TECAID aims to prepare a cadre of faculty leaders who can successfully engage their colleagues and undertake initiatives to improve department culture and climate over time. TECAID is based on the principle that diversity and inclusion are crucial and powerful core elements in the success of educational and research environments.
Fundamental to TECAID’s professional development approach is the importance of “subject matter expertise” and how to:
- recognize what expertise is needed
- identify what expertise is available
- make use of the expertise of others
- apply many streams of expertise and “best practice” to fit a local project and context
- develop expertise oneself
- become a resource for others
- lead others in making change
- develop the capacity of others to make and lead change
TECAID’s Subject Matter Expert Team, in collaboration with the TECAID Project Team, designed a multi-faceted interplay of learning opportunities intended to enrich participant capacity to create and sustain inclusive engineering department cultures by increasing participant subject matter expertise in three domains:
- Awareness and knowledge about inclusion and diversity in engineering higher education.
- Competence and confidence in building teams and working with colleagues.
- Change-making and change-leadership strategies in complex, shared-governance academic settings.
These TECAID opportunities supported participants in:
- Gaining perspective on and improving the experiences of underrepresented students, faculty, and staff.
- Becoming knowledgeable about the impacts of stereotypes and unintended bias in higher education.
- Voicing the importance of inclusive environments and facilitating effective dialogue needed to create better department climates/cultures
- Creating more cohesive and robust institutional change strategies by linking with other institutional expertise, resources, and efforts.
- Enhancing and facilitating the process of change-planning and goal setting in an academic department.
- Increasing collaboration and improving communication among faculty, staff and students.
- Promoting the need for responsible academic citizenship regarding gender, race, sexual orientation and other social identities.
- Improving department leadership, policies, and practices.
From March 2015 through August 2016, the TECAID faculty and staff participants engaged in a range of activities—frequently interwoven and concurrently conducted—to provide strong support and reflective opportunities:
- Initial interviews with department chairs and online surveys of all participants
- Four, two-day, in-person workshops that employed a rich combination of presentations; group exercises; cross-department small group exercises; and facilitated group activities.
- Web-based clinic-ing sessions between department teams and the Subject Matter Expert Team in both small and large groups.
- Written “data feedback” exchanges between individuals, teams, and the Subject Matter Expert Team based on data provided by teams.
- Monthly, web-based Virtual Learning Community meetings and an online community workspace/discussion forum.
- Team-created, inclusion and diversity-focused, departmental-change projects
- Periodic participant surveys and program evaluation to provide regular feedback on all project activities
Focus of TECAID Workshops
I make sure I tell people that this is not just a TECAID project; it is a long-term culture change. I want us to keep talking about these issues.”
– N. Barr, Michigan Technological University
The most important part to learn while doing is the [diversity, equity, & inclusion] knowledge. Without that a person can create change but it may not impact on [diversity, equity & inclusion].”
– A. Morse, Michigan Technological University, formerly Texas Tech University
[TECAID] inspired our team to make a concrete plan for how we were going to address our challenges and build on what was already happening on campus.”
– P. Davies, Purdue University