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Creating inclusive environments in first-year engineering classes to support student retention and learning: paper




Paguyo, Christina H., author
Atedero, Rebecca A., author
Rambo-Hernandez, Karen E., author
Francis, Jennifer, author
ASEE, publisher

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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.


Includes bibliographical references.
Paper given at the ASEE's 122nd Annual Conference & Exposition in Seattle, Washington, June 14-15, 2015.
Paper ID #12401.

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engineering education
diversity in engineering
first-year engineering students
engineering identity
underrepresented minorities
inclusive engineering
engineering curriculum


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