At the recent annual conference (March 26-28) of the International Technology and Engineering Educators’ Association (ITEEA) in Milwaukee, Rappahannock Community College’s dean of technology and learning resources, Dr. Virginia Jones, received one of the Association’s “Emerging Leader” awards. This recognition honors Dr. Jones’s “outstanding performance, leadership, and accomplishments … in the field of technology and engineering education,” according to a letter from Mohamad Barbarji, chair of ITEEA’s “Emerging Leaders” committee, who is himself a technology educator at West Point High School.
In addition to attending the three-day conference, Jones made two presentations to her peers. The first of these, “Status of Technology and Engineering Education in the United States: A Fifth Report of the Findings from the States,” with Dr. William Dugger and Dr. Johnny Moye (both Distinguished Technology Educators), was based on a tri-annual study on that subject which began in 2001.
Jones, Dugger, and Moye reported a decline in the number of certified technology and engineering teachers over that period, along with a surge in the demand for courses focusing on STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) subjects. They noted that the study will be repeated in 2018 to determine whether these trends continue.
Jones’s second presentation, with Old Dominion University industrial technology student Rachel Talbott, focused on ways of increasing female participation in STEM classes, such as providing positive role models, appropriate activities, and gender-neutral projects. Their presentation, titled “Females and STEM education: Tell us what YOU want,” used data on student participation in events offered at “Technosphere,” a competition sponsored by Virginia’s Technology Student Association.
The study showed that women students tend to prefer collaborative or socially significant projects, while men prefer competitive or hands-on events. Among its recommendations were more female leadership and mentoring in the classrooms, and more activities designed for collaboration between students.
ITEEA’s Emerging Leader honor is a coveted mark of distinction in technology and engineering education. It was created in order to recognize outstanding performance and accomplishments by those who have at least five years of professional experience in delivering technology and engineering education. Consideration for the award is based upon documented evidence of leadership and management skills, continuing participation in association education programs, and demonstration of leadership in association, community, and personal activities.