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Analyzing the Group Effectiveness and Dynamics of a Heterogeneous International Research Group In Cartagena (Colombia): A Case Study

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2019 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Tampa, Florida

Publication Date

June 15, 2019

Start Date

June 15, 2019

End Date

June 19, 2019

Conference Session

International Division Technical Session 2

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Claude Brathwaite City College of the City University of New York

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Dr. Claude Brathwaite is currently the Director of Student Resources and Services at the Grove School of Engineering. He served as the Executive Director for the New York City Louis Stokes Alliance for Minority Participation in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (LSAMP). Claude initially attended Hostos Community College and later received his BS in Chemistry from the City College of the City University of New York and his Ph.D. in Organic Chemistry from the Graduate Center of the City University of New York. He was a Chancellor's Fellow (City University of New York) and a NIH Postdoctoral Fellow (Weill Cornell Medical College-Division of Molecular Medicine). As the Executive Director of the LSAMP, he was responsible for the day-to-day operation of the NYC Louis Stokes Alliance program across the 18 member campuses of City University of New York. Claude also served as the Co-Director of the Black Studies Program at the City College and the Project Director of the City College Black Male Leadership and Mentoring Program. The Black Male Leadership and Mentoring Project (BMLMP) at the City College of New York, provides a support system during the critical stages of academic and career development.

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Julianne Vernon Vanderbilt University

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Dean Vernon works in the field of STEM educational research; some areas of focus include student retention and implementation of innovative pedagogy and technology. She is currently the Assistant Dean of Academic Programs overseeing the First Year Courses, Study Abroad Programs, and International Initiatives at Vanderbilt University. She is also the executive director of a NSF INCLUDES grant, SCI-STEPS. The mission is to increase the retention of underrepresented groups in the physical sciences and engineering from college to PhD and ultimately the workforce. She received her Bachelors in Chemical Engineering from the City College of New York and her Doctorate degree at University of Florida in Environmental Engineering. She has over 8 years of experience developing international and national research experiences for STEM majors, as well as project management.

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Claudia Ventura

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Claudia completed her bachelors of forensic psychology from John Jay College and her experimental psychology master from Brooklyn College. Claudia current research interests include neuropsychology with a focus on movement decoding to improve understanding of neurophysiological movement disorder. She has been working with the New York City Louis Stokes Alliance for Minority Participation in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (LSAMP) for the past two years as the coordinator of summer 2017 and 2018 Cartagena international research program, during these times her main focus has been group dynamics and the daily activities of the program

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The “Program” International Summer Research (ISR) program in Cartagena, Colombia, provides “program” Undergraduate Scholars students an intensive authentic two-month international research experience. American students work jointly as a team with Colombian students on a common research project. Participating students were from the City College of New York, Lincoln University, University of Pennsylvania, University of Cartagena, Universidad de San Buenaventura, and Universidad Technoligico de Bolivar. Group activities are commonly employed in education. Groups that comprised members of different ethnicity, culture and race made up the characteristics of a heterogeneous group. The composition of this specific group faces unique challenges that might be absent in a homogenous group.

This research was a part of an international research project in Cartagena, Colombia. Research activities were done (40 hours per week) and involved both field-work and laboratory based work. Weekly reports were required by all participants for the eight weeks of the program. Students evaluated environmental parameters relating to soil, beach and portable water quality. The research team consisted of four Colombian student and four American students, an equal number of male and female participants, 50% engineering students and 50% other STEM students, racially/ethnically diverse with an average age of 21.

A case study was conducted on group dynamics to explore the different variables that influence group effectiveness. The effectiveness of the group was assessed using the Big Five Personality Traits Questionnaire (BFPTSQ) and the Team Effectiveness Questionnaire (TEQ) that covers eight dimensions of group effectiveness. Leadership and group effectiveness were assessed two times across the 2 months of research experience.

The purpose of this observation is to examine the core mechanism and to establish a root understanding of group dynamics with an internationally diverse population. This case study is based on data obtained from observations and questionnaire to determine the factors that are related to group effectiveness in a heterogeneous group. This research intends to explore the nature of group dynamics and power structure within the context of international research with a multicultural/multiracial group.

Brathwaite, C., & Vernon, J., & Ventura, C. (2019, June), Analyzing the Group Effectiveness and Dynamics of a Heterogeneous International Research Group In Cartagena (Colombia): A Case Study Paper presented at 2019 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition , Tampa, Florida. 10.18260/1-2--32093

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