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Research Data - (EI)2: Exploring Inclusive Engineering Identities through Freshman Engineering Curriculum Change

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  • ItemOpen Access
    What is the relationship between mindset and engineering identity for first year male and female students? An exploratory longitudinal study
    (Colorado State University. Libraries, 2017) Henderson, Heather Lysbeth, author; Rambo-Hernandez, Karen E., author; Paguyo, Christina H., author; Aterdero, Rebecca A., author; ASEE, publisher
    Undergraduate students who leave engineering are most likely to do so during the first two years of coursework (Litzer & Young, 2012). During these first two years, students often encounter difficult coursework that may be not be overtly related to engineering (e.g., advanced calculus, physics; Suresh, 2006) while simultaneously developing their initial engineering identities. Students possessing a fixed mindset (e.g., intelligence based on genetics) versus a growth mindset (e.g., intelligence based on effort and hard work) are more likely to disengage when confronted with highly challenging coursework (Rattan, Savani, Chugh, & Dweck, 2015; Robins & Pals, 2002), which may be related to lower engineering identity. Implicit person theory argues that persons are more likely to persist with challenging tasks if they believe that intelligence is malleable (Robins & Pals, 2002). Additionally, it is well established that women are underrepresented in the field of engineering (Singh, Fouad, Fitzpatrick, & Chang, 2014). While a plethora of research exists to examine what factors contribute to the persistence of women in engineering, such as institutional factors and student characteristics, we focus on the relationship between mindset and engineering identity in this paper. The purpose of this study is to explore whether mindsets influence a student's engineering identity over time and to see if this relationship differs by gender.
  • ItemOpen Access
    Promoting a culture of inclusion in first-year engineering courses
    (Colorado State University. Libraries, 2016) Rebecca, Atedero A., author
    There is a historic and persistent underrepresentation of women and people of color in engineering. Attempts to encourage broader participation in engineering degree programs focused on the underrepresented populations have produced gains, but their effects have seemed to plateau. Rather than continue to focus on the underrepresented groups, it is time to change the engineering culture writ large to promote inclusive attitudes among all engineers. Promoting inclusion in engineering benefits engineering practice by helping to retain individuals with unique talents and by providing for a cognitively diverse workforce which encourages innovation. The overarching goal of this project is to help engineering students develop an inclusive engineering identity that shows appreciation for diversity and an awareness of how diversity benefits engineering practice. To reach this goal we are designing and implementing activities about diversity and inclusion and its relevance to engineering for first-year engineering students.
  • ItemOpen Access
    Promoting inclusive engineering identities in first-year engineering courses: paper
    (Colorado State University. Libraries, 2016) Atadero, Rebecca A., author; Paguyo, Christina H., author; Rambo-Hernandez, Karen E., author; Henderson, Heather Lysbeth, author; ASEE, publisher
    In order to cultivate a diverse and inclusive engineering student population, engineering programs must purposefully teach engineering students to identify as engineers, appreciate diversity, and work in inclusive environments. In this NSF-funded project, we collaborate with engineering faculty to design and implement interventions for first-year engineering students to strengthen their engineering identities and raise their awareness of how diversity benefits the engineering profession. This paper and poster describe the activities implemented during the first intervention year of the project and preliminary findings. The paper addresses the following questions: 1. What experimental intervention activities potentially support engineering students in developing engineering identities and appreciating diversity? 2. What patterns emerge in participants' engineering identities and appreciation of diversity after the experimental intervention activities have been implemented? Do these patterns differ by section or by sex? To answer the first inquiry, we describe the experimental intervention activities and the classroom contexts in which they were implemented. Then a quantitative analysis of survey data is summarized to address the second inquiry. We conclude this paper with ideas about how to improve the efficacy and transportability of experimental intervention activities so they can be adapted for multiple classroom environments and professor teaching styles.
  • ItemOpen Access
    Inclusive engineering identities: two new surveys to assess first-year students' inclusive values and behaviors
    (Colorado State University. Libraries, 2017) Rambo-Hernandez, Karen E., author; Atadero, Rebecca A., author; Paguyo, Christina H., author; Schwartz, Jeremy C., author; ASEE, publisher
    The under-representation of women and people of color in engineering careers is not fully explained by their lower representation in engineering degree programs. There is also attrition from the profession after engineering degrees are earned. Currently, 20% of engineering degrees are awarded to women, and only 13% of the engineering workforce are women. Also, underrepresented minorities earn a small proportion of the science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) degrees, and represent an even smaller proportion of the workforce. For example, while approximately 11% of the total workforce is Black, only 6% of the STEM workforce is Black (U.S. Department of Education, 2016). Often cited issues for leaving engineering are uncomfortable and unsupportive work climates (Singh, Fouad, Fitzpatrick, & Chang, 2014). Women who have earned bachelors degrees in engineering left engineering at much higher rates than men, and these women cite issues of poor workplace climates, bosses, or culture (Singh et al. 2014). Women who stayed in engineering cite being supported by their organizations and perceiving their work as valued (Singh et al. 2014). More recent research demonstrated this uncomfortable culture exists well before entering the workforce. Undergraduate women cite informal interactions and sexism in teams as propagating a culture that is unwelcoming to women (Seron, Silbey, Cech, & Rubineau, 2016). Most efforts to change these percentages of representation both in the workforce and in school focus exclusively on those in the minority. However, our NSF funded study seeks to change the culture of engineering to be more welcoming and supportive of women and underrepresented minorities by helping all engineers appreciate and seek out diversity In our project we have worked with several instructors to infuse first year engineering classes with activities to promote diversity and inclusion. By working towards cultural change we hope to impact both university degree programs and engineering practice. We developed intervention activities for first-year engineering courses to promote what we termed an inclusive engineering identity. Inclusive engineering identity is displayed by engineers who value diversity in engineering and promote inclusive behaviors within the profession. When we tried to measure the impact of our intervention on all engineering students, we quickly discovered there were no psychometrically sound measures to assess how engineering students valued diversity specifically in the context of engineering and how likely they were to enact inclusive behaviors. Thus, this research study details the development of two new scales to measure how students develop an inclusive engineering identity.
  • ItemOpen Access
    Creating inclusive environments in first-year engineering classes to support student retention and learning: paper
    (Colorado State University. Libraries, 2015) Paguyo, Christina H., author; Atedero, Rebecca A., author; Rambo-Hernandez, Karen E., author; Francis, Jennifer, author; ASEE, publisher
    A new NSF-funded experimental study seeks to incorporate innovative curriculum activities that cultivate inclusive engineering identities and demonstrate how the engineering profession benefits from diversity. We intend to expand first-year engineering student perceptions about who can be an engineer and what engineers do. This effort aims to create a cultural shift in engineering departments so students think beyond stereotypical perceptions of who belongs to the engineering profession (White men) toward more expansive notions about how the engineering profession needs diversity to thrive. Arguably, inclusive engineering departments will contribute to the retention and success of students who are underrepresented in engineering in terms of gender and race, but also in terms of backgrounds, talents, and interests. In this paper, we begin with an overview of scholarship regarding pedagogical practices that foster strong engineering identities and position diversity as essential for strong engineering practice. Next, we address the following research question: How do freshmen engineering students in traditional engineering courses identify with engineering and perceive diversity in engineering? To answer this question, we summarize findings from preliminary survey by tracking over time the engineering identities and perceptions about diversity in engineering of engineering freshmen during their first semester in two existing first-year courses. We conclude with theoretically-based and evidence-driven activities that will be incorporated in the same first-year engineering courses in subsequent years of this NSF grant.
  • ItemOpen Access
    Creating inclusive environments in first-year engineering classes to support student retention and learning: presentation
    (Colorado State University. Libraries, 2016) Atadero, Rebecca A., author; Rambo-Hernandez, Karen E., author; Paguyo, Christina H., author; Francis, Jennifer, author
    Presentation discusses changing engineering culture to broaden participation.
  • ItemOpen Access
    Promoting inclusive engineering identities in first-year engineering courses: poster
    (Colorado State University. Libraries, 2016) Atadero, Rebecca A., author; Paguyo, Christina H., author; Rambo-Hernandez, Karen E., author; Henderson, Heather Lysbeth, author
    Project goal: Change engineering culture to support robust learning in degree programs, more effective professional practice, and efforts to retain diverse students and professionals.
  • ItemOpen Access
    (EI)2: exploring inclusive engineering identities through freshman engineering curriculum change
    (Colorado State University. Libraries, 2017) Atadero, Rebecca A.; Rambo-Hernandez, Karen E.; Paguyo, Christina H.; Schwartz, Jeremy C.
    The engineering workforce needs to better represent the diversity of the society it serves by attracting and retaining students from diverse backgrounds. The process students experience to become engineers requires them to acquire technical knowledge but also to identify with the profession. This project is designing a new curriculum for freshman engineering courses to help shape students' emerging engineering identities and expose students to the important role diversity plays in engineering. The curriculum is created to help students recognize the value that diversity brings to engineering in terms of (a) designing better and innovative solutions, and (b) expanding students' conceptions of who can be an engineer. The project is evaluating the effect of the curriculum on students in two different freshman engineering classes. The research questions include the following: How did the intervention change students' attitudes toward diversity in engineering? How did the intervention change students' ability to recognize themselves and others as an engineer? Both quantitative and qualitative methods are being used in this evaluation. The intellectual merit of the project is its transformational approach to retaining diverse students. In particular, the project seeks to change the culture in the educational and work contexts for engineers rather than simply trying to support students from underrepresented groups in engineering. Furthermore, the project contributes to our understanding of how students form engineering identities. The broader impacts of the project include helping to broaden participation in engineering, preparing students for a global work environment, and improving STEM education.