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Advisor Perspectives on Diversity in Student Design Competition Teams

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2016 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


New Orleans, Louisiana

Publication Date

June 26, 2016

Start Date

June 26, 2016

End Date

June 29, 2016





Conference Session

Developing Quality Experiences that Retain Diverse Engineering Talent

Tagged Division

Minorities in Engineering

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Paper Authors


Susan E. Walden University of Oklahoma Orcid 16x16

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Dr. Susan E. Walden is the founding Director of the Research Institute for STEM Education (RISE) and an associate research professor in the Dean's office of the College of Engineering (CoE). She is also a founding member of the Sooner Engineering Education (SEED) Center.

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Cindy E Foor University of Oklahoma

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Cindy E. Foor is the Associate Director/Research Associate for the Research Institute for STEM Education
(RISE) at the University of Oklahoma. Her contribution to the multi-disciplinary team lies in
qualitative methodologies, cultural theory and the belief that outliers offer great insight into the workings
of power. Her research interests include cultural theory, the cultural/historical construction of women’s
identities and roles in past and present societies, and most recently, equity issues surrounding gender and
underrepresented populations in engineering education. She can be contacted at

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Rui(Celia) Pan Toyota Financial Services

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Dr. Pan is currently working as a sales, product and remarketing analyst at Toyota Financial Services. She received her Ph.D in Engineering Education, M.S. in Statistics and B.S. in Electrical Engineering.

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Randa L. Shehab University of Oklahoma

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Dr. Randa L. Shehab is a professor and the Director of the School of Industrial and Systems Engineering at the University of Oklahoma. She was recently appointed as Director of the Sooner Engineering Education Center dedicated to engineering education related initiatives and research focused on building diversity and enhancing the educational experience for all engineering students. Dr. Shehab teaches undergraduate and graduate level courses in ergonomics, work methods, experimental design, and statistical analysis. Her current research is with the Research Institute for STEM Education, a multi-disciplinary research group investigating factors related to equity and diversity in engineering student populations.

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Deborah A. Trytten University of Oklahoma

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Dr. Deborah A. Trytten is a President's Associates Presidential Professor and Associate Professor of Computer Science and Womens' and Gender Studies at the University of Oklahoma. Her main research focus is diversity in engineering education and introductory software engineering education.

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Engineering competition teams provide some students the opportunity to design authentic engineering artifacts, manage budgets and logistics, exercise engineering analysis and decision making, build an engineering artifact and develop and practice professional skills. In a research study examining the cultures, structures, compositions, and processes of a variety of Student Experiential Learning Engineering Competition Teams (SELECT), we collected data from teams from multiple institutions and a variety of design competitions. The qualitative data from 34 teams consists of interviews of team members and/or advisors, team documents, and other public artifacts.

Previous papers have examined the team cultures, specifically which aspects contribute to their generally exclusive and exclusionary compositions and cultures from the student team members’ perspective. Sixteen advisor interviews offer a different perspective of the evolution of team cultures and any limited attempts to address those cultures or demographic homogeneity.

Explaining and rectifying the lack of diversity in teams requires attention to the processes that produce and perpetuate it. Via analysis of thematic coding, we will describe the advisors’ views for why teams lack diversity, and what, if anything, they think can or should be done about it.

Walden, S. E., & Foor, C. E., & Pan, R., & Shehab, R. L., & Trytten, D. A. (2016, June), Advisor Perspectives on Diversity in Student Design Competition Teams Paper presented at 2016 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, New Orleans, Louisiana. 10.18260/p.26537

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