One of our observations in this lessons learned paper is that there is underwhelming faculty development related to scholarship other than on how to submit and sometimes how to write proposals. This de facto service model misses everything outside of the proposal-writing process; which is the least important, but is often the most celebrated, rewarded, and supported phase. Inspired by national Centers for Teaching & Learning, and modeled after the emerging Communities of Transformation literature, we are piloting a Center for Transformative Research at Boise State University. The vision of our Center is to build and sustain an ASSERTive community -- for Aligning Stakeholders and Structures to Enable Research Transformation (ASSERT). Faculty members from across campus were recruited to participate as fellows to explore what it means to be a scholar and how to move a bold and transformative idea forward. To minimize the energy to apply, the application process included an Instagram post, Twitter response, and/or haiku. Fifteen faculty were selected for the cohort of fellows. To ensure university-wide accountability, a memorandum of understanding was signed by each fellow, as well as their Provost, Vice President for Research & Economic Development, College or School Dean, and Department Chair. Once signed, each fellow was asked to complete a survey and participate in an individual structured interview with the PI and co-PI. These allowed us to determine the specific needs of each fellow, providing validation or perhaps challenging our a priori observations of risk inhibitors at Boise State that prevent germination of bold ideas. By studying the fellows, we were able to look at what may inhibit them from taking risks – personal attributes and beliefs, and structural and cultural issues within their academic units, the university, and in their academic fields. Based on the survey results and individual structured interviews, programming was developed and tailored to the needs of the fellows. An off-campus retreat was held. In addition to the off-campus retreat, on-campus workshops were custom-made for the fellows and included: (a) how to germinate transformative ideas by no longer seeing ideas as precious; (b) how to become an effective collaborator by adapting the Toolbox Project; (c) how to move ideas forward by drawing on the game “Chutes & Ladders” where the chutes represent common obstacles and the ladders are shortcuts; (d) how to manage time at work, and in life; and (e) how to classify, understand, and know when and how to implement intentional versus emergent research strategies. As a culminating activity, the faculty then pitched their ideas to university and community leadership. In conjunction with this pitch event, an advocate was assigned to each fellow to help connect their ideas to future resources. From our motivation to our faculty application to our custom learning community, lessons learned will be shared via a lightning talk.
© 2019, American Society for Engineering Education, Proceedings of ASEE Annual Conference, Tampa, FL.
Llewellyn, Donna C.; Hughes, William L.; and Gambs, Megan F.. (2019). "Lessons Learned About Building an ASSERTive Community". 2019 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, 26301-1 - 26301-11.