June 24, 2007
June 24, 2007
June 27, 2007
New Engineering Educators
12.558.1 - 12.558.12
Diversity in Engineering Teaching – Views from Future Engineering Faculty Abstract
This current paper uses a qualitative analysis approach to explore the conceptions of diversity as expressed by future engineering educators. Engineering graduate students and post-docs (future engineering educators) wrote a statement of diversity as it relates to teaching engineering as a component of a teaching portfolio. We then interviewed these participants about the processes they used for this writing task. During the interview, they reflected on their processes in writing the diversity statement; they also discussed their personal experiences with diversity issues and through these discussions revealed their attitudes, beliefs, and conceptions of diversity. In this exploratory study, we focus our analysis on these interviews and present our findings on three emergent themes across four case studies.
Even though diversity issues have not always been addressed in engineering education, they have become central and critical to the engineering education community in recent years. Addressing diversity has emerged as an important issue in the engineering education community as the student population in colleges and universities has become increasingly more diverse. Despite these changes in student populations, attrition from engineering programs remains a significant issue across all groups. For underrepresented minority groups, recruitment and retention in the engineering programs is especially critical because significantly fewer engineering degrees were awarded to these students in the last decade. The current number of minorities and women in student populations represented in engineering programs are still well below parity with their distribution within the higher education population1. The engineering education community has acknowledged the importance of addressing diversity in recent publications from the National Academy of Engineering (NAE),2, 3 the National Action Council for Minorities in Engineering (NACME)4, and Journal of Women and Minorities in Science and Engineering5, 6. The National Science Foundation (NSF) has allocated funding to address diversity issues through specific requests for proposals related to increasing diversity in science and engineering. NSF has also included diversity explicitly in the broader impacts criteria for all NSF proposals7.
As colleges and universities strive to recruit and retain a more diverse student population in engineering, faculty need to become more aware of how to handle diversity issues within their classrooms. Therefore, it is important to encourage faculty to think more broadly about diversity issues. As researchers, we believe there are various ways to encourage educators to think and discuss the topic of diversity in engineering. Many universities offer campus-wide discussion forums and workshops that address the topic of diversity. Engaging in discussions about diversity issues is one method that shows promise in raising awareness of these critical issues within the engineering education community. Encouraging discussions about difficult issues has been established as an effective faculty development method. In Scandinavia, science and engineering faculty are encouraged to share their personal experiences regarding supervising doctoral students by writing narratives about their experiences and then discussing these narratives with their peers8. Based on Linden’s work, writing and sharing individual diversity statements represents one such
Sattler, B., & Yellin, J., & Huang, Y., & Turns, J. (2007, June), Diversity In Engineering Teaching – Views From Future Engineering Faculty Paper presented at 2007 Annual Conference & Exposition, Honolulu, Hawaii. https://peer.asee.org/2195
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