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Minnesota State University, Mankato
Minnesota State University, Mankato

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Page address: http://www.mnsu.edu/news/read/?id=1447082452&paper=cset

Dr. Rebecca Bates Honored at IEEE Conference

Dr. Rebecca Bates, professor and chair of integrated engineering, received the Helen Plants Award for Best Nontraditional Session at Frontiers in Education 2014

2015-11-23

Dr. Rebecca Bates, professor and chair of the integrated engineering department, was recently honored with the Helen Plants Award for Best Nontraditional Session at FIE 2014, along with her collaborators, at the IEEE Frontiers in Education 2015 Conference. This award was established in 1980, and it is intended to recognize teams and individuals who present exceptional special sessions at the Frontiers in Education conference.

Dr. Bates has studied how connections to community affect STEM students' academic success. She has brought that research into practice for CSET students in the MAX Scholars program as well as in the Twin Cities and Iron Range Engineering programs, where students develop professional and technical skills in close-knit communities that support resilience and retention. She and others have extended the idea to support engineering education faculty and researchers through increased community interactions.

Dr. Bates’ special session was titled, “Agents for STEM Change – Articulating the Goals of our Community.” This special session stemmed from a series of workshops and monthly meetings that have been supported by a collaborative National Science Foundation award (EEC - 1314725 and 1314868). "Agents for STEM Change," coached participants on how to participate in positive change at their home institutions. Participants engaged in roleplaying exercises to prepare for interacting with peers and power structures at their institutions in ways that clearly articulate the value of engineering education best practices and research.

Participants engaged in role playing exercises  on how to support change and interact with power structures at their institutions, especially in articulating the value in this kind of engineering education. Dr. Bates and h er collaborators received a small grant to put on this workshop, which included multiple online meetings following the workshop for continued mentoring.

Dr. Bates explains that she, "was more pleased that...it was a group [that won the award], a community talking about how to support others who may feel isolated on [their] home campuses."

The College of Science, Engineering and Technology at Minnesota State University, Mankato values this line of inquiry, and many faculty members are equally as invested in using best practices in engineering education and building communities that support student learning.

Bates collaborated with Lisa Benson, associate professor of engineering and science education at Clemson University, Alan Cheville, of Bucknell University, Cynthia Finelli, Director of the Center for Research and Teaching in Engineering and associate professor of electrical engineering at the University of Michigan, Jennifer Karlin, professor of industrial engineering at South Dakota School of Mines and Technology, and Susan Lord, professor and chair of electrical engineering at the University of San Diego.

“Agents for STEM Change – Articulating the Goals of our CommunitProceedings, 2014 Frontiers in Education Conference, pp. 1942 –"Agents for STEM Change - Articulating the Goals of our Community," Proceedings, 2014 Frontiers in Education Conference, pp. 1942 - 1943

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