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Board 51: CAREER: Actualizing Latent Diversity: Building Innovation through Engineering Students' Identity Development

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Conference

2018 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition

Location

Salt Lake City, Utah

Publication Date

June 23, 2018

Start Date

June 23, 2018

End Date

July 27, 2018

Conference Session

NSF Grantees Poster Session

Tagged Topics

Diversity and NSF Grantees Poster Session

Page Count

8

Permanent URL

https://peer.asee.org/30050

Download Count

34

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Paper Authors

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Allison Godwin Purdue University, West Lafayette (College of Engineering) Orcid 16x16 orcid.org/0000-0002-0741-3356

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Allison Godwin, Ph.D. is an Assistant Professor of Engineering Education at Purdue University. Her research focuses what factors influence diverse students to choose engineering and stay in engineering through their careers and how different experiences within the practice and culture of engineering foster or hinder belongingness and identity development. Dr. Godwin graduated from Clemson University with a B.S. in Chemical Engineering and Ph.D. in Engineering and Science Education. Her research earned her a National Science Foundation CAREER Award focused on characterizing latent diversity, which includes diverse attitudes, mindsets, and approaches to learning, to understand engineering students’ identity development. She is the recipient of a 2014 American Society for Engineering Education (ASEE) Educational Research and Methods Division Apprentice Faculty Grant. She has also been recognized for the synergy of research and teaching as an invited participant of the 2016 National Academy of Engineering Frontiers of Engineering Education Symposium and 2016 New Faculty Fellow for the Frontiers in Engineering Education Annual Conference. She also was an NSF Graduate Research Fellow for her work on female empowerment in engineering which won the National Association for Research in Science Teaching 2015 Outstanding Doctoral Research Award.

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Dina Verdín Purdue University, West Lafayette (College of Engineering) Orcid 16x16 orcid.org/https://0000-0002-6048-1104

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Dina Verdín is a Ph.D. candidate in Engineering Education and M.S. student in Industrial Engineering at Purdue University. She completed her undergraduate degree in Industrial and Systems Engineering at San José State University. Dina is a 2016 National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellow and a 2016 Ford Foundation Honorable Mention Her research interest focuses on first-generation college students focusing on engineering identity development, negotiating multiple identities, and ultimately changing deficit base paradigms by providing asset base perspectives for understanding this community.

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Brianna Shani Benedict Purdue University

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Brianna Benedict is a Graduate Research Assistant in the School of Engineering Education at Purdue University. She completed her Bachelor's and Master's of Science in Industrial and Systems Engineering at North Carolina Agricultural & Technical State University. Her research interest focuses on interdisciplinary students' identity development, belongingness in engineering, and recognition.

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Rachel Ann Baker

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Thaddeus J. Milton Purdue University

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Thaddeus is a junior majoring in Civil Engineering with a concentration in Transportation at Purdue University. He works with Dr. Godwin and her team in the UPRISE Research Department analyzing code and interview transcript, creating academic posters, and providing valuable insight to research papers. Thaddeus is also an executive board member to both the Black Student Union here at Purdue.

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Joshua T. Yeggy

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Abstract

Innovation is the key to economic growth and prosperity, and engineering is a critical driver in industrial innovation. Many companies are discovering that increased and more diverse approaches to problem solutions contribute to product innovation, global competence, and other successful corporate outcomes. However, engineering persistently lacks the diverse mindsets and ways of thinking needed to solve complex problems facing our world. Through this CAREER grant, we fill this gap by characterizing latent diversity or diverse engineering students’ mindsets, thoughts, attitudes, and potential for innovation. We define latent diversity as the underlying attributes and characteristics of students not readily visible within the classroom. These latent attributes are present, but are not visible or actualized, and have the capacity to become or develop into opportunities for innovation in the future.

Students enter engineering with a variety of backgrounds, beliefs, and mindsets that homogenized in becoming “an engineer.” Our current educational practices develop students with more similar engineering mindsets than different, which is problematic for innovation. Also, this process alienates many students, and the engineering profession loses innovation and talent if these latently diverse students leave. Therefore, this research addresses the following research questions, 1) what kinds of diversity in thought, innovation mindsets, and attitudes are present in engineering students 2) how do undergraduate students with latent diversity form engineering identities within an engineering community of practice over time, and 3) what support, both inside and outside of the classroom, can be provided to promote inclusion of students with latent diversity in engineering?

This paper describes the first phase of our research. We have developed a comprehensive survey of students’ latent attributes developed from an extensive literature review as well as pilot interviews with students. To date, we have recruited 37 ABET accredited institutions to participate in this study. This recruitment was done via a random stratified list of institutions to ensure representation from various size by undergraduate engineering enrollment and type of institutions and prevent overrepresentation from a few large institutions in the sample. The instructors at these institutions have estimated that they will distribute the paper-and-pencil survey to approximately 6,400 students. Even with responses rates consistent with previous studies (~55%), the number of responses in this sample are the first of their kind to characterize the breadth of student attitudes, mindsets, and beliefs in identity, motivation, epistemic beliefs, agency, masculine social norms, innovation self-efficacy, and other constructs on a national scale. In this paper, we will report the initial findings from our pilot interviews and survey results.

Recognizing and understanding this form of diversity can promote a more inclusive environment in engineering and recruit, educate, retain, and graduate more innovative and diverse engineers. Additionally, the outcomes of this work will help create more inclusive college classrooms that accept a wider set of students and produce engineers who can adopt various perspectives for innovative problem solutions. This research has significant implications for developing an engineering (and broadly STEM) workforce rich in talent and capable of adapting to the changing engineering landscape.

Godwin, A., & Verdín, D., & Benedict, B. S., & Baker, R. A., & Milton, T. J., & Yeggy, J. T. (2018, June), Board 51: CAREER: Actualizing Latent Diversity: Building Innovation through Engineering Students' Identity Development Paper presented at 2018 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition , Salt Lake City, Utah. https://peer.asee.org/30050

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: © 2018 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