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Development of Engineering Professional Identity and Formation of a Community of Practice in a New Engineering Program

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2017 FYEE Conference


Daytona Beach, Florida

Publication Date

August 6, 2017

Start Date

August 6, 2017

End Date

August 8, 2017

Conference Session

Issues in the First Year - Focus on Self-Efficacy

Tagged Topics

Diversity and FYEE Division - Paper Submission

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Paper Authors


Lee Kemp Rynearson Campbell University

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Lee Rynearson an Assistant Professor of Engineering at Campbell University. He received a B.S. and M.Eng. in Mechanical Engineering from the Rochester Institute of Technology in 2008 and earned his PhD in Engineering Education from Purdue University in 2016. He also has previous experience as an instructor of engineering at the Kanazawa Institute of Technology, in Kanazawa, Japan. His current research interests focus on instruction for metacognition and problem solving.

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Anastasia Marie Rynearson Campbell University Orcid 16x16

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Anastasia Rynearson is an Assistant Professor at Campbell University in the School of Engineering. She has worked on the PictureSTEM project as a graduate student and Postdoctoral Research Assistant through INSPIRE in the School of Engineering Education at Purdue University. She received a PhD from Purdue University in Engineering Education and a B.S. and M.Eng. in Mechanical Engineering at the Rochester Institute of Technology. Her teaching experience includes outreach activities at various age levels as well as a position as Assistant Professor in the Mechanical Engineering Department at Kanazawa Technical College. Her current research interests focus on early P-12 engineering education and identity development.

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In 2016 Campbell University added a School of Engineering, offering a general engineering degree with concentrations in chemical and mechanical engineering. This paper describes efforts to intentionally support the development of engineering identity in students during their first year through the formation of a community of practice. Faculty managed and supported a variety of in-class and extracurricular activities to encourage the development of engineering identity. As part of the first-year experience, methods employed to foster community and identity development included four main avenues along with three cross-cutting themes. The four main avenues for development were the first-year engineering (FYE) design course sequence, an FYE seminar, mandatory extracurricular programming in professional development and service, and mandatory machine shop and makerspace training. The three cross-cutting themes were the core values of the School of Engineering, the need for diversity in engineering, and the availability of different career choices in engineering. Data was collected throughout the 2016-2017 academic year to understand the first year experience of the charter cohort at Campbell University. Data sources including student event participation record, facilities use records, and a modified professional identity scale were used to characterize and assess the methods. Results indicate that these efforts effectively promoted the creation of an engineering community and supported identity development for the initial cohort of students. This work may provide a template for other programs wishing to increase or systematize their efforts in identity development and community of formation.

Rynearson, L. K., & Rynearson, A. M. (2017, August), Development of Engineering Professional Identity and Formation of a Community of Practice in a New Engineering Program Paper presented at 2017 FYEE Conference, Daytona Beach, Florida.

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