Quarterly Newsletter- Engineering PLUS: The Flywheel is Turning
Partnerships Launching Underrepresented Students
The flywheel, when properly conceived and executed, creates both continuity and change. On the one hand, you need to stay with a flywheel long enough to get its full compounding effect. On the other hand, to keep the flywheel spinning, you need to continually renew, and improve each and every component.
This is an exciting time for the Engineering PLUS Alliance. Now, two years in, we’ve begun to build momentum. The flywheel is turning, and we’re experiencing its compounding effects.
The Alliance is building a multi-institutional collaborative community dedicated to achieving systemic, transformative, and sustainable change in engineering. Recently, the NSF recognized our progress by providing a funding increment for the project, bringing the total to $6M to date toward the $10M five-year grant. And we’re seeing results:
Over 50 colleges and universities have joined our two regional hubs thus far, with more coming online every week.
Impact Working Groups (IWGs) have been established to surface evidence-based strategies that could be scaled and diffused throughout the network.
40 stEm PEERs have participated in the PEER Academy over the past two years, all of whom are working on their institutional implementation projects that have the potential to have widespread and systemic impact across the Alliance.
The Continuous Improvement, Data, Evaluation, and Research (CIDER) team and others, including Alliance leadership and stEm PEERs have published and presented papers.
Several PEERs have secured additional funding for their implementation projects, building capacity across the network.
We’re also thrilled that we’ve completed the hiring of both the backbone operations and program implementation teams, including our inaugural Project Director, KF Flynn and Director of Business Development and Industry Partnerships, Tim Enright.
At a plenary session during the recent NSF INCLUDES Alliance convening in Washington, DC on August 3 and 4, I had the privilege of sharing our emerging thinking behind catalyzing and measuring systems change. As the figure below suggests, the Alliance is uniquely positioned to pivot from establishing a firm operational and strategic foundation, to catalyzing the work of institutional systems change. This is the mission of the Engineering PLUS Alliance.
While we celebrate our progress, we’re even more inspired by our future. In year 3, we’ll be issuing an RFP to add a new regional hub while we continue to recruit and engage more institutional partners. In addition, we’ll be recruiting a third cohort of stEm PEERs including those newly funded by the Department of Homeland Security to catalyze change within their Centers of Excellence. In year 3, we’ll also be working closely with the Engineering Dean’s Council of ASEE to collaborate on and expand the institutional ASEE Diversity Recognition Program, which is a centerpiece of our institutional change strategy.
What makes me most excited is that we’re not turning the flywheel of systems change alone. With over a hundred collaborators and partners working together within the Alliance, and alongside the growing national NSF INCLUDES Network, I’m more than hopeful that we can dismantle systemic obstacles and build better access, opportunities, and learning environments that will lead to a more representative engineering community.
NSF’S 2023 Eddie Bernice Johnson INCLUDES National Convening
Members of the Engineering PLUS Alliance Leadership team attended the NSF’S 2023 Eddie Bernice Johnson INCLUDES National Convening in the first week of August. Drs Karl Reid, Michael Silevitch, Jackie El Sayed, and Jackie Isaacs as well as Richard Harris, Rebecca Zarch, and KF Flynn represented Eng+ at first, the Alliance working day, and then at the full 2-day convening. The theme of the week’s work was sustainability and systems change. PI, Dr. Karl Reid, addressed the Convening as a whole on the Eng+ project and our perspective on sustainability in our systems change effort and an overview of a successful alliance entering in to its third year.
The Convening was the setting for a private fireside chat with the Honorable Eddie Bernice Johnson, former Congresswoman from Texas and the namesake of the NSF INCLUDES work. Our team focused on building relationships and making connections with the members of other alliances, as well as government officials, and other scholar practitioners in attendance.
In Photo: Eddie Bernice Johnson fireside chat with Lead Program Director with the NSF, Tori Rhoulac-Smith
Several Engineering PLUS colleagues, affiliates, and stEm PEER Academy Fellows attended and/or presented papers and posters at this year’s annual ASEE conference, held in Baltimore, MD.
Highlights from Co-PI of Engineering PLUS and ASEE’s Chief Academic Officer’s, Dr. Jacqueline El Sayed interview with ASEE TV:
We are also thrilled to be engaging in our first Alliance-wide in-person convening. Our 2023 Engineering PLUS Alliance National Convening will be held on November 7-8 in Cambridge, MA and we look forward to sharing a recap of that gathering in our next newsletter.
Dr. Julie Smith, Senior Education Researcher with CSEdResearch.org and member of our CIDER team, will be speaking at the September 18th Collaborators Meeting. Please join us for this exciting teaser session, as a part of her larger three part webinar series Higher Education in the New DEI Landscape. This presentation will surround updates and information surrounding policy and program creation and research in light of recent attacks on DEI initiatives and the SCOTUS Affirmation Action decision.
The webinars are scheduled for September 14th, October 12th, and November 9th, from 1pm to 2:30pm central time. We request that each participant complete ‘pre-work’ (which will take less than one hour) for each webinar.
If you are interested in participating, please register here.
The mission of the Engineering Alliance, one of 17 NSF INCLUDES Alliances, is to catalyze systemic, transformative, and sustainable change in engineering education that will increase the growth rate in the number of undergraduate and graduate degrees awarded to women and BIPOC students.
The purpose of the speaker series is to educate the members of the Alliance about the latest theories and evidence-based practices that align with this mission. Your scholarship/work is aligned with this mission and thus your talk and subsequent conversation would provide us with a deeper understanding of underlying frameworks/ evidence-based practices that could inform our work. Please consider sharing your knowledge, experience, and achievements with our community. If you are willing to join us, please complete and submit the form at the link below. Click here for more information
NSF’s Eddie Bernice Johnson INCLUDES National Network
NSF’s Eddie Bernice Johnson INCLUDES Alliance Engineering PLUS (Partnerships Launching Underrepresented Students). This work is supported by the National Science Foundation under award HRD-2119930. Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the authors) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation.