Recently, I had the good fortune to gather with the European University of Technology (EUt+) as part of its EthiCo project. There are eight, soon to be nine, technological universities in this alliance.
The first day, I met with leaders of an EthiCo work package who are developing materials to teach teachers to integrate ethics into their course delivery. The leaders of this project were receptive to my ideas, and asked me to present ideas and a framework—which I synthesized from the Engineering Ethics Education Handbook I am currently co-editing—during the subsequent day’s work sessions.
On the third day, I facilitated a session on integrating ethics into participants’ own teaching, using case studies, challenge- or problem-bases learning, or Values Sensitive Design and Virtues Practice Design. The photos below show the groups hard at work.
On the fourth day, I facilitated a session on defining learning for teacher-training modules on using each type of activity listed above (case studies, CBL or PBL, and VSD or VPD).
Being part of the EEE Handbook empowered me to step forward and lead these sessions extemporaneously. I got to draw from the contributions of 115 experts on our handbook team.
The EthiCo group of the EUt+ was enthusiastic about learning the techniques promoted in the handbook, and they look forward to reading and using the Handbook once it’s published.
Cultural exchange was a big part of the EUt+ week as well, and you see photos of this side of things below.
I immensely enjoyed meeting and working with colleagues at TU Dublin’s peer institution who are part of EUt+ and also building string relationships with TU Dublin colleagues who attended.
I added days before and after the conference for exploring Cluj, Romania. It’s a fascinating place to visit!
My colleague and co-Deputy Editor of the European Journal of Engineering Education, Professor Jonte Bernhard, came to visit for the weekend. Jonte was on his way to a PhD viva in Limerick where he is serving today as External Examiner.
Here’s a favorite picture from the summer, taken with Jonte, at a dinner in Stockholm that was hosted by our chief editor, Kristina Edström.
This past weekend, Aongus cooked up a lovely dinner for Jonte and me on Saturday. We were joined by a PhD student named Urša — she had attended the Doctoral Symposium that Jonte and I organized at the SEFI conference in September.
On Sunday, Jonte, Aongus, and I enjoyed brunch at Oscar’s on Smithfield Plaza. Aongus and I had hoped to show Jonte several of Dublin’s sites, but the rain put us off. We did make it over, between downpours and hail, to tour the Jameson Distillery on Bow Street.
Aongus had never been on the Jameson’s tour, and I hadn’t since 2003, so it was a rare treat despite it being just a block from our flat.
For me, the work week started with attending an online conference. Then, I did a bit of peer reviewing before heading off to teach Tech Graphics 2-6 PM.
My co-teacher, Marina, and Rachel (who teaches physics lab down the hall at the same time as us) both came over for dinner to celebrate the semester coming to a close.
As both Marina and Rachel are working on PhDs (in BIM and spatial perception, respectively), we’ll be sure to get them reviewing papers for our journals soon!
I met my PhD supervisee, Sandra, online just as the sun was coming up this morning. Thankful that she’s well on track, I got down to work, whipped up a conference abstract and got it submitted for tonight’s deadline.
Then I settled in for an intense day of paper editing. I was finalizing my team’s major revisions — our big December 18 deadline will be here far too soon. And with other deadlines looming large overhead, I took the long open stretch on my schedule today to make substantial progress.
I forgot my gym class. I forgot to eat lunch.
But while my head was under the sand, two very welcome emails landed in my box. The first I’ve been awaiting since last spring, but our university processes are slow. I’ve been assigned to teach in the school where my passion lies (still at TU Dublin, just in a different school as mine was dismantled).
I’ll now be teaching in the School of Architecture, Building and Environment which is great because I really love teaching students architecture. I’ll still teach BIM topics, too, of course.
The second incoming message was a bit of thanks from a researcher who used the advice on my blog and won herself an MSCA Marie Curie fellowship this year! I couldn’t be prouder than to help make this type of difference in someone’s life.
So, goals big and small came to fruition today. These emails reported life-changing news for me and for Diana.
With no time to rest on my laurels, I had to wrap up my replies fast, and run out to buy groceries for dinner. We’re having a younger friend over to discuss financial planning, a new hobby of mine.
Life is busy, but full of interesting new challenges. Lots to fill you in on over the coming weeks!
It’s a very strange and dreary day here in Dublin. We almost never get thunder and lightning, and that novel occurrence is providing the main bit of excitement for the day. (The thunderclaps are rolling longer than I’ve heard in my life — more like a standing ovation than mere claps.) Suffering from lack of focus, I have picked items from the non-urgent portion of my extensive “To Do” list, which will mean the urgent ones get more urgent. At least when I procrastinate, I’m still actually working!?
So this morning, in addition to meeting online with my PhD student, I spent some time studying the composition of the Editorial Board of the European Journal of Engineering Education (EJEE) and creating a spreadsheet to help me understand our peer reviewers’ expertise better, as I’ve recently become Deputy Editor of this journal.
The second one has a title that tends to scare people!
That scary name and the fact that it’s been behind a paywall on the publisher’s website mean that the tally of downloads isn’t as high, but you can find it free (as the embargo period passed) using this link from the TU Dublin ARROW repository, where it has had 870 downloads to complement the 1458 views at the publisher’s site. I really hope people will find and use this paper on “Comparing grounded theory and phenomenology,” especially if they are uncertain about which methodology to use for their research. Grounded theory and phenomenology have some similar characteristics, but the results we report in this paper illustrate that you can use them to find different things. Grounded theory is helpful when studying organizational and policy issues, as the article shows. Phenomenology looks deeply at the core essence of the experience. Using the two different methods in parallel analyses, we were able to learn about teachers’ (phenomenological) experience implementing Problem-Based Leaning, and also the (grounded theory) way they organized themselves to achieve results.
Meanwhile, the third on the list, “The study of grit in engineering education research: a systematic literature review” is EJEE’s fourteenth all-time most downloaded. This paper offers really important advice for anyone wanting to use Angela Duckworth’s theory of “grit” (passion and perseverance) to study student development. We found many researchers to be leaving out crucial information when reporting their “grit” results, and we provide advice on how to report findings in a reliable way.
As you can see in the screenshots above, I also authored the all-time most-downloaded article of the Australasian Journal of Engineering Education, “Above and beyond: ethics and responsibility in civil engineering” with 4,838 views as of today. I put my whole heart and soul into this paper and I am overjoyed to see it succeed. I hope readers will find the content useful.
Anyway, these discoveries prompted me to check my Google Scholar profile with happy results — I have climbed to h-index 10, which means ten of my articles have been cited at least ten times. The next milestone is h-index 11, which requires 11 articles to each have 11 or more citations. Those take a long time to accrue, but hopefully, people who download the articles will cite them in their own upcoming publications.
Now, for a little 2:26 PM lunch and a deep dive into some curriculum design for the afternoon! Thanks for stopping to read this. I truly appreciate your support.
Today, my colleagues and I presented at the International Society of Educational Planners 2022 (virtual) conference. We brought findings from the realm of engineering education research to share with the educational planners attending.
Early on, Diana Martin and I presented “Promoting engineering ethics education and assessment practices for wider implementation in educational planning.” I presented the first half but I had a chance to make some screen captures once Diana took over. You can see them here:
The most exciting part of the day, for me, has been the presentation Sandra Cruz-Moreno, my PhD student at TU Dublin. Sandra started her PhD studies in January 2022 and this (already!) is her fourth symposium/conference presentation. Sandra presented “Considerations influencing women’s decisions to study engineering in Ireland.”
I’m Sandra’s Lead Supervisor, and we had good confidence going into the day since yesterday Sandra presented all her progress to my Advisory Supervisor, Professor Brian Bowe. It was great to gain Brian’s insight and hear his resounding endorsement for the work Sandra has completed to date! We have a solid plan, agreed by all, for moving forward.
Sandra delivered the entire ISEP presentation herself and the audience’s reaction was warm and supportive.
The scholar who presented between our two teams, Gary Snyder, raised many interesting points. If you’re interested in the innovation adoption curve, you might enjoy the slide below:
Many of the participants at this ISEP conference, including Gary, are from Virginia Tech. Seeing them makes me realize that I’m missing the amazing autumn colors of Virginia again this year. It’s been too long since I’ve had the chance to feel that crisp Virginia fall weather and red, red maple leaves.
I’ll close on another high note, by showing Diana’s keynote presentation from Wednesday, when she was awarded THE 2022 Outstanding Dissertation Award from ISEP. Amazing work, Diana!
I am so lucky to know these two, and honored to work with them both.
This week, I’m attending a virtual conference of the International Society for Educational Planning (ISEP). My colleague, Diana Adela Martin, is speaking later today. She’s presenting her PhD thesis, since she’s being awarded the 2022 ISEP Outstanding Dissertation Award. (Someone I know nominated her, wink, wink!)
ISEP publishes Educational Planning and its most recent issue features an article by Diana and me, along with our TU Dublin colleague Catherine Deegan. You can download the current issue at this link and find our article starting on page 23. Here’s the APA citation:
Yesterday, I cycled to the post office to pick up a package containing print copies of the journal. ISEP moves fast! The issue was published at the end of last week, and the print copies arrived (all the way from Blacksburg, Virginia) just days later.
Diana and I will be presenting aspects of the published work at the ISEP conference on Friday, and my PhD student, Sandra Cruz-Moreno will be presenting aspects of her doctoral research in the in the same session.
In other good news, classes this semester are rolling along smoothly, and University College London recently extended my term as Visiting Professor for an additional five years.
This site began as a way to share cultural experiences while I was a Fulbright Fellow in Ireland 2012-2013. I ended up falling for Ireland and I returned as a Marie Curie research fellow in 2014, and when that ended I got a full-time lecturing post at TU Dublin, although I was allowed a two-year career break to complete a second Marie Curie research fellowship, this time to University College London, in 2018 and 2019. I returned to Ireland and just recently earned Irish citizenship and an Irish passport.
Are you interested in doing a research fellowship in Ireland? If you’re doing any kind of education research and would like to study/work with me in Dublin for an individual fellowship, I’ll be happy to help with your application in the capacity of supervisor.
The MSCA Postdoctoral Fellowship call
The 2022 Postdoctoral Fellow MSCA European funding call is now open (closing 14 September 2022). This funding can support a postdoc for at least 2 years, with all salary and training costs covered. There will be a special MSCA call for researchers fleeing the Ukraine war launching later in the summer. There have been some changes to the call so I will need to consult the Guide carefully. You can find a recorded webinar here ……………..
The Irish Marie Skłodowska Curie Office delivered a webinar on the MSCA Doctoral Networks on 05 May 2022 where a representative from the EU Commission’s Research Executive Agency presented about the Doctoral Networks 2022 call and shared case studies from previously funded coordinators. The recording and slides are available on the IUA website: https://www.iua.ie/events/msca-doctoral-networks-webinar-5th-may-2022/
They have also created a shorter bitesize overview of the MSCA Doctoral Networks 2022 call which is available here: https://youtu.be/W_PfjTaqkVw
Ethics teaching and research are core to my work — teaching, researching, designing curricula, and editing. Here’s a two-day snippet of activities….
Yesterday, I attended a work session for the EthiCo project, led by TU Dublin but working in collaboration with many other technological universities. We’re considering multi-dimensional understandings of ethics. And, our group is developing tools for teaching students about ethics and teachers about how to incorporate ethics (social and environmental justice) into their classrooms. TU Dublin’s Professor Noel Fitzpatrick is leading the effort.
Just before we met, my WhatsApp thread was alive as my colleagues and I determined the theme of our upcoming Dublin Maker (July 23) booth: Reboot Arcade. Short description: Games of all sorts and art installations relating to rebooting civilization in our own unique way.
We’ll inspire those who visit our booth to envision the world we’d create if we were doing things from scratch. I’ll contribute an activity for our booth at Dublin Maker about circular economy and regenerative design.
Throughout the day, I also wrote and uploaded feedback to my BIM students in the Research Methods module.
And, did quite a bit of editing on a manuscript with Inês Direito and Bill Williams using the Hero’s Journey framework. Here’s snapshot of my screen with a graphic I’ve made for that paper:
Today started with a conference of the members of the European University of Technology (EUt+). I presented ideas as part of the morning’s panel on the role of Education in the EUt+. I talked about the importance of ethics in technical education. It’s strange but exciting to be in a room with over 100 educators discussing topics passionately in person once again!
After the panel, I chatted with colleagues over coffee, and later followed up with many via email about how they can connect to SEFI and SEFI’s Ethics working group, and also the upcoming Project Approaches in Engineering Education (PAEE) conference where I’ll be delivering a keynote.
I really enjoyed hearing the speakers launch the conference (the secretary of the initiative, TU Dublin’s president, and the TU Dublin point person for the EUt+). Hearing them, I got a better idea of what’s in store for us as we join together as one big university offering more transferability of our students and of ideas and among our teachers. We’re building the future and creating our new reality.
But I couldn’t stay long. I hurried home to meet online with the editorial team for a new Handbook on Engineering Ethics Education. I zipped off emails to invite lead authors for Theme 4, on ethics accreditation.
I’ve got to get back to work now, but I’ll paste the handbook outline below, so you can see what kinds of things we’re exploring.
Outline for the Handbook on EEE
Theme 1: Foundations of engineering ethics education
Chapter 1.1: The purpose(s) of engineering ethics education
Chapter 1.2: How engineering ethics education makes use of normative ethical theories
Chapter 1.3: The individual and the collective in engineering ethics education
Chapter 1.4: Codes and professional organizations in engineering ethics education
Chapter 1.5: Reason and emotion play in engineering ethics education
Theme 2: Interdisciplinary contributions to engineering ethics education
Chapter 2.1: Philosophical and religious foundations in global perspective
Chapter 2.2: Sociological, Postcolonial and Critical Theory foundations