Deputy weekenders

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.

A jolly bunch of engineering education research editors! Drs. Inês Direito, Jonte Bernhard, Shannon Chance, Jenni Case, and Kristina Edström after the EARLI SIG9 conference in August 2022.

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!

Giving Thanks from Dublin

Thanksgiving here in Ireland is usually just another ordinary Thursday. But this year I made a point to celebrate. I registered for a conference held at the Royal Irish Academy on Dawson Street, so I could learn about “Next Generation Construction in Ireland” while soaking in old-school Irish ambiance, and I bought tickets for an American Thanksgiving feast.

I love visiting the stately old RIA building, with its floors of well worn books. There was an interesting exhibition on display, and lovely architectural details to treat the eyes and soothe the soul.

Despite heavy rain falling before my cycle over, I was inspired to wear my favorite Irish sweater and the “BIM Hero” lapel pin I received earlier in the year. (I am hoping the pin will provide the good karma I need to get my current manuscript on the Hero’s Journey polished up to final form to submit this coming week!)

Delighted to have been named a “BIM Hero” at the BIM Coordinators Summit.

During this one-day conference, I learned more than a few new things about Modern Methods of Construction, Irish strategies and policies, and education programs and plans to up-skill the Irish workforce.

Dr. Tara Brooks from Queens University in Belfast presented fascinating research and I’ve included images since I really enjoyed the graphic devices she used to situate her contributions to the body of knowledge in BIM and digital construction.

My own university, TU Dublin, was very well represented among attendees, presenters, panelists, organizers, and session chairs. I’ve pictured Joseph Mady, a part time lecturer who delivered an interesting talk.

Our conference ended promptly at 5, as Ireland’s Prime Minister was scheduled to speak in the same room at 7, and there was setting up to do.

With the conference concluded, I headed across Dawson Street to Cafe en Seine for a cocktail with Aongus.

Then we cycled together over to the Hilton near Lock C6 on the south side canal. We met up with a merry group of Americans (most with Irish in tow) to share a feast of turkey will most all the trimmings.

It was Aongus’ first sweet potato casserole with marshmallows and he’s still raving about his new find. It’s fun to see the delight he takes in root veg… he also loved the glazed carrots. Such a healthy boy! My favorite were the green beans sautéed with bacon.

We made some new friends and had a ball sharing stories in a familiar twang. Until next year:

Happy Thanksgiving, y’all!

Americans make fast friends!

Deputy at work: Strategizing editorials and scanning publication rankings

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.

EJEE’s Editor-in-Chief, Dr. Kristina Edström, recently published an editorial welcoming me aboard. She kindly listed three publications I have in EJEE:

References

That top one, “Opportunities and barriers faced by early-career civil engineers enacting global responsibility” is the most downloaded EJEE article of the past 12 months, with 2211 views since it was published last November.

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.

Rubbing elbows with planners at ISEP

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.

The Assessment of Ethics

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:

Chance, S. Martin, D. A., & Deegan, C. (2022). The assessment of ethics: Lessons for planners from engineering education’s global strategy. Educational Planning, 29(3). 23-40.

Hot off the press, copies for my co-authors and me.

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.

A photo from our first day of Tech Graphics — Hand Drawing class for autumn semester 2022.

Welcome to Ireland by Chance!

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.

Today, this website shares stories of being a “researcher on the move”, but a huge majority of visitors come to learn about the process of applying for a Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions (MSCA) individual fellowship. I’ve posted lots of advice. You can find out more using the following links:
Abstract and Eval
• Excellence Section 1.1, 1.2, 1.3, 1.4
Notes on using tables
• Impact Section 2.1, 2.2
Implementation Section 3.1, 3.2, 3.3, 3.4
Ethics Section
Final Report (after I subsequently won the fellowship!)

A happy glowing Shannon in September 2022!

Ethics teaching and learning

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:

A snapshot of the graphic I’ve made for the Hero’s Journey paper. (Adapted from J. Campbell by Shannon Chance, 2022.)

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

Chapter 2.3: Psychological foundations

Chapter 2.4: Management & Organisational studies foundations

Chapter 2.5: Engineering Design foundations

Chapter 2.6: Environmental Science foundations

Theme 3: Teaching methods in Engineering Ethics Education

Chapter 3.1: Literature review mapping the use of different teaching methods

Chapter 3.2: Case studies and dilemmas in engineering ethics education

Chapter 3.3: Project-Based Learning and Challenge Based Learning

Chapter 3.4: Value Sensitive Design and Design-Based Learning

Chapter 3.5: Field learning in engineering ethics education

Chapter 3.6. Arts-based methods in engineering ethics education

Chapter 3.7: Reflective and dialogue-centered approaches

Theme 4: Accreditation and Engineering Ethics Education

Chapter 4.1: Background history of ethics in accreditation

Chapter 4.2: Contextual mapping of ethics education and accreditation nationally and internationally

Chapter 4.3: Overview of literature and analysis of the types of research that have been published on Accreditation and EEE

Chapter 4.4: Comparative analysis of accreditation processes and implications at global and international levels

Chapter 4.5: Comparative analysis of accreditation processes and implications for ethics education at the local level

Chapter 4.6: A synthesis of the prior chapters in the section

Theme 5: Ethical issues in different engineering disciplines

Chapter 5.1: Software engineering

Chapter 5.2: Chemical engineering

Chapter 5.3: Biotechnology

Chapter 5.4: Civil engineering

Chapter 5.5: Mechanical / aerospatial engineering

Chapter 5.6: Electrical / electronic engineering

Chapter 5.7: Environmental engineering.

Theme 6: Assessment of different aspects of Engineering Ethics Education

Chapter 6.1: Course and curriculum quality

Chapter 6.2: Answering the need of industry, local communities, and other stakeholders

Chapter 6.3: Moral reasoning, ethical judgement, moral awareness, ethical sensitivity

Chapter 6.4: Views on knowledge, science, engineering

Chapter 6.5: Competencies such as critical thinking

Chapter 6.6.: Attitudes and character

Chapter 6.7: Limitations and critical perspectives on assessments

Global leadership with REEN

Reflecting professionally on my past four years, REEN is a definite bright spot.

I’m delighted with what we have accomplished since 2018 when I joined the Governing Body of the Research in Engineering Education Network (REEN), and since I took on the role of Chair for 2020 and 2021. I got to put many of the theories to work that I learned in my PhD in Higher Education Administration (Policy, Planning and Leadership).

During my term as REEN Chair, my team and I have met our existing goals of organizing a bi-annual Symposium (REES, or Research in Engineering Education Symposium), publishing a special focus journal issue from each REES, and hosting an informational website. We seek to build momentum and capacity to generate new knowledge, publish quality research, and implement research-informed teaching approaches in regions all around the globe.

We aim to host REES in geographically diverse regions, and we see this Symposium as a way of introducing new areas and communities to EER. I helped recruit and select the hosts and locations for REES 2021 in Perth Australia, and REES 2023 in Hubli, India. REES has been/will be held in:

  • 2007 – Honolulu, Hawaii, United States
  • 2008 – Davos, Switzerland
  • 2009 – Palm Cove, Queensland, Australia
  • 2011 – Madrid, Spain
  • 2013 – Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
  • 2015 – Dublin, Ireland
  • 2017 – Bogotá, Colombia
  • 2019 – Cape Town, South Africa
  • 2021 – Perth, Australia
  • 2023 – Hubli, India

I’m delighted to notice that REES has now been held on every (inhabited) continent!

We recognize that attending REES in person involves global travel and is thus prohibitively expensive for many — as well as taxing on the environment — and we seek to make it more accessible, inclusive, and environmentally sustainable. So, the organizing team has developed multiple avenues for online participation.

We started innovating this way at the outset of the pandemic, when we organized with UCL’s Centre for Engineering Education a full-day online Engineering Education Meet Up. We co-organized a second one on International Women’s Day 2020.  People attended these online events from all over the globe and we facilitated all time zones in the first event.

We built on this success with virtual events in the design of the upcoming REES in Perth, which has a global “relay” type structure. Events will happen face-to-face in Perth but will include paper presentations in a hybrid format (with face to face + online participation). Each research paper will be discussed three times:

  • first in the afternoon in Perth (hybrid)
  • second online at a time comfortable for the Middle East westward across Europe and Africa and across the Americas, and
  • third at a report back to the Perth group the next morning.

We have a host of facilitators enlisted to carry the dialogue across the time zones during REES 2021, to support continuity. We will use collaborative tools (e.g., Padlet, Miro, Jamboards, or similar) to record and add ideas at each stage of the global relay. I’ll be facilitating two of these relay sessions, scheduling and helping the facilitation leaders prepare, and moderating the online keynote sessions. Our keynote speakers have agreed to deliver their talks twice: once to people in time zones near Perth (hybrid format), and again to the other side of the world (online only).

REEN will provide awards for the REES Best Paper and best student paper (the Duncan Frazier Award), and a sub-committee of REEN Board members is now in the process of selecting winners for 2021.

During my term as Chair, the REEN Board has developed a practice of building capacity among board members and empowering each other so that there is continuity in transition and handover over responsibilities among Board members.

In the past two years, we have expanded our Board to provide a better representation of non-Anglo regions; the prior naming and allocation of representatives previously privileged the USA and Australia, but it now provides two representatives per continent with some sub-divisions specified to ensure geographical diversity (here’s an example call for applicants). We’ll modify further soon, to make the Middle East and Russia two separate regions.

We have innovated and grown. In the past two years, we have developed many new policies and procedures (such as for recruiting candidates and conducting elections) and programs (e.g., virtual Meet Ups, hybrid conference formats, capacity-building groups, and a capacity-building workshop series that we’ll soon pilot test).

We established a new transition period, to bring the incoming Chair on board 6-12 months prior to taking the full role of Chair, and the outgoing Chair to transition out gradually over 6-12 months to provide advice and support to the incoming Chair.

We also established a new rotation cycle for elections that helps stabilize membership so that we have a consistent level of turnover each year. Our new practices for recruiting and selecting Board members provide a common and transparent approach across regions that will help REEN fill its needs for diverse skills, interests, and expereince. We developed a more balanced approach that allows seasoned and emerging researchers alike a chance to serve.

As we are a larger group, we have not had trouble recruiting people to take on new roles or expand our repertoire of offerings. These were problems encountered in the past, when sitting Chairs couldn’t find replacements, for example. In the past three years, we have had extensive competition for the Board positions we have advertised, typically with 6-10 people running for each open position.

To help ensure engagement among Board members and address a few cases of under-performance, I implemented an annual benchmarking activity wherein Board members submit a written reflection at the start of each year, summarizing what they contributed the prior year, and setting forth goals and aspirations they have for the coming year. This approach has been successful in helping build a sense of ownership and accountability. It helps us identify and build momentum around shared goals. Thankfully, it also gave individuals who were not contributing very much a chance to see that for themselves and modify their behaviour by either stepping up their efforts, better stating what they intended to contribute so they could deliver, or stepping down to allow others a chance to serve and lead.

As REEN itself does not have a bank account, we have successfully controlled costs. We moved our website to a less expensive/nearly free provider, and we upgraded the content. During my time on REEN, we have added a page on EER journals, and our team continues to cultivate and refine this list, trying to provide trustworthy and consistent information to authors to aid their selection of publication venues and help them avoid predatory publishers. We still have the annual cost of the website domain, and I’ll try to find a sponsor for that as I don’t like that obligation passing from Chair to Chair as we’ve been doing.

Over the past 24 months, we produced a special focus journal issue on ethics in engineering, published in hard copy in May 2021 via the Australasian Journal of Engineering Education. I was the Editor, supported by the Editor-in-Chief Sally Male, and Associate Editors from REEN Teresa Hattigh, Andrea Mazzurco, and Valquíria Villas-Boas.

A full list of past REEN publications is available on our website and this list is being expanded this very week to include updated content and a new page of domain-specific journals as well.

REEN also conveys news and communicates happenings via a new blog feature on our website, with a new email subscription list, in addition to a new Twitter handle, @BoardREEN and the LinkedIn Discussion Board that we have operated for years. I’ve been a major player in posting to social media, and hope to soon recruit someone to help with the job. Perhpas when we bring new Board members in, early in 2022.

The special focus issue of the Australasian Journal of Engineering Education (that I mentioned above) adds to the global body of literature on engineering ethics education. The introduction by the guest editor Shannon Chance presents the nine manuscripts and explains ties across them. Overall, the set covers ethical decision-making models and pedagogical techniques, philosophical aspects of ethics in engineering practice and education, ethics in accreditation, and the role of extra-curricular activities and gaming platforms in students’ ethical development. The set has been released digitally and will soon be published in hard copy as well. Many of the articles are open access, and a link to each is provided below.

In the special issue, authors Gwynne-Evans, Junaid and Chetty argue for a repositioning of ethics at the heart of engineering graduate attributes. Martin, Conlon and Bowe examine how “cases” (or detailed examples) are used in the teaching of engineering ethics; these authors argue for the development of immersive scenarios and active stakeholder engagement, as well for the development of local repositories and metrics of effectiveness. Stransky, Bodnar, Anastasio and Burkey explore the power of immersive environments that encourage authentic, high-level engagement by students. Sivaraman proposes a 4-tier rubric for evaluating engineering students’ ethical decision-making skills in the context of hypothetical scenarios. Lawlor offers a dissenting perspective to the teaching of engineering ethics through case studies and he recommends mirroring practices used in the education of philosophers—reading, lectures, discussion, and assessment—so that students are equipped to think critically about the profession. Hess, Miller, Higbee, Fore and Wallace explore empathy and ethical becoming, with the aim of helping Biomedical students recognize issues in practice environments. Frigo, Marthaler, Albers, Ott and Hillerbrand bring to the forefront the role of phronesis and virtues in engineering education. Advocating an authentic approach to teaching ethics, Polmear, Chau and Simmons highlight the role that informal, out-of-class, or extra-curricular activities play in the students’ ethical development. Finally, Chance, Lawlor, Direito and Mitchell assess the ramifications of traditional approaches to teaching ethics by asking civil engineers how they had learned about ethics and find that lessons of codes and professional practice were likely present in their engineering courses but completely unmemorable.

Frankly, I’m over the moon that this last article, “Above and beyond: ethics and responsibility in civil engineering“, by my own team, has already been downloaded from the publisher’s website 1371 times. It’s free to download, so please click this link to download the paper and learn what we discovered.

As REEN wants to help more regions build skills in EER and a sense of community working together, our Board members launched, in late 2019, a group we are now calling the “Engineering Education Research Network – Africa”. This group shares resources and ideas via WhatsApp and meet online to share similarly. Our Board has been working diligently to develop a series of workshops to introduce this community to EER and examples of how to do EER. We will run this workshop series in January-February 2022. I’ll meet with the group (online) later in November to launch that workshop initiative and encourage people to sign up.

Board members are hoping to extend these support activities into additional regions, eventually providing video recordings translated into local languages to help people learn EER. Our long-range plan for these EERN communities includes Latin America, the Middle East, and China.

In the role of Chair, I also developed a new logo with input from all Board members:

Our little Board is small but mighty. My wholehearted thanks go to the current Board members who made possible all the accomplishments I outlined above:

2021 (serving until the end of 2021)

  • Valquiria Villas-Boas (Central and South America)
  • Brent Jesiek (North America)
  • Shannon Chance (Europe)

2022

  • Teresa Hattingh (Africa)
  • Mahyuddin Arsat (Southeast Asia)
  • Sarah Dart (Australasia)

2023

  • Aida Guerra (Europe)
  • Cindy Finelli (North America)
  • Camilo Vieira (Central and South America)

2024

  • Jiabin (Emily) Zhu (China and Northeast Asia)
  • Xiangyun Du (Middle East and Russia)
  • Esther Matemba (Africa)

Special projects

  • Sally Male (REES 2021)
  • Mike Klassen (ad hoc)
  • John Mitchell (ad hoc)
  • Sohum Sohoni (REES 2023, Indian sub-continent)

Hot off the presses! Opportunities and barriers faced by early-career civil engineers enacting global responsibility

Taylor & Francis has just published my team’s newest article, “Opportunities and barriers faced by early-career civil engineers enacting global responsibility” in the European Journal of Engineering Education!

It’s Open Access, so you can download it for free at https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/03043797.2021.1990863

I collected interviews for this project with civil engineers recruited by Engineers Without Borders UK (EWB-UK). Dr Inês Direito helped with interviews and data analysis and Professor John Mitchell helped us with editing.

This is a sister article to one published in May 2021 via the Australasian Journal of Engineering Education that was titled “Above and beyond: ethics and responsibility in civil engineering“. That article has 1,354 downloads to date! It’s also Open Access, and free to read.

We hope you’ll find the various insights revealed about the ethics and experiences of early-career engineers interesting and informative.

Four-Year Flashback: Proudest Achievements

I haven’t been blogging much during the pandemic, as I spend far too many hours sitting in front of a computer monitor for things that must be done. Hours for hobbies like blogging just weren’t available – my eyes and thighs couldn’t take more. Moreover, since I posted advice and examples of Marie Curie final reports and applications there has been a deluge of visitors to those pages and posting more would cause those visitors confusion.

But, the traffic slowed down this year after the 2021 deadline for applications. You can see the cliff edge, where traffic dropped off, in the image to the left, below. These web materials were heavily visited in 2020 as well as 2021, as shown to the right, and I anticipate MSCA applicants will return for the 2022 application cycle.

In any case, I’m delighted with having over nine thousand visitors this year!

Most visitors came from my home (USA) and host (Ireland and the UK) countries, but I also reached people far away!

It’s time to update you! And, as I’m currently preparing to put my best foot forward in a local interview, it’s also a good time to reflect on what I’ve accomplished in the past four years:

  • Marie Curie Research Fellow and Visiting Professor at UCL
  • Programme Chair for the TU Dublin’s BSc (Honours) in BIM (Digital Construction)
  • Governing Body member and Chair of the Research in Engineering Education Network (REEN)
  • Guest editor for three special focus journal issues
  • Journal Associate Editor, Editorial Board member, and mentor for new reviewers
  • Author of multiple publications, having collected data for additional new publications as well
  • International speaker and workshop coordinator
  • Licensed Architect with up to date CPD
  • Supervisor and mentor for emerging researchers, appointed Senior Fellow of the (UK) Higher Education Academy
  • Blogger sharing examples to build human capacity in research and research-informed teaching
  • Manager of a portfolio of funded projects

In this post, I’ll tell you a bit about the first two items. Hopefully, I can detail other items in subsequent posts — so examples are fresh in my mind come interview time!

After successfully completing a two-year Marie Cure individual fellowship at UCL, I returned to Dublin, but I have kept my networks and collaborative activities at UCL going strong. The fellowship opened so many new doors for me — it exposed a new world of opportunities. My host institution, a global powerhouse in research and in engineering education as well as architecture education, provided an ideal place to grow new knowledge and skills. The fellowship’s generous training/travel budget, plus the exciting assignments UCL sent me on (e.g., leading two Master Classes in South Africa), helped extend my network into many new regions. Even today, nearly two years after leaving the UCL campus, I work daily with my UCL colleagues. As Visiting Professor, I attend online lectures and research sessions, provide leadership on research and gender issues, and engage in collaborative projects. Today, UCL Consultants pays half my salary, straight to TU Dublin, to provide me time to develop curricular materials for a brand-new degree programme in Architectural Engineering. This curriculum development work has been challenging, but also incredibly interesting and rewarding.

Just a month after returning to Dublin and just a month before the pandemic came crashing in, I accepted the role of Programme Chair for TU Dublin’s BSc (Honours) in BIM (Digital Construction) and launched that programme. I had an amazing Dean, but the two layers of supervisors between the Dean and me (as Programme Chair) were vacant for over half a year and so I learned quite a range of new skills. As my new line manager pointed out to me yesterday, I left my own personal stamp on the programme as it developed. Thankfully, he described this as a positive! Developing the structure and content of the “Research Methods” and “Work-Based Learning” modules for this BSc has been particularly rewarding. The “Honours” part of the programme name indicates that the students must complete a research thesis to graduate, and we’ve done an impressive job guiding the students to topics where doing research will benefit them, their careers, and the organizations where they work. We graduated our first cohort and have a second nearing completion. The tough part of this role, for me, is keeping up with technologies and standards that evolve so fast.

In upcoming posts, I look forward to reflecting on REEN, journal, and mentoring work. But for now, I’d better get back to my “To Do” list!