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Board 140: Work in Progress: Exploring Innovation Self-Efficacy in Neurodiverse Engineering Students

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2023 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Baltimore , Maryland

Publication Date

June 25, 2023

Start Date

June 25, 2023

End Date

June 28, 2023

Conference Session

Minorities in Engineering Division(MIND) Poster Session

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Minorities in Engineering Division(MIND)

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Paper Authors


Azadeh Bolhari P.E. University of Colorado Boulder Orcid 16x16

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Dr. Bolhari is a professor of environmental engineering in the Department of Civil, Environmental and Architectural Engineering (CEAE) at the University of Colorado Boulder. Her teaching focuses on fate and transport of contaminants, capstone design and aqueous chemistry. Dr. Bolhari is passionate about broadening participation in engineering through community-based participatory action research. Her research interests explore the boundaries of engineering and social science to understand evolution of resilience capacity at family and community level to sustainable practices utilizing quantitative and qualitative research methods.

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Angela R. Bielefeldt University of Colorado Boulder

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Angela Bielefeldt is a professor at the University of Colorado Boulder in the Department of Civil, Environmental, and Architectural Engineering (CEAE) and Director for the Engineering Plus program. She has served as the Associate Chair for Undergraduate

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It is critical to incorporate inclusive practices in engineering curriculum which prepares neurodiverse students to achieve their full potential in the workforce. This work-in-progress paper seeks to capitalize on the unique strengths of marginalized neurodiverse engineering students. In this study, the innovation self-efficacy of engineering students who self-identify as neurodiverse is explored before and after a curricular intervention, which has been shown to have the potential to enhance innovation self-efficacy, in an environmental engineering target course. A previously validated Likert-type survey was used, which included the Very Brief Innovation Self-Efficacy scale, the Innovation Interests scale, and the Career Goals: Innovative Work scale. Among the 47 responses on the pre-survey, 13% of the students self-identified as neurodiverse and an additional 19% indicated that they were maybe neurodiverse. This included a much higher percentage of the female than male students in the course (23% vs. 5% neurodiverse). There were no significant differences on the pre-survey or post-survey in the innovation self-efficacy and innovation interest among students who self-identified as neurodiverse, maybe neurodiverse, and not neurodiverse. Career goals based on the innovative work scale differed on the pre-survey among the three groups, being lowest among students who self-identified as maybe neurodiverse; there were no differences among the groups on the post survey. It appeared that there were gains in the innovation self-efficacy between the pre and post survey among the students who self-identified as neurodiverse and maybe neurodiverse but these differences were not statistically significant. A limitation in the study was the lack of ability to pair the data for individual students and a low number of neurodiverse students in the dataset. This preliminary work calls attention to the need to consider neurodiverse students in our instructional practices. In the future we hope the research will expand our understanding of a neurodiverse-friendly curricular design in preparation of the engineering students with autism spectrum disorder and other types of neurodiversity for the workforce, as well as assisting engineering educators in the adoption of practices which have the tendency to enhance innovation self-efficacy in neurodiverse students.

Bolhari, A., & Bielefeldt, A. R. (2023, June), Board 140: Work in Progress: Exploring Innovation Self-Efficacy in Neurodiverse Engineering Students Paper presented at 2023 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Baltimore , Maryland. 10.18260/1-2--42464

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