Why We Failed: Barriers to Participation, Management, and Sustainability of an Immersive Faculty Experience Supporting Graduate Student Professional Development

Ella L. Ingram, Rachel Mc Cord Ellestad, Cory Hixson, Julia M. Williams

Research output: Contribution to journalConference articlepeer-review

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalASEE Annual Conference and Exposition, Conference Proceedings
StatePublished - Jul 26 2021
Externally publishedYes
Event2021 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference, ASEE 2021 - Virtual, Online
Duration: Jul 26 2021Jul 29 2021

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
In 2017, we received a National Science Foundation (NSF) EArly-concept Grants for Exploratory Research (EAGER) grant to study the scalability and sustainability of an immersive graduate student development experience. EAGER funding supports “exploratory work in its early stages on untested, but potentially transformative, research ideas or approaches...[that] involves radically different approaches, applies new expertise, or engages novel disciplinary or interdisciplinary perspectives.” (National Science Foundation, 2021) Our program, called the Rising Engineering Education Faculty Experience (REEFE), meets many of the EAGER descriptors. Through REEFE, graduate students from engineering education PhD programs complete a semester-long placement at a primarily undergraduate institution (Hixson et al., 2015; McCord et al., 2014). These placements provide dual benefit. Graduate students experience an immersive internship in some academic role (e.g., teacher of record in an engineering department, assessment coordinator in the institutional research office, education research consultant in a teaching and learning center) and host institutions gain new perspectives and engineering education expertise in their units. For a more detailed description of participants’ experiences during REEFE, please see McCord et al. (2014), Hixson et al. (2015), and Maxey (2019). The internship opportunities were created by two host institutions, with varied options being available during each application cycle. Regardless of the specific academic role, all REEFE participants were integrated into the institution as a part-time visiting faculty member. The expectation was for each REEFE participant to contribute his or her engineering education expertise in the assigned role for the improvement of the host institution. REEFE fit the untested criterion of the EAGER funding line, because to our knowledge, this program was the first to create an on-site, long-term internship for engineering education. The project was interdisciplinary by design because the host institutions did not have engineering education departments. We believed REEFE was potentially transformative based on the research regarding internship experiences and because partnerships between very-high research institutions and primarily undergraduate institutions are relatively rare.

Funding Information:
This paper is based upon work supported by the National Science Foundation under Grant No. 1743666. We thank Stephanie Jarek for assistance compiling the information sources.

Cite this