June 26, 2011
June 26, 2011
June 29, 2011
Minorities in Engineering, Liberal Education/Engineering & Society, and Women in Engineering
22.684.1 - 22.684.21
Exploding pipelines: mythological metaphors structuring diversity-oriented engineering education research agendasOver thirty years after Sue Berryman introduced the pipeline metaphor for understanding theunderrepresentation of women and people of color in STEM disciplines, the pipeline remains thedominant theoretical framework on which diversity-oriented engineering education research isbased. One might argue that the use of “pipeline” as the dominant metaphor to understand theunderrepresentation of certain groups has reached mythological proportions in both its broadreach and in how it engenders uncritical allegiance from researchers. This reliance on pipelinemetaphors continues despite considerable critique of the model argued from researchers bothinside and outside the engineering education research community. In this work, we pose andanswer some questions about the consequences of this metaphor’s predominance, including:what methodological advantages and disadvantages does this metaphor afford researchers? andhow does it help highlight or mask the lived experiences of real women working in engineeringacademic contexts? In addition, we will ask, perhaps more controversially, how might thereluctance to release pipeline theory from its hegemonic stronghold reflect engineeringeducation’s larger disciplinary reluctance to critique their current structure and reconstructthemselves into more egalitarian institutions?This paper critically explores the discourse of “pipeline” and its offshoots (including “chillyclimate”) with an aim to (re)introduce to engineering education research both the method ofdiscourse analysis as well as alternative metaphorical frameworks. This paper grounds itstheoretical discussion in the empirical data collected for [institution’s ADVANCE program andspecific study name], a research study that uses oral history methods and participatoryframeworks to collect the academic stories of white women and faculty of color in STEMdisciplines.
Pawley, A. L., & Hoegh, J. (2011, June), Exploding Pipelines: Mythological Metaphors Structuring Diversity-Oriented Engineering Education Research Agendas Paper presented at 2011 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Vancouver, BC. https://peer.asee.org/17965
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