Directors of TU Dublin’s MSc in Transport + Mobility Visit UCL to Compare Notes

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When my colleagues at Technological University Dublin announced to me they were launching a new Master’s degree in Transport and Mobility (student handbook available here), I immediately invited them over to London to meet my supervisor, Professor Nick Tyler, who is a leading expert in transportation design, particularly where accessibility and mobility are concerned. He advises cities worldwide about their transportation systems, and in the Queen’s 2011 New Year’s Honours ceremony, Nick was appointed Commander of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (CBE) for Services to Technology. That followed an earlier appointment to OBE. As an American, I wasn’t quite sure what all this meant, but Wikipedia provided me a handy primer:

The five classes of appointment to the Order are, in descending order of precedence:

  • Knight Grand Cross or Dame Grand Cross of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (GBE)
  • Knight Commander or Dame Commander of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (KBE or DBE)
  • Commander of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (CBE)
  • Officer of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (OBE)
  • Member of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (MBE) –Quoted from Wikipedia,

Overall, I wanted my Dublin colleagues to learn about how Nick teaches his Master’s level module on their MSc topic, to see the research center he has built that is named PAMELA, and to encounter Nick’s epic personality and his can-do, ger-her-done spirit.

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Shannon Chance hosting TU Dublin’s Sinead Flavin, Roisin Murray, Lorraine D Arcy, and David O Connor

 

Four colleagues from TU Dublin took me up on the offer and traveled over to University College London this past Monday to meet with Nick and other world-leading researchers and experts in transportation, accessibility, and spatial planning.

The aim of the visit was for TU Dublin staff to get advice on starting their new degree program and to identify potential projects and research where they could collaborate in the future. The delegation from TU Dublin included:

David and Lorraine are co-chairs of the new MSc in Transport and Mobility.

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Meeting at the Bartlett with leaders of the Space Syntax group

All members of the visiting group are all involved with a new multidisciplinary part-time MSc in Transport and Mobility at TU Dublin which has a focus on sustainable transport. The first students started this January. All members of the group are Early Stage Researchers, most less than 6 years past earning their doctorates, despite having years of consultancy and teaching experience behind them.

The TU crew touched down at London Heathrow a little late due to extreme winds, but it was, nevertheless, an action-packed day!

10:30

Meeting at the Bartlett School of Architecture with Professor Laura Vaughan who is Director of the Space Syntax Laboratory, and her research associates Professor Sophia PsarraDr. Ashley DhananiDr. Kayvan Karimi, and Ph.D.candidate Kimon Krenz.

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Meeting with experts from Civil, Environmental, and Geomatic Engineering at UCL

12:00

 

Meeting with transportation experts from UCL’s Department of Civil, Environmental and Geotechnical Engineering (CEGE) at the Chadwick Building to discuss Transport and Mobility. Attending from UCL were: Professor Emeritus Roger Mackett, Dr. Tom Cohen, Dr. Adriana Ortegon, and Visiting Professor Shannon Chance. Professor Mackett is an expert in how transportation affects public health–a topic near an dear to my heart and one I’ve published about.

13:20

Head up to Tuffnell Park to visit the PAMELA Lab.

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Meeting with Nick Tyler at the PAMELA lab

14:00

 

Start of Nick’s MSc class in Transportation Design “T19 Accessible Design”. Meet with Professor Tyler to learn about his teaching and research, which has been called “The London Lab With A Fake Tube Train” by Londonist magazine.

There were a number of additional experts my TU Dublin colleagues would like to have met with so, hopefully, they will return again soon.

 

Celebrating International Women’s Day Building Arcade Games in Dublin

In Dublin last week, to conduct interviews with architecture and civil engineering students on their conceptualizations of design creation, I took an afternoon away to help teach girls from St. Bridig’s in the Coombe to build small hand-held video games. This was part of International Women’s Day 2019. It was one of two workshops our TU Dublin RoboSlam team conducted.

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Frank Duignan (far left), his two sons Sam and Oran, Shane Ormond (far right) and I all helped coach the students.

The workshop I helped conduct was the beautiful and newly-renovated Kevin Street public library (see photo gallery below). We had about 20 students and a handful of teachers there to build their first electronic devices. The game’s design was created by TU Dublin’s own Frank Duignan.

The students from St. Bridig’s were great–so focused and so very polite. They finished their breadboard gadgets in no time and had a chance to pay the games Frank had programmed in.

Thanks to TU Dublin’s Civic Engagement Office and St. Bridig’s of the Coombe for helping our RoboSlam crew get this experience to the students. The teachers posted a blog on their school site.

 

Interested in a new job or fellowship in engineering education research (EER)?

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Shannon Chance and Abel Nyamapfene about engineering education research (EER) at UCL.

If you are interested in finding a new job or fellowship in engineering education research (EER) then please visit the EER Jobs & Opportunities page I’m hosing on this blog. I update it regularly as I become aware of new jobs, grants, conferences, and learning opportunities.

For instance: If you want to get more involved with engineering education research (EER), I recommend consulting the following sites. The sites can link you to all sorts of EER jobs, grants, fellowship, and funding calls. I’ve created this page for people who would like to work in the field of, or study how to do, EER.

I’m also sharing notifications I receive about EER funded Ph.D. fellowships and upcoming conferences that I learn about via emails or conferences.

Today the I’ve posted:

Select news from the February newsletter of the European Society for Engineering Education (SEFI):

go to the ERR Jobs & Opportunities tab to learn more!


 

Learning London: How office trivia aboard a double-deck tour landed me “The Language of Cities”

I’ve been spell bound all day by Dayan Sudjic’s 2016 book, “The Language of Cities.” I purchased the book after work yesterday to keep my knowledge of city-building fresh and up-to-date. I made that find at Waterstones, across the street from my office in Bloomsbury, and sealed the deal with a £10 gift card I won at Christmas.

In the past 24 hours, I’ve devoured every last page.

img_3672The Faculty if Engineering held a team-building event for Christmas, aboard a private double-decker bus that toured around the city of London. I got to know other members of our faculty as I sat with three people I didn’t previously know. Our table of four formed a team for the trivia contest, developed by our Dean’s personal assistant, the marvelous Maria Speight. Maria invented all the questions, having to do mostly with the sights we were passing. Excelling in this game required in-depth knowledge of the history of this fine city, which dates back to Roman times.

My team was fiercely competitive, and the two Brits in our team knew quite a lot about their city. I worried I couldn’t contribute; but I actually was able to help out.

I earned us a whopping nine points by knowing the name of every reindeer! In the end, there was a three-way tie. It took several rounds to break, but in the final round, I knew the winning answer. I had learned the population of London via my multiple visits to the city’s Building Centre. At the time the video at the Centre was made, there were about 8.8 million inhabitants. I extrapolated to today, guessing a current 8.9 mil, whereas Maria had an official count of 8.79…. Nevertheless, our answer was the closest and we won the top prize: Waterstones gift cards for our whole team!

What a great way to spend a day before Christmas, on a sunset tour of a glorious city, surrounded by passionate people who love their work in academia. I am truly blessed!

And now, I’ve soaked in every detail of Dayan Sudjic’s “The Language of Cities.”

The book calls me back to my days teaching “urban history and theory” to third-year architecture students at Hampton University, a module we provided students prior to their summer study abroad.

img_3706Sudjic’s book is full of insight, making fascinating new connections, so the synapses in my brain have been firing furiously today! Sudjic makes plenty of reference to the history and operation of London as well as cities around the world, and I am connecting the principles to places I’ve been.

Sincere thanks to the Dean and Faculty of Engineering at UCL and Ms. Maria Speight for helping get this book into my hands so I can learn more about the city we toured by double-deck bus!

The photo gallery below shows the bus-tour day as well as an informal night out for Christmas with engineering colleagues.

Learning London: Enjoying the (bus/fellowship/research) Journey

img_5651When you’re supervising a Ph.D. student, s/he usually comes to you for meetings. In my case, however, I travel over to LSBU twice a month to meet with my supervisee, Thomas, and his primary supervisor, Professor Shushma Patel. I’m doing this for several reasons:

  • It helps ensure Thomas gets effective advice that coincides. That helps since Thomas’ work and his conceptual thinking are very complex and we can work together to make sure all the parts fit together coherently.
  •  As part of my Marie Curie Fellowship, I’m also in training myself. As part of Work Package 4, Training, I’m supervising Thomas. This is an excellent way to build skills supervising students. Once Tomas successfully completes his Ph.D., I’ll be eligible to serve as a primary Ph.D. supervisor at TU Dublin and other institutions. This will surely make my applications for future funding more enticing to grantors, in cases where I’m proposing to “train” others in research.
  • In this case, I get to learn from Professor Patel, Thomas’ primary supervisor, who has impressive experience guiding doc students. I’m the second supervisor.
  • Meeting with Thomas and Shushma is loads of fun!

In advising Thomas, I get to draw from many aspects of my past experience–design creativity, environmental sustainability, engineering teamwork, and higher education (its organization and inner workings).

We usually spend about two hours in each meeting, as there are multiple facets to our work:

  • Most importantly, Thomas is writing a thesis (which in the United States we call a “dissertation”). It will include case studies of innovative engineering production. This is the central focus of our work.
  • Thomas is implementing his background research in designing and delivering The Great Challenge competition for the Design Museum, as I blogged about last week.
  • We’ve had an abstract accepted for a conference on product design education and we are developing it into a full paper, to submit in early March.

These meetings are delightful! We connect lots of synapses and we most definitely grow our brains while discussing complex inter-related issues.

img_5647-1The appetizer for the main-course meeting at LSBU each week is the trip there. I take a different route than I take to work daily and, on these days, I enjoy getting a bit of exercise. The fastest route to their campus is by way of the DLR, which is a 15-minute walk away from our flat

The cake-and-icing of the day? The double-decker-bus trip back to UCL! I love taking the London Bus from LSBU near Elephant and Castle, past Waterloo and the London Eye (the city’s giant Ferris wheel), across the Thames, over Strand Street, past Holburn Station and then straight north, through Bloomsbury, past Russel Square, to Tavistock Square. Then, it’s a short walk to the Engineering Front Building.

img_5672-1All parts of the journey are full of interesting sights!

Today on the big red bus, I got my very favorite seat–right above the bus driver, perched high above the street. The lovely sunlight today helped me overlook the bitter cold, and enticed me to snap even more photos than usual. You can see shots of the trip overall, with a frame-by-frame of some of my favorite areas.

I disembarked at Tavistock Square where a ceremony to commemorate Gandhi, held on the anniversary of his death, was concluding. The Square was magical and I felt Gandhi’s presence and the sense of peace he cherished–until I slipped on some black ice and nearly took a fall. Thankfully, I–or perhaps the spirit of Gandhi–caught me on the way down. I escaped injury.

img_5680Lessons of the day:

  • Completing a Ph.D. is a journey, best done with a collegial group of curious, knowledgeable, creative, and good-natured people.
  • A Fellowship also provides a gateway from the ordinary day-to-day routine and facilitates journey into the unknown.
  • There’s no better way to traverse the city on such a day than London Bus.
  • Seize the day and enjoy the journey. Make the very best of it you can.

AND:

BE THE CHANGE YOU HOPE TO SEE IN THE WORLD! –Mahatma Gandhi

 

Theories on How Students Learn

UCL’s Centre for Engineering Education is offering a brand new Masters of Science (MSc degree) in Education and Engineering. We have six students enrolled in the first cohort, and my colleague, Dr. Abel Nyamapfene, asked me to provide the second lecture for the winter term, on theories related to learning and teaching in higher education.

Fortunately, I had two modules on this topic as part of my taught Ph.D. coursework, and it’s one of my very favorite subjects. It’s also the topic of a new special focus issue I’m organizing for IEEE Transactions on Education, and this field of research also provides the framework for a new study I’m starting to investigate differences in the ways architecture and civil engineering students perceive the world.

Giving this two-hour lecture also helped support the goals of my current Marie Curie Individual Fellowship, titled “Designing Engineers: Harnessing the Power of Design Projects to Spur Cognitive and Epistemological Development of STEM Students.” An overarching objective of my work is to develop and promote better ways to teach and support diverse STEM students, including women and minority students.

I had a great audience at the MSC lecture!

Even though the student group is small–and two of the six students attend via the Internet, meaning I could hear but not see them–we had a very active discussion. It really helped that a number of my colleagues attended as well. In addition to me, five other staff members from UCL were present, including Jay Derrick, Dr. Abel Nyamapfene, and Dr. Fiona Truscott. In fact, Dr. Inês Direito, my closest colleague, contributed photos of the event:

Before the class meeting, I provided the following synopsis to Able, which he distributed to all everyone involved in the class.

Session speaker:  Prof Shannon Chance

(UCL Faculty of Engineering Science)

As college students take their courses, they’ll gain much beyond the academic benefit. Through their courses, and through the guidance of instructors like you, students can develop attitudes and skills that help them gain confidence, work well with others, and better understand themselves and the world around them. (Strang, 2015)

Outline:

Theories on student development are well known among student affairs professionals who provide extra-curricular and auxiliary support to students, yet these theories are less frequently known or applied by academic staff (Evans, et al., 2009). Understanding these theories may help engineering educators communicate clearly and effectively with students—helping students develop incrementally, providing effective scaffolding for student learning, and providing an appropriate balance of challenge and support. This session provides an introduction to seminal (groundbreaking) theories. It will be presented from an American perspective, as most theories presented in this session originated in the USA.

Studying at the university has been found to promote development including (Strang, 2015):

  1. Soft, professional, generic or transferable skills
  2. Self-knowledge
  3. Values and ethical standards (see identity theories)

A group of theories bridging these topics has deals with epistemological development (or epistemic cognition). Epistemology is the study of how an individual conceptualizes knowledge, where knowledge comes from, and how it originates. Students with sophisticated epistemic cognition consider multiple points of view; they make decisions in context and recognize their own ability to create new solutions and generate new knowledge. Research shows students who can restructure their thinking to do this get more out of their higher education and are much better prepared for their careers than those who do not (Perry, 1970). Such skills are necessary for effective performance in STEM, yet the typical engineering student progresses fewer than two positions along Perry’s nine-position scheme in college (Pavelich & Moore, 1996).

At the end of this introductory session, participants will be able to:

  • Identify several different established theories about how students learn
  • Discuss ideas underpinning at least two of the learning theories discussed
  • Identify some research methods used to construct Perry’s theory
  • Critically analyze one learning theory for its relevance in their teaching practice 

Pre-session tasks:

Please print this hand-out and read this short blog entry prior to our class session:

Additional readings:

The session will provide a brief introduction to each of the following theories, and students are encouraged to follow up in learning about specific theories that interest them from the list below, which is organized in the same sequence as presented during the session. You might want to use a print out of this sheet to help you keep notes during the session.

Excellent overview of theories

  • Evans, N. J., Forney, D. S., Guido, F. M., Patton, L. D., & Renn, K. A. (2009). Student development in college: Theory, research, and practice. John Wiley & Sons.

Balance of challenge and support

  • Sanford, N. (1962). The American college. New York, NY: Wiley.

Student involvement

  • Astin, A. W. (1999, September/October). Student involvement: A developmental theory for higher education. Journal of College Student Development, 40(5).

Student persistence

  • Tinto, V. (1987). Leaving college: Rethinking the causes and cures of student attrition. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

Seminal theory of epistemological development

  • Perry, W. (1970). Forms of ethical and intellectual development in the college years: A scheme. (1st). San Francisco: Wiley.

Subsequent theories of epistemological development

  • Belenky, M. F., Clinchy, B. M., Goldberger, N. R., & Tarule, J. M. (1986). Women’s ways of knowing: The development of self, voice, and mind. New York: Basic Books.
  • Baxter Magolda, M. B. (1992). Knowing and reasoning in college: Gender-related patterns in students’ intellectual development. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.
  • King, P. M., & Kitchener, K. S. (1994). Developing reflective judgment: Understanding and promoting intellectual growth and critical thinking in adolescents and adults. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.
  • Hofer, B. K. & Pintrich, P. R. (2002). Personal epistemology: The psychology of beliefs about knowledge and knowing. Mahwah, NJ: Erlbaum.
  • Kuhn, D., Cheney, R., & Weinstock, M. (2000). The development of epistemological understanding. Cognitive Development, 15(3), 309-328.
  • Schommer-Aikins, M. (2004). Explaining the epistemological belief system: Introducing the embedded systemic model and coordinated research approach. Educational Psychologist39(1), 19-29.

Seminal theory of identity development

  • Chickering, A. W. (1969). Education and Identity. Jossey-Bass.
  • Chickering, A. W., & Reisser, L. (1993). Education and Identity. The Jossey-Bass Higher and Adult Education Series. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.

Professional identity

  • Loui, M. C. (2005). Ethics and the development of professional identities of engineering students. Journal of Engineering Education94(4), 383-390.

Gender identity

  • Bilodeau, B. L., & Renn, K. A. (2005). Analysis of LGBT identity development models and implications for practice. New directions for student services2005(111), 25-39.

Spiritual identity

  • Parks, S. D. (2011). Big questions, worthy dreams: Mentoring emerging adults in their search for meaning, purpose, and faith. John Wiley & Sons.

Racial or ethnic identity

  • Cross, W. E. (1978). The Thomas and Cross models of psychological nigrescence: A review. Journal of Black Psychology5(1), 13-31.
  • Phinney, J. S. (1993). A three-stage model of ethnic identity development in adolescence. Ethnic identity: Formation and transmission among Hispanics and other minorities61, 79.
  • Helms, J. E. (1997). Toward a model of White racial identity development. College student development and academic life: Psychological, intellectual, social and moral issues, 49-66.

Typology theories

  • Kolb, D. A. (2014). Experiential learning: Experience as the source of learning and development. FT Press.
  • Kolb, D. A. (1976). Learning style inventory technical manual. Boston, MA: McBer.
  • Myers, I. B. (1962). The Myers-Briggs Type Indicator: Manual.
  • Strange, C. C., & Banning, J. H. (2001). Educating by Design: Creating Campus Learning Environments That Work. The Jossey-Bass Higher and Adult Education Series. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.

Tools for Design Educators

I also introduced the students to Crismond and Adams extremely helpful tool for helping teach design-related aspects of engineering and other subjects:

  • Crismond, D. P. & Adams. R. S. (2012). The informed design teaching and learning matrix. Journal of Engineering Education 101(4), 738-797. (This is Table 1, from pages 748-749 of the article.)

Here’s a copy of the matrix that I typed into the computer when I first read their paper. It may be of use to you.

And here are some of the slides I presented to Abel’s class:

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Hot off the press: Research methodologies to link theory with practice

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The cover design for EJEE

Our 12-member governing board of the Research in Engineering Education Network (REEN) aims to increase the quality and visibility of engineering education research globally. We do this by:

 

  • Organizing the Research in Engineering Education Symposium (REES) that is held every other year to encourage dialogue, networking, idea-sharing, and skill-building among engineering educators. You can join us in Cape Town for REES 2019, July 10-12, 2019.
  • Assisting local REES hosts in publishing the proceedings of the REES conferences.
  • Organizing and publishing special focus journal issues showcasing research conducted for dissemination at REES that carries the research findings far beyond the confines of the REES meeting itself.

Today, REEN received good news from one of our Board members, Professor Jonte Bernhard from Linköping University’s Department of Science and Technology in Norrköping, Sweden. Jonte and I are the two European Representatives on REEN. Every continent (except Antarctica) is represented on our Board.

Jonte happily announced:

the EJEE special issue based on REES 2015 in Dublin is now finally published online (individual papers have been published earlier) as vol. 44, issue 1-2: https://www.tandfonline.com/toc/ceee20/44/1-2

This issue is on “Research methodologies that link theory and practice” which was the focus of the REES 2015 meeting in Dublin. You can read for free the EJEE Editorial for Special Issue: Research Methodologies that link theory and practice written by principal guest editor Anne Gardner with co-editors Jonte Bernhard, Sally Male, and Jennifer Turns. Your library may provide you with access to the paid articles. The list of articles is extensive.

Some have to do with design education (a favorite topic of mine!):

A major goal is to get engineering students to engage–especially in dealing with tough, complex, and wicked- or ill-structured problems, the way I observe architecture students do:

One of the papers in this journal has to do with the benefits of getting students to write, something I’ve published on before:

Two articles deal with spatial perception, an area where the Dublin hosts of REES 2015 have developed expertise with the help of expert Professor Sherly Sorby:

Other articles in the issue include:

Congratulations to all the authors published in this journal. Well done and keep raising the bar for us all!

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.

 

Supervising Thomas Empson’s Ph.D. Research

thomas-empsonI just had my bi-monthly supervisory meeting with my Ph.D. student from London South Bank University, Thomas Empson. I really enjoy these meetings because Thomas is firing all cylinders and his work in sustainable production is moving full speed ahead.

Today, we discussed three of his current projects.

His Ph.D. thesis/dissertation study is the first, and foremost, of these projects. He’s just received his formal approval to proceed from the university’s ethics committee, so one of the most tedious (but nevertheless crucial) parts of the Ph.D. work is behind him! Two high-profile companies have just agreed to participate in his project–allowing him to study in great detail their cases of sustainable design and production.

Secondly, we discussed a conference abstract that we submitted and got accepted for development into a full paper and presentation at the upcoming the 21st International Conference on Engineering and Product Design Education (EPDE) conference, run each year by the Design Society. Our full paper is due March 4 and the conference will be held at the University of Strathclyde in Glasgow, September 12 & 13, 2019.

Our paper draws together parts of Thomas’ Ph.D. literature review and ties this background research on existing theories and models of sustainability to a project he’s running for the Design Museum, called The Great Competition, which is the third big project we discussed.

“The Great Competition is a new national design challenge for undergraduates for the 2018-19 academic year. It aims to promote greater industrial innovation and multi-disciplinary collaboration between design and engineering, encouraging students to develop innovative solutions to today’s most pressing social and environmental issues.

This year, undergraduate students are invited to respond to an industry-led live brief on sustainable manufacturing, inspired by the UK Government’s Industrial Society. A judging panel of leading experts across design, engineering and related fields will select the short-listed and winning submissions. Short-listed submissions will have the opportunity to take part in a designer-led masterclass and Awards ceremony in May 2019. The winning submission will also receive a cash prize of up to £3000. The Great Competition is delivered through the generous support of The Royal Commission for the Exhibition of 1851”.  —The Great Competition webpage

Thomas’ work for The Great Competition was just featured on LSBU’s website, and I hope you’ll take a look at the article:

Branching out: LSBU research fellow tours universities UK-wide to promote The Great Competition

I’ve uploaded screenshots of the web page here, and you can view the original with live links at http://www.lsbu.ac.uk/about-us/news/the-great-competition

thomas lsbu 1

thomas lsbu 2

thomas lsbu 3

 

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.