July 26, 2021
July 26, 2021
July 19, 2022
Diversity and NSF Grantees Poster Session
This executive summary describes the progression of a research project focused on characterizing latent diversity in engineering through students’ narratives of their identity trajectories. Despite grandiose initiatives, the underlying nature of engineering culture continuously undermines national goals to address diversity, equity, and inclusion; recruit and retain diverse talent; and promote innovation in problem-solving approaches and engineering solutions. We hypothesize that the socialization process of engineering education leads to the homogenization of students’ ways of being, thinking, and knowing. Additionally, this process often alienates students who do not align with the cultural norms and practices in engineering. As a result, seemingly identical portrayals of what engineering is and who becomes an engineer have permeated engineering students’ and professionals’ stories for decades. This research provides a broader understanding of engineering inclusion by unpacking actionable ways to actualize latent diversity in engineering, which we will lead to a demonstrable change in engineering climate and culture. We used mixed methods to characterize latent diversity through a national survey of 3,711 first-year engineering students and longitudinal narrative interviews of 25 students to answer three research questions: 1) What kinds of diversity in attitudes, beliefs, and mindsets (i.e., latent diversity) 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? We constructed first person narratives to inform our understanding of engineering climate and student experiences. At this point, we have conducted five rounds of interviews with students since Fall of 2018. Each interview used journey maps to elicit students’ identity trajectories and probed further into their short- and long-term goals and current educational environments. As we progress into the grant’s final year, we are continuing our data collection efforts and have begun to develop ways to translate our findings to inclusive classroom practices. We are facilitating a professional development workshop focused on equipping educators with tools to promote inclusion for latently diverse students. Also, we highlight how our work on latent diversity and person-centered analyses can amplify and center the voices of those traditionally marginalized in engineering, and can provide advances in the methodological approaches and positioning of engineering education research. Overall, this research aims to understand how students construct their identities over time in order to promote inclusive classrooms, and leverages the dynamic nature of mixed methods research to challenge the ways inclusion is defined and explored in engineering education.
Godwin, A., & Benedict, B. S., & Rohde, J., & Clements, H. R., & Perkins, H. L., & Marques Melo, J., & Castillo, A. L. (2021, July), CAREER: Learning from Students’ Identity Trajectories to Actualize Latent Diversity Paper presented at 2021 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access, Virtual Conference. 10.18260/1-2--36783
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