July 26, 2021
July 26, 2021
July 19, 2022
Diversity and NSF Grantees Poster Session
Our transformative mixed-methods project, funded by the Division of Engineering Education and Centers, responds to calls for more cross-institutional qualitative and longitudinal studies of minorities in engineering education. We seek to identify the factors that promote persistence and graduation as well as attrition for Black students in Electrical Engineering (EE), Computer Engineering (CpE), and Mechanical Engineering (ME). Our work combines quantitative exploration and qualitative interviews to better understand the nuanced and complex nature of retention and attrition in these fields. We are investigating the following overarching research questions:
1. Why do Black men and women choose and persist in, or leave, EE, CpE, and ME? 2. What are the academic trajectories of Black men and women in EE, CpE, and ME? 3. In what ways do these pathways vary by gender or institution? 4. What institutional policies and practices promote greater retention of Black engineering students?
In this paper, we report on the results from 79 in-depth interviews with students at Predominantly White Institutions (PWIs) and a Historically Black University (HBCU [or HBU]). We describe emergent findings during Year 3 of our project, with a focus on several papers that we presented in the past year:
• Paper # 1: In this paper, we describe the methodological approach – identity circles – that we used in our in-depth interviews of Black students in engineering to investigate themes related to identity. Each interviewee was asked to complete an identity circle, illustrating the centrality and overlapping nature of various identities to their engineering education experiences. Through the use of an identity circle during the in-depth interviews, we hoped to learn more about the dynamic nature of identity, as the enactment and relevance of identities varies across time and place. The identity circle exercise uncovered valuable information about the influence of various identities on participants’ sense of self and on their engineering education. • Paper # 2: We summarized student responses to a pre-interview climate survey about three domains – Teaching and Learning, Faculty and Peer Interactions, and Belonging and Commitment. We investigated two questions: Are there differences between persisters and switchers? And, are there differences by study major? Results indicate substantial differences between persisters and switchers and some differences between ME and ECE students. • Paper #3: An undergraduate researcher working with the team is using a case-study approach to examine how immigrant Black students with an international background have experienced racism in the US and abroad. The case study authored by an undergraduate student and reported in this poster focuses on how students with international experience make sense of racism in the US. Students with this specific background are either children of immigrants, immigrants themselves, and have studied or lived overseas before beginning their engineering degree in the US. The author applied a mixed methods approach, though it is heavily driven by qualitative research. The author drew upon Community Cultural Wealth (CCW) theory as a framework to better understand how these students comprehend racism and sexism.
In this grantees paper and poster, we also briefly report on our plans for the upcoming year for data analysis and manuscript submission.
Mobley, C., & Orr, M. K., & Brawner, C. E., & Brent, R. (2021, July), Explaining Choice, Persistence, and Attrition of Black Students in Electrical, Computer, and Mechanical Engineering: Year 3 Paper presented at 2021 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access, Virtual Conference. https://peer.asee.org/37136
ASEE holds the copyright on this document. It may be read by the public free of charge. Authors may archive their work on personal websites or in institutional repositories with the following citation: © 2021 American Society for Engineering Education. Other scholars may excerpt or quote from these materials with the same citation. When excerpting or quoting from Conference Proceedings, authors should, in addition to noting the ASEE copyright, list all the original authors and their institutions and name the host city of the conference. - Last updated April 1, 2015