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Board # 134 : Creating an Instrument to Assess the Professional Formation of Engineering Students at The College of New Jersey (TCNJ)

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2017 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Columbus, Ohio

Publication Date

June 24, 2017

Start Date

June 24, 2017

End Date

June 28, 2017

Conference Session

NSF Grantees Poster Session

Tagged Topics

Diversity and NSF Grantees Poster Session

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Paper Authors


Bijan Sepahpour The College of New Jersey

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Bijan Sepahpour is a registered Professional Engineer and a Professor of Mechanical Engineering at the College of New Jersey (TCNJ). He has served as the Chairperson of the ME department at TCNJ from 2006 through 2015. Prof. Sepahpour has been actively involved in the generation of design-oriented exercises and development of laboratory apparatus and experiments in the areas of mechanics of materials and dynamics of machinery for undergraduate engineering programs. He has advised on over forty (40) Senior Design Projects and his teams of students have received five (5) National Championships and three Best Design Awards. In the recent years, he has challenged himself with the creation of an effective methodology for successful Invention and Innovation. He was part of a 14 member multi-disciplinary team to design and create the "Society, Ethics, and Technology (SET)" course at TCNJ in 1994 and has taught multiple regular and Honors sections of this course since then. He is currently leading a multi-disciplinary team of faculty from TCNJ's School of Engineering and the Department of Sociology for assessment of the Professional Formation of Engineers (PFE). Professor Sepahpour did his undergraduate studies at TCNJ and has advanced degrees from New Jersey Institute of Technology (NJIT). He is the recipient of two (2) Best Paper Awards from the American Society for Engineering Education (ASEE) Divisions of Mechanical Engineering (ME) and Experimentation and Laboratory Oriented Studies (DELOS). He has served as the Chair of the Divisions of ME and DELOS of the ASEE. Prof. Sepahpour is an active member of American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME) and ASEE and has published and presented extensively through these societies.

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Steven Schreiner P.E. The College of New Jersey

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Diane C Bates The College of New Jersey


Seung-yun Kim The College of New Jersey

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Dr. Seung-yun Kim is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, and First Year Program Coordinator of School of Engineering at TCNJ. Dr. Kim earned a Ph.D. and master's degree in electrical engineering at the University of Dayton and a bachelor's degree in electrical engineering at Saint Louis University. His research interests include collaborative computing, human-centered systems, mobile and ubiquitous computing, and intelligent robotics, and he has been awarded over $400,000 in grants. He has published over 30 refereed journal and proceedings, and serves as a reviewer for the NSF and several technical journals. He has extensive experience in outreach to K-12 programs, promoting STEM education.

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J. Lynn Gazley The College of New Jersey

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The purpose of this research study is to create assessment tools to measure how well engineering students and engineering alumni personally identify with the profession of engineering. By studying the effects of educational interventions related to professional identity we ultimately aim to increase the number of engineers by improving undergraduate retention, undergraduate success, persistence as an engineer, and post-graduation success as an engineer. Once developed, these tools and the insights gained from The College of New Jersey’s engineering curricula will be useful for other universities with engineering programs. In this study we will look at a number of curricular and extracurricular education interventions including: engineering-specific ethics lessons/case studies, lessons on professional licensure, interaction with alumni through a formal mentoring program, liberal arts coursework, preparing for, taking, and results of the Fundamentals of Engineering (FE) Exam, teaming experiences focused on solving open-ended engineering design problems, internship and/or undergraduate research experiences, attendance at technical seminars, career preparation including résumé preparation at various stages of undergraduate study, etc. The project will consist of two phases: (1) creation of the instruments based on existing measures and development of new measures using qualitative methods in Year 1, and (2) pilot studies designed to validate the instruments in Year 2. Formative evaluation during these phases will allow for modification of measures and timing, and may influence the delivery interventions, based on early analysis of data collected. Summative evaluation will yield the validity of the instruments that can then be applied to larger populations. The objective of this initial study is to create and validate instruments that will be used to assess the effectiveness of this promising model. The instruments may be used in future research programs to evaluate the effectiveness of various factors postulated to influence professional development in engineering students. In particular, the project will enable the research team to investigate how a liberal arts core and a vertically integrated engineering professional curricular sequence contribute to the professional formation of engineers, how professional formation is influenced by demographic factors, and how professional formation is related to persistence and post-graduation success. Results of the planned research program provides insight into the connection between professional formation and individual characteristics that have been demonstrated elsewhere to predict persistence and post-graduation success in populations underrepresented due to gender, race/ethnicity, and socioeconomic status. The assessment instruments developed in this study enable professional formation within these cohorts to be better understood, potentially leading to specific interventions that strengthen professional identity for these special populations. Findings in professional formation will be incorporated into TCNJ’s K-12 engineering education program, and thus impacting the professional development of future K-12 pre-engineering teachers as they learn how to foster an affinity for the engineering profession in their students. Dissemination of the results to the engineering education community will further spread the impact of the results nationally.

Sepahpour, B., & Schreiner, S., & Bates, D. C., & Kim, S., & Gazley, J. L. (2017, June), Board # 134 : Creating an Instrument to Assess the Professional Formation of Engineering Students at The College of New Jersey (TCNJ) Paper presented at 2017 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Columbus, Ohio. 10.18260/1-2--27738

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