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Diversity In Engineering Education Research: Insights From Three Study Designs

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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

Women, Minorities and the New Engineering Educator

Tagged Division

New Engineering Educators

Page Count

13

Page Numbers

12.557.1 - 12.557.13

Permanent URL

https://peer.asee.org/2569

Download Count

21

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Paper Authors

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Cheryl Allendoerfer University of Washington

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Sharon Jones Lafayette College

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Jaime Hernandez Texas State University-San Marcos

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Rebecca Bates Minnesota State University-Mankato

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Robin Adams Purdue University

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

Diversity in Engineering Education Research: Insights from Three Study Designs Abstract

Diversity is a significant concern in engineering education, as evidenced by the numerous recent calls to recruit and retain more women and underrepresented minorities into engineering majors and professions. Discussions about the importance of meeting the needs of diverse students are widespread; however, there has been less discussion of how to define diversity, and how to actually go about studying diversity in meaningful ways. Given the lack of explicit guidance in this area, new engineering educators may benefit from examples of how their peers are thinking about diversity in designing educational research studies. In this paper we provide three examples of studies of diversity issues in engineering education in order to demonstrate some ways in which diversity can be conceptualized and integrated in educational research. For each study, we discuss how diversity is defined, how the research question addresses the relevant aspects of diversity, how the research methodologies facilitate in-depth understanding of the issues at hand, and potential impacts of the study. We then provide suggestions for those who wish to do similar studies.

Introduction

One aspect of being an engineering educator is doing research, and a subset of that research may focus on engineering education. One research area with particular potential for having impact on engineering education is diversity. Diversity is a significant concern in engineering education, as evidenced by the numerous recent calls to recruit and retain more women and underrepresented minorities into engineering majors and professions1,2. Discussions about the importance of meeting the needs of diverse students are widespread; however, there has been less discussion of how to define diversity, and how to actually go about studying diversity in meaningful ways. Given the lack of explicit guidance in this area, new engineering educators may benefit from examples of how their peers are thinking about diversity in designing educational research studies.

By encouraging educators to “think about diversity,” we hope to emphasize the idea that investigating issues of diversity in engineering education means more than simply tracking the numbers of underrepresented minorities or women entering and staying in engineering programs. Diversity needs to be considered broadly, and also in ways that recognize within-group differences as well as individuals’ identifications with multiple groups3,4,5,6. Student diversity appears in many different forms – several of which may be present in the same student – and each type of diversity can greatly impact a student’s experience in the learning environment. As educators, we have a responsibility to rethink our own conceptions of diversity, consider what additional types of diversity might be playing roles in our classrooms, and investigate ways of addressing the salient diversity issues.

Some examples of how people are thinking about and studying diversity can be drawn from the work of engineering faculty who participated in an engineering education research institute. The Institute for Scholarship on Engineering Education (ISEE) is one element of the National

Allendoerfer, C., & Jones, S., & Hernandez, J., & Bates, R., & Adams, R. (2007, June), Diversity In Engineering Education Research: Insights From Three Study Designs Paper presented at 2007 Annual Conference & Exposition, Honolulu, Hawaii. https://peer.asee.org/2569

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