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Development of a national survey focusing on the relationships between race, class, and gender on the persistence of women engineering faculty

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Conference

2017 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition

Location

Columbus, Ohio

Publication Date

June 24, 2017

Start Date

June 24, 2017

End Date

June 28, 2017

Conference Session

Women in Engineering Division Technical Session 2

Tagged Division

Women in Engineering

Tagged Topic

Diversity

Page Count

12

Permanent URL

https://peer.asee.org/28161

Download Count

111

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Paper Authors

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Monica Farmer Cox Ohio State University

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Monica F. Cox, Ph.D., is Professor and Chair in newly created Department of Engineering Education at The Ohio State University. Prior to this appointment, she was a Associate Professor in the School of Engineering Education at Purdue University, the Inaugural Director of the College of Engineering's Leadership Minor, and the Director of the International Institute of Engineering Education Assessment (i2e2a). In 2013, she became founder and owner of STEMinent LLC, a company focused on STEM education assessment and professional development for stakeholders in K-12 education, higher education, and Corporate America. Her research is focused upon the use of mixed methodologies to explore significant research questions in undergraduate, graduate, and professional engineering education, to integrate concepts from higher education and learning science into engineering education, and to develop and disseminate reliable and valid assessment tools for use across the engineering education continuum.

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Jung Sook Kim Ohio State University

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Ph.D. in Department of Teaching & Learning, College of Education & Human Ecology, at the Ohio State University

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Matilde Luz Sanchez-Pena Purdue University, West Lafayette (College of Engineering)

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Matilde Sanchez-Pena is a first year PhD student in the Engineering Education program at Purdue University. Her research interests are diversity in engineering, education policy making and the effective teaching of statistics in engineering.

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Joyce B. Main Purdue University, West Lafayette (College of Engineering)

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Joyce B. Main is Assistant Professor of Engineering Education at Purdue University. She holds a Ph.D. in Learning, Teaching, and Social Policy from Cornell University, and an Ed.M. in Administration, Planning, and Social Policy from the Harvard Graduate School of Education.

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Ebony Omotola McGee Vanderbilt University

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Ebony O. McGee is an Assistant Professor of Diversity and Urban Schooling at Vanderbilt University’s Peabody College and a member of Scientific Careers Research and Development Group at Northwestern University. She received her Ph.D. in Mathematics Education from the University of Illinois at Chicago; and she was a National Academy of Education/Spencer Foundation Postdoctoral Fellow and a National Science Foundation Postdoctoral Fellow. As a former electrical engineer, she is concerned with science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) learning and participation among historically marginalized students of color. Her research focuses on the role of racialized experiences and biases in STEM educational and career attainment, problematizing traditional notions of academic achievement and what is mean to be successful yet marginalized, and STEM identity and identity development in high-achieving students of color. She is currently the PI on two studies funded by NSF, the first of which investigates the causes behind why African Americans remain one of the most underrepresented racial groups in engineering faculty positions. The second study is working toward the design of a holistic racial and gender attentive mentoring program for engineering PhD students of color.

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Abstract

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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