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Board 74: Normative and Non-Normative Engineering Student Experiences in Navigating the Cultures of Engineering

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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

11

Permanent URL

https://peer.asee.org/30099

Download Count

21

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Paper Authors

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Derrick James Satterfield University of Nevada, Reno

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Derrick Satterfield is a Ph.D. student in Engineering Education and Chemical Engineering at the
University of Nevada, Reno. He graduated from the University of Nevada, Reno in May 2017,
and plans to pursue a career in academia in the future. His research interests are in graduate student
attrition rates within academia, engineering identity development and the factors that influence decision making on persistence.

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Jacqueline Ann Rohde Purdue University

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Jacqueline A. Rohde is a first-year graduate student at Purdue University as the recipient of an NSF Graduate Research Fellowship. Her research interests in engineering education include the development student identity and attitudes, with a specific focus on the pre-professional identities of engineering undergraduates who join non-industry occupations upon graduation.

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Miguel Rodriguez Florida International University

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Beverly Ma University of Nevada, Reno

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Jacqueline Doyle

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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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Geoff Potvin Florida International University

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Lisa Benson Clemson University

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Lisa Benson is a Professor of Engineering and Science Education at Clemson University, with a joint appointment in Bioengineering. Her research focuses on the interactions between student motivation and their learning experiences. Her projects involve the study of student perceptions, beliefs and attitudes towards becoming engineers and scientists, and their problem solving processes. Other projects in the Benson group include effects of student-centered active learning, self-regulated learning, and incorporating engineering into secondary science and mathematics classrooms. Her education includes a B.S. in Bioengineering from the University of Vermont, and M.S. and Ph.D. in Bioengineering from Clemson University.

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Adam Kirn University of Nevada, Reno

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Adam Kirn is an Assistant Professor of Engineering Education at University of Nevada, Reno. His research focuses on the interactions between engineering cultures, student motivation, and their learning experiences. His projects involve the study of student perceptions, beliefs and attitudes towards becoming engineers, their problem solving processes, and cultural fit. His education includes a B.S. in Biomedical Engineering from Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology, a M.S. in Bioengineering and Ph.D. in Engineering and Science Education from Clemson University.

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Abstract

The Intersectionality of Non-normative Identities in the Cultures of Engineering project has explored how engineering students who hold previously described previously described non-normative identities navigate the cultures of engineering. Our goal is to investigate ways that students with non-normative identities develop as engineers. Our work has proceeded in two phases: 1) Characterizing the attitudinal profiles of normative and non-normative students in engineering (quantitative phase) and 2) Understanding students’ normative and non-normative identities in engineering and how they influence their experiences and progression in engineering (qualitative phase). Drawing from our findings, we will develop a workshop and set of courses to incorporate diversity topics into engineering programs.

In the first phase of the project, we quantitatively measured and characterized student groups with normative and non-normative identities in engineering. Our definitions of normative and non-normative are developed through Topological Data Analysis of a set of multi-institution survey data (n = 2916). “Normative” and “non-normative” are defined by students’ relative responses on a set of student attitudinal constructs and personality traits: motivation (value, goal orientation, future time perspective), engineering and physics identities (performance/competence, and recognition beliefs), personality traits (neuroticism, extraversion, belongingness) and grit (consistency of interest).

This paper focuses on initial results from Phase 2 of our study, in which we conducted a series of qualitative, longitudinal interviews with students selected from the normative and non-normative groups (identified in Phase 1) to understand how they experience engineering and define their educational trajectories over the first two years of college. Interview data has been deductively analyzed based on our existing identity framework as well as inductively coded for emerging themes on how students feel belongingness within engineering culture.

Results of qualitative analysis have demonstrated three main themes to date. First, engineering students describe their perceptions of belonging as being influenced by either having or not having (as a binary evaluation) particular skill sets or attitudes/beliefs. These skill sets varied by participant and created different perceptions of belongingness in engineering. Second, students are determining their belonging and futures in engineering by comparing themselves to different “types” of engineers and their perceived fit or congruence to these types. Types of engineer are often defined by the skills utilized in their work, rather than different conceptualizations of who looks like or can be an engineer. Finally, participants (predominantly from the normative group) noted that they have had previous experiences with engineering and that these experiences provided them with an advantage when compared to students without these experiences. Participants went on to report utilizing these previous experiences to sustain interest in the face of challenges within engineering curricula. Together these results indicate that engineering students are evaluating their belongingness and futures in engineering based on skills and attitudes and the potential application of these skills in the future. To further student development as engineers (regardless of attitudinal group), educators should look to bring in diverse representations of engineering work and skills such that students have relevant past experiences to draw upon when encountering new challenges such that students have relevant past experiences to draw upon when encountering new challenges.

Satterfield, D. J., & Rohde, J. A., & Rodriguez, M., & Ma, B., & Doyle, J., & Godwin, A., & Potvin, G., & Benson, L., & Kirn, A. (2018, June), Board 74: Normative and Non-Normative Engineering Student Experiences in Navigating the Cultures of Engineering Paper presented at 2018 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition , Salt Lake City, Utah. https://peer.asee.org/30099

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