June 24, 2017
June 24, 2017
June 28, 2017
Women in Engineering
Development of a national survey focusing on the relationships between race, class, and gender on the persistence of women engineering faculty
Existing studies have highlighted unfavorable environments that push women to leave engineering, primarily focusing on gender disparity in academy. Meanwhile, there have been growing research interests in factors that contribute to the persistence of women engineering faculty in the face of hostile circumstances and oppression in an effort to create inclusive policies to enhance the diversity of academic communities.
Ongoing research investigates how women engineering faculty distinctly respond to challenges in the pursuit of their careers despite perceived constraints at individual and institutional levels. While advocating the continuing research that problematizes discriminatory policies and practices against women, there is a need to shift the focus from hindering factors to facilitating factors that contribute to the persistence of women engineering faculty.
Via the development of a national survey, this study investigates the perspectives of women engineering faculty in U.S. institutions on relationships between race, class, and gender in relation to their persistence and resilience as engineering faculty. Race, class, and gender here are explored from institutional, symbolic, and individual dimensions of oppression. Institutional dimensions refer to systemic relationships of domination and subordination structured through social institutions. Symbolic dimensions involve societally-sanctioned ideologies used to justify oppressive social relations. Individual dimensions are concerned with personal biographies affected by the institutional and symbolic dimensions of oppression.
The current paper presents the initial process for creating scale items and challenges exploring intersectionality within scale development. The survey has been systematically developed through a step-by-step process involving planning, construction, qualitative evaluation, and validation. In the planning phase, a statement of the purpose of the intended survey was formulated as stated above. Through an extensive literature review on persistence and resilience of women faculty, the operational definitions of persistence and resilience as the constructs were made and the components to be measured were identified. Persistence constructs include intrinsic and extrinsic motivation, commitment, and goal orientation, and resilience constructs include psychological attributes pertaining to successfully coping with adverse circumstances, and the environmental resources that support women to bounce back in the face of hardships.
During the construction phase, the specific objectives of the survey instrument were developed to indicate the content areas to be measured- (1) the perspectives of women engineering faculty about interpersonal relations, institutional policies and practices, and symbolic stereotypes, biases, and ideologies and (2) the persistence and resilience of women engineering faculty with respect to challenges they encounter in terms of race, class, and gender. With Likert scales selected as the item format, a pool of items was written and reviewed by the item writers. For the content validation, the items were given to colleagues in the field for their review. When a consensus on the content validity of an item was not reached, that item was revised or discarded. Future work will include additional content validation and pilot testing to confirm the validity and reliability of the instrument.
Cox, M. F., & Kim, J. S., & Sanchez-Pena, M. L., & Main, J. B., & McGee, E. O. (2017, June), Development of a national survey focusing on the relationships between race, class, and gender on the persistence of women engineering faculty Paper presented at 2017 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Columbus, Ohio. https://peer.asee.org/28161
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