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Board 346: NSF DUE 2142666 and NSF DUE 2142685. Collaborative Research-Engineering Empathetic Engineers (E^3): Effects of the Humanities on Engineers’ Critical Thinking and Empathy Skills

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Conference

2023 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition

Location

Baltimore , Maryland

Publication Date

June 25, 2023

Start Date

June 25, 2023

End Date

June 28, 2023

Conference Session

NSF Grantees Poster Session

Tagged Topics

Diversity and NSF Grantees Poster Session

Page Count

14

DOI

10.18260/1-2--42972

Permanent URL

https://peer.asee.org/42972

Download Count

141

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Paper Authors

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John Carrell Texas Tech University

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John Carrell is Assistant Professor of Engineering at the Texas Tech University Honors College. He received his doctorate in industrial engineering from Texas Tech University and his research focuses on enriching engineering education through the humanities.

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Joshua M. Cruz

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Joshua Cruz is an assistant professor of education at Texas Tech University. His specializations include qualitative methods, post-secondary transitions, and academic writing.

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Andrew Mark Herbert

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Michael Scott Laver Rochester Institute of Technology

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Michael Laver received his bachelor’s degree from Purdue University, West Lafayette in 1996 in both history and psychology, and his Masters and PhD in East Asian Languages and Civilization from the University of Pennsylvania in 2006. He is currently a professor in the Department of History at the Rochester Institute of Technology and has taught at RIT for 15 years.

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Emily Lazarus

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Iris V. Rivero

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Erika Nuñez Texas Tech University

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Nafisha Tabassum

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Abstract

Traditional disciplinary silos have separated engineering and the humanities, creating gaps in engineering students’ skills. Technical knowledge and aptitude have long been a mainstay in engineering education, whereas critical thinking, empathy, and ethical reasoning have been key in the humanities. In an ever-complex and interrelated world, society's grand challenges call for problem-solving that provides technical innovations while considering and understanding the people involved and affected by that innovation. A holistic outlook, combining engineering with the humanities may be an avenue to enrich the technical skills of engineering students while developing their empathetic skills. Based on this idea, a collaboration between Texas Tech University (TTU) and the Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT) has been made to analyze problem-solving assignments in interdisciplinary team-taught (ITT) courses and regular engineering courses. The ITT courses are called humanities-driven science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (HDSTEM) because they take the structure and form of a humanities course while introducing and discussing STEM problem-solving. Early-in- and late-in-semester surveys for empathy and critical thinking were given for all courses in this study. Further, discourse analysis of problem-solving assignments from HDSTEM and engineering courses was performed. A commonly used rubric for empathy was used in conjunction with this analysis to gauge and baseline students' empathetic dispositions. Results from surveys show no statistically significant difference in empathy or critical thinking levels among students in all treatments, which is understandable based on the limited number of surveys collected. Preliminary results from discourse analysis indicate improved empathetic dispositions are greater in problem-solving assignments in HDSTEM courses regardless of group (i.e., institution). Further, with the curricular treatment of HDSTEM, specifically asking students to empathize before their problem-solving assignment can improve the empathetic dispositions of students. This work is based on work from an NSF Improving Undergraduate STEM Education (IUSE) grant.

Carrell, J., & Cruz, J. M., & Herbert, A. M., & Laver, M. S., & Lazarus, E., & Rivero, I. V., & Nuñez, E., & Tabassum, N. (2023, June), Board 346: NSF DUE 2142666 and NSF DUE 2142685. Collaborative Research-Engineering Empathetic Engineers (E^3): Effects of the Humanities on Engineers’ Critical Thinking and Empathy Skills Paper presented at 2023 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Baltimore , Maryland. 10.18260/1-2--42972

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