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Exploring Students’ and Instructors’ Perceptions of Engineering: Case Studies of Professionally Focused and Career Exploration Courses

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Conference

2018 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition

Location

Salt Lake City, Utah

Publication Date

June 23, 2018

Start Date

June 23, 2018

End Date

July 27, 2018

Conference Session

Imagining Others, Defining Self Through Consideration of Ethical and Social Implications

Tagged Division

Liberal Education/Engineering & Society

Tagged Topic

Diversity

Page Count

14

Permanent URL

https://peer.asee.org/30495

Download Count

21

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Paper Authors

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Idalis Villanueva Utah State University

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Dr. Villanueva is an Assistant Professor in the Engineering Education Department and an Adjunct Professor in the Bioengineering Department in Utah State University. Her multiple roles as an engineer, engineering educator, engineering educational researcher, and professional development mentor for underrepresented populations has aided her in the design and integration of educational and physiological technologies to research 'best practices' for student professional development and training. In addition, she is developing methodologies around hidden curriculum, academic emotions and physiology, and engineering makerspaces.

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Louis S. Nadelson Colorado Mesa University

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Louis S. Nadelson has a BS from Colorado State University, a BA from the Evergreen State College, a MEd from Western Washington University, and a PhD in educational psychology from UNLV. His scholarly interests include all areas of STEM teaching and learning, inservice and preservice teacher professional development, program evaluation, multidisciplinary research, and conceptual change. Nadelson uses his over 20 years of high school and college math, science, computer science, and engineering teaching to frame his research on STEM teaching and learning. Nadelson brings a unique perspective of research, bridging experience with practice and theory to explore a range of interests in STEM teaching and learning.

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Jana Bouwma-Gearhart

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Jana L. Bouwma-Gearhart is an associate professor of STEM education at Oregon State University. Her research widely concerns improving education at research universities. Her earlier research explored enhancements to faculty motivation to improve undergraduate education. Her more recent research concerns organizational change towards postsecondary STEM education improvement at research universities, including the interactions of levers (people, organizations, policy, initiatives) of change and documenting the good, hard work required across disciplinary boundaries to achieve meaningful change in STEM education.

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Katherine L. Youmans Utah State University

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Kate Youmans is a PhD student in the Department of Engineering Education at Utah State University. Kate earned her bachelor's degree in Mechanical Engineering from Worcester Polytechnic Institute and worked in the medical device industry designing surgical instruments before focusing on engineering outreach in MIT’s Office of Engineering Outreach Programs. After receiving her master's degree in Science Education from Boston University, Kate helped open the American International School of Utah, a K-12 charter school in Salt Lake City. In her role as STEM Director Kate developed the schools programs in Computer Science, Robotics and Design Thinking.

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Sarah Lanci Colorado Mesa University

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Sarah Lanci is an Assistant Professor of Mechanical Engineering at Colorado Mesa University. She received her B.S. degree in Materials Science and Engineering at Michigan State University and her M.S. degree in Metallurgical Engineering at Colorado School of Mines. Following graduate school, Sarah worked as a part and process engineer at an investment casting facility, PCC Structurals, in Portland, OR for seven years before transitioning to her current position at CMU where she teaches introductory design, materials science, and manufacturing-focused courses. Sarah's research interests include aspects of project-based learning and enhancing 21st century skills in undergraduate engineering students.

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Adam Lenz Oregon State University

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Abstract

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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