Alongside the continued evolution of the field of engineering education, the number of early career faculty members who identify as members of the discipline continues to increase. This growth has resulted in a new wave of roles, titles, and experiences for engineering education researchers, many of which have yet to be explored and understood. To address this gap, our research team is investigating the ways in which early career engineering education faculty are able to achieve impact in their current roles. Our aim is to provide insights on the ways in which these researchers can have new and evolving forms of impact within the engineering education field.
The work presented herein explores the transition experiences of our research team, consisting of six early-career faculty, and the ways in which we experience agency at the individual, institutional, and field and societal levels. Doing so is necessary to consider the diverse backgrounds, visions, goals, plans, and commitments of early career faculty members. Guided by two qualitative research methodologies: collaborative inquiry and collaborative autoethnography, we are able to explore our lived experiences and respective academic cultures through iterative cycles of reflection and action towards agency.
The poster presented will provide an update on our NSF RFE work through Phase 1 of our two phase investigation. Thus far the investigation has involved analysis of our reflections from the first two years of our faculty roles to identify critical incidents within the early career transition and development of our identities as faculty members. Additionally, we have collected reflective data to understand each of our goals, relevant aspects of our identity and desired areas of impact. Analysis of the transition has resulted in new insights on the aspects of transition, focusing on types of impactful situations, and the supports and strategies that are utilized. Analysis has begun to explore the role of identity on each members desired areas of impact and their ability to have impact. Data will also be presented from a survey of near peers, providing insight into the ways in which each early career engineering education faculty believe they are able to and desire to have impact in their current position. The collective analysis around the transition into a faculty role, strategic actions of new faculty, desired impact areas, and faculty identity will play a role in the development of our conceptual model of early career faculty agency. Additionally, this analysis provides the groundwork for phase two of our study, where we will seek to place the experiences of our group within the context of the larger community of early career engineering education faculty.
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