screens. And I was one of nine diligent students running the projection booth. What a techie I was!

The following year, Ron invited me to teach film workshops to younger students, and that got me into leading activities and events for my peers. Over the next three years, I taught many workshops and also organized trips, including excursions to Charlottesville, Columbus, and New York City to hear visiting lecturers—world renowned architects visiting UVA, Ohio State, and Columbia University.

When I was nearing graduation from VT’s Bachelor of Architecture program, I went to Ron, expressing interest in the teaching role I’d seen older students doing in the past. I hadn’t realized they were actually designated as lecturers. This was a full-time faculty role, and Ron thought I fit the bill. I was soon awarded this one-year stipend position, and looking back, it seems that may have been my first fellowship.

The year lecturing at VT was a success so I continued on to earn a post-professional Masters in Architecture that would allow me to teach in the future at the university level in architecture. Ron was one of my three advisors for that Masters, and the thesis document was good enough to snag a job working as an intern architect in Switzerland for a year, at Studio Martin Wagner. I also helped teach film that year, for the SCI-Arc center Martin directed.

For the past two years, Ron has been working in London. We finally got a chance to catch up in the neighborhood in Barnes where he and Cheryl have lived for the past year. Aongus and I throughly enjoyed visiting in their home, dining out with them, and attending a jazz performance together. Photos of the Cadillac Kings are included in the photo gallery below. What a hoot!

The instrumental roles professors have had in my life is clear. I’m glad I’ve stayed connected with many who have helped grow my abilities.

Prof. Brad Grant

In the past week, for instance, I’ve communivated with Prof. Brad Grant and Prof. David Leslie, who I learned from at Hampton University and William and Mary, respectively. I always enjoy hearing from them! Their kids—Dr. Rae Wynn-Grant, Asa Wynn-Grant, and Prof. Tom Leslie are true inspirations as well, and are always raising the bar higher.

And I’m doing my bit to reach out and support others in return. I hope someday the students I’ve worked with will have similar things to say about me. I cherish the ongoing relationships I have with my former students, many enabled by Facebook. Just this week, another one earned his license to practice architecture in the USA. Monteil Crawley joined his wife, Kristina Crawley, with this status. Monteil worked on the design of the Smithsonian’s new museum of African-American History. They both took my second-year architecture studio and Architectural Ecology class. I was Krissy’s Bachelors thesis advisor. Krissy went in to get a Masters from UVA. They have two bright and beautiful children.

Profs. David and Thomas Leslie

Today, I make a point to extend the kind and gracious support to the students I meet, as my professors extended me.

Kendall Brantley and Aongus and me at the Vaudeville Theater

For instance, a colleague of mine from Hampton has a niece, Kendall Brantley, who has been studying at NYU here in London. We’ve met a few times, and I took her for dinner and a play last week, before her trip home.

A PhD supervision meeting with Thomas Empson

I hope the relationship I’m developing with my new PhD advisee, Thomas Empson, will extend far into the future as well. Thomas is a doc student at London South Bank University, and I’ve just been appointed Visiting Professor there to aid in my work with him. Our working sessions over the past few months have been quite successful and I have the highest of hopes for him. He’s a bright student, well organized, and an extremely hard worker.

One of my current supervisors, Prof. John Mitchell, helped me connect to LSBU as a way to meet one of my training objectives. You see, my current fellowships aims to equip and position me to secure funding for larger grants. This is so that, someday, I can lead an independent research team. I’m gradually gaining skills in supervising and in publishing. And I’m connecting the people I know from the USA with scholars I meet here in Europe and those I’m working with globally, through networks like REEN and SEFI.

With London superstars Emanuela Tilley and Folashade Akinmolayan

I’m receiving this training as a Marie Curie Research Fellow at University College London, where I’m also officially classified as a Visiting Professor (which will help me continue collaborating with scholars here even after my two-year fellowship is done, for an additional three years or more). I’ve been learning so much from my new colleagues, like professors-in-the-making Folashade Akinmolayan and Emanuela Tilley.

Building a professional research network, connecting scholars across the ocean, and learning to supervise doc students are all important in building my skills as a researcher. And, they are a lot of fun as well!

 

 

 

Sharing research at EERN

The Engineering Education Research Network (EERN) for the UK and Ireland met today at Newcastle University. Since one third of the presentations at this colloquium were delivered by DIT’s research group called CREATE (for Contributions to Research in Engineeing and Applied Technology Education), I got to catch up with my beloved colleagues from Dublin.

Yesterday, Emma Whitney, a colleague at UCL asked me to Tweet the events since three of us from UCL were attending. She gave me a few pointers for Tweeting, and I gave it a go.

@shannonchance7 has never had much success with Twitter. But with Emma’s tips I was able to do a respectable job (although I can’t get Twitter working now, on the train back to London, so perhaps I downed the platform!?).

It was great hearing about the #engineeringeducation #educationresearch folks are doing across Ireland and the UK.

This was the first EERN event with specific discussions to help support and guide PhD students and early-career/newer researchers. I actually feel that we’re all new to this! It’s an emerging field of research and were working hard to establish the methods, publications, conferences, and knowledge-sharing networks.

I’m delighted to be part of such a vibrant community, dedicated to improving the student experience and the quality of learning. I’ve uploaded photos of the conference and also of my morning exploration in Newcastle-upon-Tyne. It’s a lovely little city and I’ll hope to return again some day.

Able Nyamapfene from UCL.

The DIT CREATE contingent. DIT’s Una Beagon. Rebecca Broadbent from Astin University. DIT’s Darren McCarthy. DIT’s Gavin Duffy. EERN colloquium organizers, Jane Andrews and Roger Penlimgton. Shannon, Darren, Rachel, Robert, Una, Brian (with Gavin MIA for the selfie)