Asee peer logo

An ecosystem to support sense-making, identity formation, and belonging for first-year engineering students

Download Paper |

Conference

2021 First-Year Engineering Experience

Location

Virtual

Publication Date

August 9, 2021

Start Date

August 9, 2021

End Date

August 21, 2021

Page Count

8

Permanent URL

https://peer.asee.org/38367

Download Count

14

Request a correction

Paper Authors

biography

Kurt Paterson James Madison University Orcid 16x16 orcid.org/0000-0003-2441-9511

visit author page

Kurt Paterson crafts learning experiences, spaces, and communities to help students of all kinds imagine, design, and build solutions that matter.

A recent recipient of the National Academies' Jefferson Science Fellowship, Kurt serves as Senior Sustainability Advisor to the U.S. Department of State. Currently on leave, Kurt led the engineering program at James Madison University from 2013-2020. This program, one of the nation’s newest, reinvents engineering education through a design-focused, project-rich curriculum that engages students through collaborations with industry and society across all eight semesters.

A first-generation college student, Kurt earned his Ph.D. in Environmental Engineering from the University of Iowa. He has served as chair of ASEE's International Division, and was founding chair of ASEE's Community Engagement Division. He is recipient of best conference paper awards for the 2009 and 2016 ASEE Annual Conferences.

visit author page

biography

Justin J Henriques

visit author page

Justin Henriques is an Associate Professor in the Department of Engineering at James Madison University. He holds a Ph.D. and M.S. in systems engineering, a masters in urban and environmental planning (M.U.E.P.), a B.S. in applied science, and a B.A. in philosophy.

visit author page

biography

Daniel Ivan Castaneda James Madison University Orcid 16x16 orcid.org/0000-0001-8529-3815

visit author page

Daniel I. Castaneda is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Engineering at James Madison University.

Daniel earned his PhD in 2016 and his Master's in 2010, both in civil engineering from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. He previously earned his Bachelor's in 2008 from the University of California, Berkeley. After graduating from Berkeley, Daniel worked as a Systems Analyst at ATAC Corporation – a Federal Aviation Administration subcontractor specializing in analytical software solutions – before enrolling at Illinois.

Daniel has research interests in alternative cements and concrete, (civil) engineering education, fast-setting repair materials, freeze-thaw durability of concrete, instrumentation of infrastructure, residual stress modeling, rheology, and quantitative image analysis. He has taught a variety of courses including civil engineering materials, dynamics, engineering design, engineering economics, matrix analysis, mechanics, probability and risk in engineering, statics, and structural analysis.

visit author page

biography

Robert L. Nagel James Madison University

visit author page

Dr. Robert Nagel is an Associate Professor in the Department of Engineering at James Madison University. Dr. Nagel joined James Madison University after completing his Ph.D. in mechanical engineering at Oregon State University. Nagel teaches and performs research related to engineering design. Specifically, through research, Nagel explores how design interventions commonly used to teach design influence student learning.

visit author page

biography

Kyle G. Gipson James Madison University

visit author page

Dr. Kyle Gipson is an Associate Professor at James Madison University (United States) in the Department of Engineering. He has taught courses pertaining to topics for first-year engineering, materials science and engineering, engineering design, systems thinking and engineering leadership development. He has a PhD in Polymer, Fiber Science from Clemson University. His research background is in the synthesis of polymer nanocomposites and engineering education. He was trained as a Manufacturing Process Specialist within the textile industry, which was part of an eleven-year career that spanned textile manufacturing to product development.

visit author page

biography

Shraddha Joshi James Madison University

visit author page

Dr. Shraddha Joshi is currently an Assistant Professor in the Department of Engineering at James Madison University. She earned her Ph.D. in Mechanical Engineering from Clemson University with her research focused on understanding the role of requirements in engineering design by novices. At Clemson, Dr. Joshi has worked on multiple industry sponsored research projects (Michelin tweel –low rolling resistance for non-pneumatic tires, IFAI ballast friction testing project). She was actively involved in mentoring and advising Capstone design projects. She has advised over 10 different design projects –BMW, Rotary, TTi and mentored over 100 students. While at Clemson, Dr. Joshi was also awarded endowed teaching fellowship as a part of which she has taught a sophomore class on Foundations of Mechanical Systems for 2 semesters.
Dr. Joshi worked as a Post-Doctoral Fellow with Professor Jonathan Cagan at Carnegie Mellon University. She investigated the avenues of internet of things and connected products. While at Carnegie Mellon University, Dr. Joshi was also instructor for classes such as Mechanical Engineering Seminar, Capstone Design and Storytelling with Machines.

Dr. Joshi’s areas of interest include requirements in design, conceptual design, engineering education, design representations, development of design tools and design research methods, internet of things and connected products.

visit author page

author page

Callie Miller James Madison University Orcid 16x16 orcid.org/0000-0002-8199-0063

biography

Jacquelyn Kay Nagel James Madison University

visit author page

Dr. Jacquelyn K. Nagel is Assistant Department Head and Associate Professor in the Department of Engineering at James Madison University. She earned her Ph.D. in Mechanical Engineering from Oregon State University, and her M.S. and B.S. in Manufacturing Engineering and Electrical Engineering, respectively, from Missouri University of Science & Technology. As a multidiscipline engineer her diverse areas of expertise are bio-inspired design, mechatronic systems, manufacturing automation. Dr. Nagel’s research and leadership achievements were recognized when chosen by IEEE-USA for the New Faces of Engineering in 2012, and the Society of Women Engineers for the Distinguished New Engineer Award in 2016.

visit author page

biography

Jason Forsyth James Madison University

visit author page

Jason Forsyth is an Assistant Professor of Engineering at James Madison University. He received his PhD from Virginia Tech in May 2015. His major research interests are in wearable/ubiquitous computing and engineering education.

His wearable computing work develops safety systems that provide continuous monitoring and sensing to protect human life. Previous work examined the role of wearable pulse oximetry in protecting construction workers from carbon monoxide poisoning and developing a warning system for road-side workers and emergency personnel to estimate potential vehicle strikes. His current research interests focus on on-body human activity recognition and interactive machine learning for physical therapy patients and practitioners to increase exercise adherence and clinical evaluation.

visit author page

Download Paper |

Abstract

Intentionally engaging students in their first year is essential for their success, yet no one intervention is likely to prove meaningful for all. Providing a variety of both optional and required learning experiences helps create an ecosystem of support by connecting students to peers, near peers, their academic advisors, and their engineering faculty. Ultimately this can help with understanding engineering expectations and opportunities, an emerging awareness of professional self and program culture, and sense of belonging to their engineering institution. This paper describes the goals, structure, resources, and outcomes of the first-year engineering system that provides this support at our university (a mid-sized liberal arts university with a small engineering program), for example:

• 24for24 -- All admitted students for the coming academic year (class of 2024) were invited to connect virtually with faculty for 24 minute-long online sessions in a focused activity to explore engineering, their interests, and possibilities for future success during the summer months from June to July. • Camp -- A two-day offsite camp for incoming first-years

, with a series of individual, team, design activities
 that support rapid community-building and connection to the community. The camp is led by several faculty and staff, with small group facilitation by near peers. • Launch -- Three hour session at the end of the three-day university orientation provides a chance to gather and appreciate the start of the college journey. The session is hosted by several near peers and faculty, involving three outdoor activities to drive togetherness. • MADE Professional Workshops -- A Fall semester professional development series where faculty created a series of short workshops (one per month) tailored around a critical need specific for first-year students helping students to design their academic life. These critical topics were identified by students and faculty during a two-week long design sprint to elevate their impact.

These co-curricular programs and others like it often connect to curricular “hooks,” including in our Engineering Opportunities course (first Fall semester). This project-driven course was redesigned using the lenses of human-centered design and agile project management, and to connect students vertically to each other across the program through mentorship by juniors and seniors to small first-year “framilies”. This is followed with a Spring semester course, Engineering Decisions, elevating engineering practice with a semester-long project, while also introducing students to professional decision-making through ePortfolios and reflection.

Individually, these programs provide first-year students formal and informal opportunities to intentionally connect to each other, more senior students, departmental faculty and staff, alumni, while exploring their engineering hopes and dreams. Each program attempts to activate critical ingredients known to influence professional wayfinding and academic success. Taken collectively, however, they provide a robust ecosystem for supporting better transitions to college, discovering personal motivations to pursue an engineering education, and creating positive connections to others in engineering.

Paterson, K., & Henriques, J. J., & Castaneda, D. I., & Nagel, R. L., & Gipson, K. G., & Joshi, S., & Miller, C., & Nagel, J. K., & Forsyth, J. (2021, August), An ecosystem to support sense-making, identity formation, and belonging for first-year engineering students Paper presented at 2021 First-Year Engineering Experience, Virtual . https://peer.asee.org/38367

ASEE holds the copyright on this document. It may be read by the public free of charge. Authors may archive their work on personal websites or in institutional repositories with the following citation: © 2021 American Society for Engineering Education. Other scholars may excerpt or quote from these materials with the same citation. When excerpting or quoting from Conference Proceedings, authors should, in addition to noting the ASEE copyright, list all the original authors and their institutions and name the host city of the conference. - Last updated April 1, 2015