Continental Conference-Hopping

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

Inspirefest: Women in Tech

img_4618

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

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

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

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

ASEE

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

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

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

img_4812

My first ASEE conference!

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

Virginia Tech–my home place

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

img_4980-1

Visiting Nicky Wolmarans and Jenni Case at Virginia Tech.

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

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

Inclusive Engineering Education Symposium

img_5227-1

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

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

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

 

Learning about Learning at Virginia Tech

…to a pleasantly large group of colleagues.

Presenting at the Conference on Higher Education Pedagogy

Virginia Tech just hosted its sixth annual Conference on Higher Education Pedagogy (i.e., college teaching).  It was my second foray into this conference and it just keeps getting better and better.  The organizers manage to get sponsors to cover the entire cost, so there’s no registration fee.  That is truly amazing.

The conference gives me a chance to learn great new ideas (the sessions and keynote presentations were innovative and engaging), catch up with colleagues from around the country and world (with about 47 countries and as many states represented among attendees), visit my alma mater (I earned two architecture degrees from Virginia Tech), and even visit my family and childhood friends (Blacksburg is also my hometown).

I also took a quick jaunt over to Virginia Tech’s School of Engineering Education — one of two such schools in the entire world — to learn and to meet new colleagues.  Dr. Maura Borrego, whose research I’ve been citing in papers and grant proposals, provided a fabulous introduction to the program.  In addition, I got to meet several of her colleagues, including Dr. Marie Patretti who directs the undergraduate components of the engineering educate program, and Dr. Stephanie Adams who is Virginia Tech’s new Head of Engineering Education.  I even got to attend one of the Ph.D. classes in Engineering Education, taught by Dr. Vinod Lohani, and discuss assessment issues with the students.  They were discussing a paper that I’ve frequently cited as justification for continued research on outcomes of Problem-Based Learning.

I was very pleasantly surprised with the level of interest my colleagues had in the talk I delivered.  The audience was attentive and engaged and stayed after with lots of questions.  Thanks to the wonderful moderator who snapped great photos during the talk!

Amazing Teachers

Shannon Chance, Ron Daniel, and Kim McGrath in Dublin last week.

Shannon Chance, Ron Daniel, and Kim McGrath in Dublin last week.

Amazing teachers transform lives. That’s what they did for me at least!

Last week, one of the very best teachers I’ve had in my life–Ron Daniel–visited Dublin with his colleagues from Webster University. Ron is the Director of Academics at Webster’s Geneva campus.

While they were here, we got together twice to reminisce and talk about higher ed.

I didn’t post about this topic right away, because some things are difficult to express into words. This morning, I’m allowing myself to just cover the tip of the iceberg of what I’d like to say….

The best teachers I’ve experienced in life actually just put a good framework in place in for me. Then, they stepped back and let me explore the issues.

The best learning experiences I’ve had in life have happened under the astute guidance of Ron as well as:

  • Wilma Brown (my fifth grade teacher)
  • Liz Lindon and Joyce Martin (my 4-H leaders)
  • Dave Dugas, Eugene Egger, and Bob Dyck (some easy going Virginia Tech professors)
  • Bridget Arvold (my high school geometry teacher)
  • the faculty of higher ed at the College of William and Mary

I am particularly indebted to Ron Daniel (my second year architecture professor and the person who gave me my first architecture teaching job) and Wilma Brown (my fifth grade teacher who gave me my first official teaching assistant role). These two used a Montessori / Bauhaus sort of approach.

They put relevant materials in front of me and let me do my thing.

Wind me up and I’m like the Energizer bunny!

Thankfully, Bridget Arvold was there at precisely the right moment in time as well. In ninth grade, I was struggling through geometry because I had initially been assigned a very poor teacher. Thankfully, I met Bridget and had the sense to change instructors. She made geometry seem fun and logical. Without her, I don’t think I’d have has a solid foundation for becoming an architect.

Teachers like these make learning fun. They gave me the challenge and sense of support needed for me to start learning to explore this big, wonderful world. I thank my lucky stars to have known them.