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Creative, Contextual, And Engaged: Are Women The Engineers Of 2020?

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Conference

2007 Annual Conference & Exposition

Location

Honolulu, Hawaii

Publication Date

June 24, 2007

Start Date

June 24, 2007

End Date

June 27, 2007

ISSN

2153-5965

Conference Session

Student Diversity: attracting and retaining a diverse population of students

Tagged Division

Educational Research and Methods

Page Count

16

Page Numbers

12.420.1 - 12.420.16

Permanent URL

https://peer.asee.org/2324

Download Count

34

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Paper Authors

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Deborah Kilgore University of Washington

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DEBORAH KILGORE is a Research Scientist in the Center for Engineering Learning and Teaching (CELT) and the Center for the Advancement of Engineering Education (CAEE), University of Washington. Her areas of specific interest and expertise include qualitative and mixed educational research methods, adult learning theory, student development, and women in education.

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Debbie Chachra Franklin W. Olin College of Engineering

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DEBBIE CHACHRA is an Assistant Professor of Materials Science at the Franklin W. Olin College of Engineering in Needham, MA. Her research
interests in education include the role of gender and immigration status on student progress in engineering education. Her scientific research
interest focus on skeletal biology and mechanics, as well as biological and bioderived materials.

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Heidi Loshbaugh Colorado School of Mines

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HEIDI G. LOSHBAUGH is an Assistant Research Professor in the Center for the Advancement of Engineering Education at Colorado School of Mines. She is also the Associate Director for CSM's Center for Engineering Education. Dr.
Loshbaugh taught in CSM's EPICS program, for which she developed extensive course and faculty-support materials, and designed and implemented a
leadership course and overseas summer field session. She has recently been appointed to develop a diversity plan for CSM, and has experience in international education, corporate training and coaching, and academic editing.

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Janice McCain Howard University

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JANICE McCAIN is a research associate at the Center for the Advancement of Engineering Education (CAEE) at Howard University. Her areas of interest include persistence and motivation, retention of minority students in higher education, and international economic development, particularly as it relates to women in Africa.

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Marcus Jones Howard University

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MARCUS JONES is an Educational Psychology doctoral student at Howard University. Marcus is a graduate research assistant for the Center for Advancement of Engineering Education. His research interest include the academic achievement of African American males and the factors that influence attrition of engineering students.

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Ken Yasuhara University of Washington

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KEN YASUHARA is a Ph.D. candidate in Computer Science & Engineering at the University of Washington at Seattle and a graduate research
assistant with the Center for the Advancement of Engineering Education. His interests include recruitment/retention, gender equity, and
mixed-methods education research in computer science.

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Abstract
NOTE: The first page of text has been automatically extracted and included below in lieu of an abstract

Creative, Contextual and Engaged: Are Women the Engineers of 2020?

Abstract

This paper discusses findings from a multi-institutional longitudinal study of the engineering student experience. Data from multiple research methods are discussed regarding qualitative differences in contextual awareness and student engagement of engineering students, concentrating on the differences between men and women enrolled as engineering students at four institutions. Data from this study suggest that women are more contextually aware and highly engaged than men, and that women may have certain attributes that fulfill both the criteria for Engineer of 2020 and current ABET accreditation standards. The authors argue that providing opportunities to foster contextual awareness and student engagement should result in greater satisfaction for all students.

Background

Educators, professionals and policy-makers alike recognize that contemporary engineering must be studied and practiced in context. The National Academy of Engineering (NAE) envisions an “Engineer of 2020” who demonstrates “dynamism, agility, resilience, and flexibility” to design for an uncertain and rapidly changing world.1 Contextual conditions like a fragile global economy, increased mobility of jobs and workers, rapid development of information and communication technologies, growing calls for social responsibility,2 and rising complexity of engineered products3 all warrant engineering students’ development of skills with which to situate their technical work. Furthermore, the increasingly diverse engineering workforce and marketplace require “cultural competence”; that is, a willingness and ability to consider culture in engineering problem-solving.4 This growing recognition of the need for contextual awareness makes the ABET learning outcomes that speak to context particularly relevant. Among ABET’s technical and professional learning outcomes are both the ability to design within realistic contextual constraints and an understanding of the impact of engineering solutions within a global and societal context.5

Research has demonstrated that when given the opportunity to learn in context (e.g. through service learning projects or study abroad), students become better engineering problem-solvers with better communication skills and improved abilities to work with diverse people.2 Well- designed project-based learning (PBL) that provides students the opportunity to apply abstract concepts to hands-on activities in context not only leads to knowledge acquisition, but also has been shown to increase engineering-student retention rates.3 Additionally, other behaviors indicate that students are operating contextually while in college. The National Survey of Student Engagement (NSSE) annually surveys college students “to assess the extent to which they engage in educational practices associated with high levels of learning and development.”6 Distinguishing between what Boyer7 once termed “competence” and “commitment,” the NSSE shifts the focus from outcomes measurement to examining the ways in which students are engaged in “educationally purposeful activities,” including activities that complement and contextualize their academic coursework.

1

Kilgore, D., & Chachra, D., & Loshbaugh, H., & McCain, J., & Jones, M., & Yasuhara, K. (2007, June), Creative, Contextual, And Engaged: Are Women The Engineers Of 2020? Paper presented at 2007 Annual Conference & Exposition, Honolulu, Hawaii. https://peer.asee.org/2324

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: © 2007 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