Salt Lake City, Utah
June 23, 2018
June 23, 2018
July 27, 2018
Liberal Education/Engineering & Society
Previous work developed a working definition of engineering professional identity (EPI), defined as the degree of internalization of the norms, behaviors, language, values, and practices of engineering. This EPI definition is rooted in historical perspectives of U.S. engineering education and incorporates four levels of engineering professional identity across three domains of development (individual, social, systemic). We found that the historical perspectives played a role in how students understood what engineering is and does, in turn affecting their level of professional identity development. We suspect that the type of course (technical versus non-technical) may contextually influence students’ perspectives on engineering. This work-in-progress study explored two different courses (cases). The first course was a junior-level communication course for engineering majors. The second course was all women-in-engineering course tailored to entry-level undergraduate engineering majors. Both courses are offered in the same College of Engineering at a western U.S. research university, are taught by female instructors, and are considered professional development (non-technical) courses within the undergraduate curriculum.
Preliminary findings suggest that women in engineering hold different perspectives of engineering compared to those in the majority group (e.g., male/Caucasian). On the other hand, engineering courses focused on communication shifted students’ understanding of engineering and their self-proclaimed levels of engineering professional identity. Results also suggest that non-technical engineering courses may be advantageous towards guiding students’ development of a more societally relevant engineering professional identity.
Villanueva, I., & Nadelson, L. S., & Bouwma-Gearhart, J., & Youmans, K. L., & Lanci, S., & Lenz, A. (2018, June), Exploring Students’ and Instructors’ Perceptions of Engineering: Case Studies of Professionally Focused and Career Exploration Courses Paper presented at 2018 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition , Salt Lake City, Utah. https://peer.asee.org/30495
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