July 26, 2021
July 26, 2021
July 19, 2022
The engineering profession requires to adapt to contribute effectively to the complexities of the problems we face in society. Part of the problem is that the field has been characterized by having a lack of diverse perspectives. Broadening participation in engineering has been part of the engineering education research agenda for years. We argue that if we can understand the traits of the different dimensions of culture in engineering, we can identify potential solutions to broaden participation. For example, understanding if the national culture is predominant over the engineering culture can help us understand if change should be promoted as the disciplinary culture level or at a broader level. Hence, understanding the differences in disciplinary culture in engineering in different countries is important. In this study, we are comparing how students from Ecuador and the United States perceive their engineering disciplinary culture. Specifically, we are using Sharma (2010) instrument, developed to measure constructs associated with culture. Sharma’s work was based on Hofstede’s theory of dimensions of national cultures (power distance, uncertainty avoidance, individualism, masculinity) (Hofstede, 2003), a very well-known theory used to measure culture in different contexts around the world. While Hofstede’s theory is correlational rather than causal, we argue that a better understanding of disciplinary culture from the perspective of characteristics aligned with aspects of the discipline and making comparisons between two countries that are culturally very different, will be valuable to get an initial understanding of students’ perceptions. Data were collected with engineering students at major polytechnic universities in Ecuador and the United States. The survey was translated into Spanish for the Ecuadorian data and was reviewed by several native Spanish speakers. We piloted the survey with several students. The survey was administered online. Results provide preliminary information on how students perceive aspects of culture like uncertainty avoidance, individualism, power distance, and masculinity. We discuss the relationship of these constructs with aspects of the engineering program. Implications for research and practice are provided.
Murzi, H., & Ruiz Ulloa, B. C., & Gamboa, F., & Woods, J. C., & Guerra, M., & Martinez Soto, K. D., & Azar, R. H. (2021, July), Cultural Dimensions in Academic Disciplines, a Comparison Between Ecuador and the United States of America Paper presented at 2021 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access, Virtual Conference. 10.18260/1-2--36886
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