Crystal City, Virginia
April 29, 2018
April 29, 2018
May 2, 2018
Diversity and Race/Ethnicity
This is a comparative study of the factors affecting the psychosocial and academic well-being and career aspirations of African-American engineering students at a Predominantly White Institution (PWI) and a Historically Black University (HBCU). The effect of numerical majority- and non-majority status on black identity, self-image, awareness of prejudice and discrimination, and salience of black identity on campus and in the engineering profession are examined from intergroup contact hypothesis (Pettigrew, 1998) and optimal distinctiveness model (Brewer, 2010) perspectives. We hypothesize that numerical majority status is likely to facilitate a stronger integration of cultural and professional identity for engineering students at HBCU relative to PWI and positively influence their well-being and career aspirations. We also hypothesize that the nature of intergroup relationships at the two institutions is likely to play a role in the extent to which students’ report awareness of discrimination, and experience its impact their self-image and identity. Analysis of focus-group interviews (HBCU = 7; PWI =8) using NVivo 11 suggest that students at PWI report a greater degree of salience and distinctiveness of black identity and experience greater stereotype threat on campus than their counterparts at the HBCU. Students at HBCU describe a greater sense of responsibility to counteract perceived discrimination and the stereotypes imposed upon them off campus and in the profession. The final paper will provide further in-depth analyses of the interviews will be conducted to present a nuanced understanding of factors supporting the development of strong professional and cultural identity among African-American students in both institutions.
Berhan, L. M., & Kumar, R., & Adams, A. L., & Goodloe, M. A., & Jones, J. K., & McKether, W. L. (2018, April), Comparative Study of the Effect of Numerical Majority and Non-majority Status on the Intersection of Professional and Cultural Identity of African American Engineering Students Paper presented at 2018 CoNECD - The Collaborative Network for Engineering and Computing Diversity Conference, Crystal City, Virginia. https://peer.asee.org/29523
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