I maintained a quick pace of work during month two of my Marie Curie Research Fellowship at University College London.
I have a grant-funded training fellowship and my activities are designed to build skills in specific areas, organized around the six “work packages” outlined below. This blog summarizes my academic achievements from February 2018.
Work Package 1: Qualitative Research
Analyzed data for a policy paper to improve women’s access to STEM education in Ireland. Located relevant policies from Poland to use as precedents and translated them into English with the help of Google Translate.
Prepared and submitted two draft papers to the Association for the Study of Engineering Education (ASEE) with:
- Emerging Findings of a Longitudinal Study of Middle Eastern Women’s Experiences Learning Engineering Abroad
- A model for spurring organizational change based on faculty experiences working together to implement Problem-Based Learning
Met with UCL’s Dr. Inês Direito to discuss how I can help with a future qualitative research study of women at UCL.
Collected follow-up interviews in Ireland (with 2 Middle Eastern and 1 Irish student) and connected with researchers in Portugal who will collect interview data to add to the Portuguese data I’ve collected with Dr. Bill Williams.
Reviewed literature relevant to my own research (Perry, 1999; Evans, Forney, & Guido-DiBrito, 1998; MIT case study on UCL’s Integrated Engineering Program)
Brushed up on methods for Qualitative Data Analysis by reading three chapters of Grbich, 2012
(Work Package 2: Mixed-Methods Research will build on findings of WP1, eventually.)
Work Package 3: Special Focus Journal Issue
I pitched the idea for a special focus issue to the Editor of the IEEE Transactions on Education (ToE) on the topic of my current fellowship, got it accepted, assembled an all-star panel of guest editors for the issue, wrote and distributed the call for papers. It’s posted here, in case you or someone you know has interest in the subject of Using Design Projects to Spur Cognitive Development of Students in Science and Engineering.
I continued work on IEEE ToE’s upcoming special focus issue on social-cultural diversity. I saw one manuscript through to completion and worked closely with the Administrative Editor and Chief Editors to help our team of guest editors get the schedule moving forward, since work had stalled. I’m hoping for publication in August 2018, if we can keep our momentum going.
I only promised one special focus issue in my grant proposal–but why not aim to deliver two?
Work Package 4: Outreach (including Peer Reviews)
I drafted and submitted a 1000-word entry for The SAGE Encyclopedia of Higher Education on the topic of Problem-Based Learning and its use in engineering disciplines.
Reviewed ten proposed activities for a new children’s book by Usborne Publishing called “Scribble Engineering” and submitted an evaluation to the publisher.
The Editor in Chief of the IEEE Transactions on Education (ToE) appointed me to the journal’s editorial board, so now I’m a full Associate Editor with a three-year term. In this job, I’m giving feedback to the Editor as to which manuscripts to forward though the peer review process and I’m managing the peer review process for one new manuscript each month.
Working with the Research in Engineering Education Network (REEN) in February involved a sub-committee meeting to edit guidelines and application forms for people interested in hosting a future Research in Engineering Education Symposium (REES, in 2021, 2023, or 2025). Our next symposium will be held in Cape Town, South Africa July 10-12, 2019. I also attend the monthly online meeting of REEN and followed up by contributing to the REEN Discussion Forum on LinkedIn, inviting colleagues to join the discussion.
Work Package 5: Research Training
During this fellowship, I aim to develop skills in supervising PhD students and post-graduate level research teams. This month, I met face-to-face with four of the six Irish Civil Service professionals who I’m sponsoring in the training module they are taking related to policy and research.
Built new skills by attending:
- UCL’s Centre for Engineering Education’s evening event “In Conversation With… Angela Saini and Louise Archer” and following up with the speakers and people I met
- UCL Arena Initial Guidance Session for fellowship applications
- UCL workshop, Leading Collaborative Projects
- UCL Astrea Voices: Choosing your journey
- Three-hour peer-debriefing session with Dr. Bill Williams
- Ninety-minute interview/training session on IEEE editorial role with Dr. Jeff Froyd
- Attended a UCL “Town Hall” to better understand the administrative structure of this research-intensive university
I met with UCL’s Dr. Claire Ellul who teaches Building Information Modeling (BIM) and Geographic Information Systems (GIS) at UCL.
Met with Prof. Rao Bhamidimarri, VP of London South Bank University, about the engineering education center he runs, the STEM secondary schools he created, and PhD thesis projects I may be able to advise.
Work Package 6: Management
Met with my supervisor, Prof. Nick Tyler, for my one-month probationary review and to keep my Career Development Plan up to date.
Ongoing professional development:
Attended lectures at the Bartlett School of Architecture:
- Fabio Gramazio of ETH Zurich and Gramazio Kohler Research
- Jeremy Till, Head of College and Pro-Vice Chancellor at Central Saint Martins, University of the Arts London
Visited and studied at:
- The Building Centre‘s exhibitions on walkability in London, development plans for the city, and winners of an architectural design competition on extensions to existing homes in London
- Tower Bridge Museum (with its engineering and bridge-design displays)
- Foundling Museum (charitable orphanage with principals including Handel)
- Hackney City Farm
- Joined the Idea Store (public library in Whitechapel)
- Visited the Tower of London and saw the Crown Jewels
I had a bit of time left over for fun and adventure. I joined the UK’s Art Fund, which provides free or reduced entry prices at about 240 cultural sites in the UK. I also:
- Using comp time, I took a three-day weekend in Paris to visit two lovely retired linguistic professors, Prof. Nancy Stenson from the University of Minsseota and Prof. Arthur Spears from CCNY. It was my first time through the Chunnel and my first time to meet Arthur, a friend of Nancy’s from grad school!
Cheered on my partner, Aongus Coughlan in completing his coursework (in health, safety and legal aspects of building construction in the UK) and securing necessary certifications. He found a job after a grueling one-day search—he CVs emailed on Monday, interviewed on-site Tuesday, accepted a job offer on Wednesday!
- Visited former colleagues and students in their bridge projects class at DIT during my Febraury research trip to Dublin.
- Kept up my yoga and swimming, and at least 10,000 steps 6 of 7 days per week.
- Celebrated my birthday with a massage, the play “Beginning” on the West End in London, pints out with my electrical engineering colleagues in Dublin, and a Turkish Bath at Ironmonger Row Baths in Islington.
- Kept up with the achievements of my former architecture students via Facebook and LinkedIn. I’m thrilled with their achievements—books launched, exams passed, registrations earned, lives well-lived. For instance, I saw both The Shape of Water and Black Panther – the second being a movie to which my former students contributed.
- We played in the snow on the last day of February, since the “Beast from the East” closed Dublin Airport and prevented a trip over to Ireland for research and speaking.