The study reported in this paper examined the connectedness of STEM faculty to others both within and across academic departments who might be potential resources for diffusion of Learner-centered practices, and the impact of participants' social networks on their Learner-centered beliefs and practices. The research question under investigation was: To what extent is the degree of social connectedness among faculty within and among STEM departments related to the degree of implementation of Learner-centered practices? Participants were recruited from Physics, Chemistry, Mathematics departments, and from departments in the College of Engineering. The sample began with 21 randomly-selected faculty from each department engaged in the STEM instruction of first and second year engineering students. The second level consisted of the colleagues identified by the first level as people they utilize as resources for improving their instruction. The connectedness of faculty in the network was examined using network analysis, focusing on both number of connections, and depth of connections. Attitude and Observation Protocol measures were used as outcomes. Results show that faculty classified as Learner-Centered had deeper and more extensive social networks. Results are discussed in terms of the need for intra- and inter-departmental faculty professional development experiences that both introduce and encourage faculty to trial new tools and techniques, but that also run for the long-term, supporting collaborative organizations of faculty working together to transform early engineering experiences.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publication2015 IEEE Frontiers in Education Conference
Subtitle of host publicationLaunching a New Vision in Engineering Education, FIE 2015 - Proceedings
PublisherInstitute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers Inc.
ISBN (Electronic)9781479984534
StatePublished - Dec 2 2015
Event2015 IEEE Frontiers in Education Conference, FIE 2015 - El Paso, United States
Duration: Oct 21 2015Oct 24 2015

Publication series

NameProceedings - Frontiers in Education Conference, FIE
ISSN (Print)1539-4565


Other2015 IEEE Frontiers in Education Conference, FIE 2015
Country/TerritoryUnited States
CityEl Paso


  • instruction
  • learner centered
  • professional development

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Software
  • Education
  • Computer Science Applications


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