Theory to Practice: Professional Development for Culturally Responsive Technician Education

Cynthia Pickering, Laurie S. Miller McNeill, Mara Lopez, Juan R. Rodriguez, Sarah Belknap, Elaine L. Craft, Caroline Vaningen-Dunn

Research output: Contribution to journalConference articlepeer-review

Abstract

The HSI (Hispanic Serving Institution) ATE (Advanced Technological Education) Hub 2 is a three-year collaborative research project funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF) that continues the partnership between two successful programs and involves a third partner in piloting professional development that draws upon findings from the initial program. The goal of HSI ATE Hub 2 is to improve outcomes for Latinx students in technician education programs through design, development, pilot delivery, and dissemination of a 3-tier professional development (PD) model for culturally responsive technician education at 2-year Hispanic Serving Institutions (HSIs). The project seeks to do this by developing the awareness and ability of faculty to appreciate, engage, and affirm the unique cultural identities of the students in their classes and use this connection to deepen students' belonging and emerging identities as STEM learners and future STEM technicians. This paper shares the research foundations shaping this approach and the methods by which faculty professional development is being provided to develop this important and sensitive instructional capability in participating faculty. The tiered PD model features a scaffolded series of reflective and activity-oriented modules to incrementally enrich the instructional practices and mindset of HSI STEM educators and strengthen their repertoire of strategies for engaging culturally diverse students. Scaffolding that translates culturally responsive theory to practice spans each of the four distinct topic modules in each tier. Each topic module in a tier then scaffolds to a more advanced topic module in the next tier. Tier 1, Bienvenidos, welcomes HSI STEM educators who recognize the need to better serve their Latinx students, and want guidance for small practical activities to try with their students. Tier 2, Transformation through Action, immerses HSI STEM educators in additional activities that bring culturally responsive practices into their technician training while building capacity to collect evidence about impacts and outcomes for students. Tier 3, Engaging Community, strengthens leadership as HSI STEM educators disseminate results from activities completed in Tiers 1 and 2 at conferences that attract technician educators. Sharing the evidence-based practices and their outcomes contributes to achieving broader impacts in the Advanced Technological Education or ATE Community of NSF grantees. Westchester Community College (WCC), the first 2-year HSI in the State University of New York (SUNY) 64 campus system, is piloting the 3-tier PD model using virtual learning methods mastered through previous NSF ATE work and the COVID-19 context. During the pilot, over 20 WCC technician educators in three cohorts will develop leadership skills and practice culturally responsive methods. The pilot will build capacity within WCC STEM technician programs to better support the diversity of students, industry demand for a diverse workforce, and WCC's capacity for future development of technician education programs. This first paper in a three part series describes the program goals and objectives, the 3-Tier PD model, and reports initial results for Cohort A's engagement in the first three modules of Tier 1.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalASEE Annual Conference and Exposition, Conference Proceedings
StatePublished - Aug 23 2022
Event129th ASEE Annual Conference and Exposition: Excellence Through Diversity, ASEE 2022 - Minneapolis, United States
Duration: Jun 26 2022Jun 29 2022

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Engineering(all)

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