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Engineering vs. Engineering Technology: Toward Understanding the Factors Influencing the Academic and Career Pathways of African-American Students

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Conference

2018 CoNECD - The Collaborative Network for Engineering and Computing Diversity Conference

Location

Crystal City, Virginia

Publication Date

April 29, 2018

Start Date

April 29, 2018

End Date

May 2, 2018

Conference Session

Engineering Workforce Track - Session VI

Tagged Topic

Engineering Workforce

Page Count

20

Permanent URL

https://peer.asee.org/29531

Download Count

40

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Paper Authors

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Lesley M. Berhan University of Toledo

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Anne M. Lucietto Purdue Polytechnic Institute Orcid 16x16 orcid.org/0000-0003-0053-753X

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Dr. Lucietto has focused her research on engineering technology education and the understanding of engineering technology students. She teaches in an active learning style that engages and develops practical skills in students. Currently she is exploring the performance and attributes of engineering technology students and using that knowledge to engage them in their studies.

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Abstract

In the United Sates there are a significantly higher number of African American students enrolled in four year engineering technology programs than engineering programs at many Predominantly White Institutions (PWIs) that offer ABET accredited programs in both. The report Engineering Technology Education in the United States by the National Academies Press makes note of this statistic and recommends that research is needed to understand this trend. While this trend is likely due in part to a preference for engineering technology over engineering of some students, we conjecture that institutional and psychological factors play a role as well. When considering the barriers to broadening participation in engineering and increasing diversity in the engineering workforce and the engineering professoriate, issues associated with career pathways within STEM and the choice of engineering technology versus engineering in particular remain largely underexplored. While technologists often work alongside engineers and in some instances there may be little distinction between their entry level job descriptions, the statistical overrepresentation of African American students in engineering technology compared to engineering directly impacts the number of African American students in the pipeline to the engineering professorate, engineering research careers, and leadership positions in industry. Research that leads to a better understanding of the factors that influence the trend of African American students to pursue degrees in engineering technology versus engineering will contribute to the existing knowledge on how the pipeline to the engineering professoriate might be strengthened and help inform intervention strategies and new approaches to broadening participation of African American students in engineering. In our preliminary study we conducted an online survey of students enrolled in four year engineering technology programs. The main objective of the survey was to gain insight into the students’ high school preparation, path to major, curriculum and institution, and future plans. The data was analyzed and summarized using descriptive statistics and other qualitative methods such as content analysis. We report on the results of the survey and outline how these results will inform the next phase of the research.

Berhan, L. M., & Lucietto, A. M. (2018, April), Engineering vs. Engineering Technology: Toward Understanding the Factors Influencing the Academic and Career Pathways of African-American Students Paper presented at 2018 CoNECD - The Collaborative Network for Engineering and Computing Diversity Conference, Crystal City, Virginia. https://peer.asee.org/29531

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