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Examination of Implicit Gender Biases Among Engineering Faculty when Assigning Leadership, Research, and Service Roles

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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

14

Permanent URL

https://peer.asee.org/28314

Download Count

128

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Paper Authors

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Eugene Judson Arizona State University Orcid 16x16 orcid.org/https://0000-0002-0124-8476

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Eugene Judson is an Associate Professor of for the Mary Lou Fulton Teachers College at Arizona State University. He also serves as an Extension Services Consultant for the National Center for Women and Information Technology (NCWIT). His past experiences include having been a middle school science teacher, Director of Academic and Instructional Support for the Arizona Department of Education, a research scientist for the Center for Research on Education in Science, Mathematics, Engineering and Technology (CRESMET), and an evaluator for several NSF projects. His first research strand concentrates on the relationship between educational policy and STEM education. His second research strand focuses on studying STEM classroom interactions and subsequent effects on student understanding. He is a co-developer of the Reformed Teaching Observation Protocol (RTOP) and his work has been cited more than 1800 times and his publications have been published in multiple peer-reviewed journals such as Science Education and the Journal of Research in Science Teaching.

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Lydia Ross Arizona State University

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Lydia Ross is a doctoral student and graduate research assistant at Arizona State University. She is a second year student in the Educational Policy and Evaluation program. Her research interests focus on higher education access, equity, and inclusion.

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Keith D. Hjelmstad Arizona State University

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Keith D. Hjelmstad is Professor of Civil Engineering in the School of Sustainable Engineering and the Built Environment at Arizona State University.

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Stephen J Krause Arizona State University

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Stephen Krause is professor in the Materials Science Program in the Fulton School of Engineering at Arizona State University. He teaches in the areas of introductory materials engineering, polymers and composites, and capstone design. His research interests include evaluating conceptual knowledge, misconceptions and technologies to promote conceptual change. He has co-developed a Materials Concept Inventory and a Chemistry Concept Inventory for assessing conceptual knowledge and change for introductory materials science and chemistry classes. He is currently conducting research on an NSF faculty development program based on evidence-based teaching practices. The overall goal is to develop disciplinary communities of practice across the college of engineering. The approach is being promoted through semester-long faculty workshops and then through a semester of supported implementation of faculty classroom innovations. Changes in faculty beliefs and classroom practice should positively impact student performance and retention. He was a coauthor for the best paper award at the FIE convention in 2009 and the best paper award in the Journal of Engineering Education in 2013.

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Casey Jane Ankeny Arizona State University

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Casey J. Ankeny, PhD is lecturer in the School of Biological and Health Systems Engineering at Arizona State University. Casey received her bachelor’s degree in Biomedical Engineering from the University of Virginia in 2006 and her doctorate degree in Biomedical Engineering from Georgia Institute of Technology and Emory University in 2012 where she studied the role of shear stress in aortic valve disease. Currently, she is investigating cyber-based student engagement strategies in flipped and traditional biomedical engineering courses. She aspires to understand and improve student attitude, achievement, and persistence in student-centered courses.

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Robert J Culbertson Department of Physics, Arizona State University

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Robert J. Culbertson is an Associate Professor of Physics. Currently, he teaches introductory mechanics and electrodynamics for physics majors and a course in musical acoustics, which was specifically designed for elementary education majors. He is director of the ASU Physics Teacher Education Coalition (PhysTEC) Project, which strives to produce more and better high school physics teachers. He is also director of Master of Natural Science degree program, a graduate program designed for in-service science teachers. He works on improving persistence of students in STEM majors, especially under-prepared students and students from under-represented groups.

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James A Middleton Arizona State University

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James A. Middleton is Professor of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering and Director of the Center for Research on Education in Science, Mathematics, Engineering, and Technology at Arizona State University. For the last three years he also held the Elmhurst Energy Chair in STEM education at the University of Birmingham in the UK. Previously, Dr. Middleton was Associate Dean for Research in the Mary Lou Fulton College of Education at Arizona State University, and Director of the Division of Curriculum and Instruction. He received his Ph.D. in Educational Psychology from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 1992, where he also served in the National Center for Research on Mathematical Sciences Education as a postdoctoral scholar.

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Abstract

Considerable prior research has indicated wide-ranging implicit and explicit biases exist regarding the association of gender with leadership and gender with scientific and engineering roles. Additionally, in higher education there is evidence that female faculty are more likely to be in teaching and advising roles than their male counterparts (Bird, Litt, & Yong, 2004; Hart & Cress, 2008). From this literature, it is unclear if these job-sorting circumstances are more so due to assignments made by faculty administrators or if men and women are self-sorting into different duties. Interest into this issue is particularly acute in engineering where known gender differences exist in interests among students and dispositions among faculty (Author, 2016).

To address this question of job-sorting, the Assignment of Research, Service, and Leadership Activity (ARSLA) was designed and completed by 695 engineering faculty members from 50 colleges of engineering in the United States. ARSLA prompts respondents to pretend they are a college of engineering administrator who is recommending task assignments for faculty members in a fictitious Mechanical and Manufacturing Engineering Department. The five tasks include one research-focused position, one leadership role, and three service responsibilities related to working with students or creating a new freshman engineering course that emphasizes ethics and societal values. Respondents are also provided brief bios of five faculty members who have varying years of experience. All bios indicate strengths in both technical and interpersonal skills.

Survey software randomly drove half of the respondents to an ARSLA showing five faculty members all with male names, while the other half of the respondents were shown a duplicate version with one exception. The difference was a name change of the faculty member with the middle level of experience from “Charlie” to “Cathy.”

Contrary to a predicted demonstration of explicit bias in favor of assigning men to research and leadership positions, results support a bias correction theory perspective. When respondents were presented with bios that included Cathy instead of Charlie, Cathy was 2.36 times more likely to be recommended to the leadership role of co-chairing the department. Similarly, the odds of Cathy being recommended to work on a serious research project was 1.67 times higher than odds for Charlie. In absence of a female to select from, Charlie was far more often assigned to curriculum development and advising roles than Cathy.

Disaggregation of data indicated male (n = 483) and female (n = 193) respondents were similarly favorable about recommending Cathy to a leadership role versus Charlie (18% and 20% for Cathy, 11% and 7% for Charlie - female and male respondents, respectively). Significant contrasts existed regarding recommending Cathy or Charlie to a serious research project. Male and female respondents both indicated a preference for Cathy versus Charlie to work on research, but the odds ratio of female respondents versus male respondents selecting Cathy to work on research was 1.64. Female respondents were twice as likely to recommend Cathy to work on research as they were to recommend Charlie (45% versus 23%).

Judson, E., & Ross, L., & Hjelmstad, K. D., & Krause, S. J., & Ankeny, C. J., & Culbertson, R. J., & Middleton, J. A. (2017, June), Examination of Implicit Gender Biases Among Engineering Faculty when Assigning Leadership, Research, and Service Roles Paper presented at 2017 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Columbus, Ohio. https://peer.asee.org/28314

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