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Faculty Perceptions Of, and Approaches Towards, Engineering Student Motivation at Hispanic-serving Institutions

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Conference

2021 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access

Location

Virtual Conference

Publication Date

July 26, 2021

Start Date

July 26, 2021

End Date

July 19, 2022

Conference Session

Faculty Development 1: Social Justice Research

Tagged Division

Faculty Development Division

Tagged Topic

Diversity

Page Count

17

Permanent URL

https://peer.asee.org/37186

Download Count

24

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Paper Authors

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Henry Salgado University of Texas at El Paso

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Henry Salgado is a graduate research assistant pursuing an MS in Engineering with a Computer Science and Engineering Education concentration at the University of Texas at El Paso. He is a former K-12 educator and has been involved in a variety of informal STEM education organizations in Texas. Henry is currently conducting engineering education research regarding Hispanic/LatinX students at Hispanic Serving Institutions.

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Yamile A. Urquidi Cerros University of Texas at El Paso

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Yamile is a graduate research assistant at The University of Texas at El Paso, pursuing a master's degree in Engineering with concentrations in Environmental Engineering and Engineering Education. Yamile's active research interests center around the intersection of engineering, education, and sustainability. Yamile plans to pursue a PhD in Environmental Engineering.

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Meagan R. Kendall University of Texas at El Paso

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An Assistant Professor at The University of Texas at El Paso, Dr. Meagan R. Kendall is helping develop a new Engineering Leadership Program to enable students to bridge the gap between traditional engineering education and what they will really experience in industry. With a background in both engineering education and design thinking, her research focuses on how Hispanic students develop an identity as an engineer, methods for enhancing student motivation, and methods for involving students in curriculum development and teaching through Peer Designed Instruction.

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Alexandra Coso Strong Florida International University Orcid 16x16 orcid.org/0000-0003-4988-361X

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As an assistant professor of engineering education at Florida International University, Dr. Alexandra Coso Strong works and teaches at the intersection of engineering education, faculty development, and complex systems design. Alexandra completed her doctorate in aerospace engineering at Georgia Tech. Prior to attending Georgia Tech, Alexandra received a bachelor’s degree in aerospace engineering from MIT and a master’s degree in systems engineering from the University of Virginia. Alexandra comes to FIU after completing a postdoctoral fellowship at Georgia Tech’s Center for the Enhancement of Teaching and Learning (CETL) and three years as a faculty member at Olin College of Engineering in Massachusetts. Alexandra’s research aims to amplify the voices and work of students, educators, and Minority-Serving Institutions (MSIs) overall and support continued educational innovation within engineering at these institutions. Specifically, she focuses on (1) educational and professional development of graduate students and faculty, (2) critical transitions in education and career pathways, and (3) design as central to educational and global change.

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Abstract

This research paper examines faculty perceptions of and approaches towards fostering students’ motivation to learn engineering at Hispanic-Serving Institutions (HSIs). By aligning learning experiences with what motivates Hispanic or Latinx students, the resulting higher student motivation could increase the sense of belonging for underrepresented populations in engineering, ultimately improving student retention and persistence through meaningful instructional practices. Motivation to learn encompasses individuals' perspectives about themselves, the course material, the broader educational curriculum, and their role in their own learning. Students’ motivation can be supported or hindered by their interactions with others, peers, and educators. As such, an educator’s teaching style is a critical part of this process. Therefore, because of the link between a faculty member’s ability to foster student motivation and improved learning outcomes, this paper seeks to explore how engineering faculty approach student motivation in their course designs at Hispanic-Serving Institutions. Humans are curious beings naturally drawn to exploration and learning. Self Determination Theory (SDT), popularized by Ryan and Deci, describes the interconnection of extrinsic (external) and intrinsic (internal) motivators, acknowledging the link between student’s physiological needs and their learning motivations. SDT proposes that students must experience the satisfaction of competence, autonomy, and relatedness for a high level of intrinsic motivation. Further, research indicates that appropriately structured, highly autonomy-supportive teaching styles that foster intrinsic motivation are associated with improved student outcomes. However, further research is needed to observe how faculty prioritize students’ innate needs and how they seek to foster student motivation in tangible ways within their engineering classrooms. Therefore, this paper seeks to answer the following research question: What educational supports do engineering faculty at HSIs propose to embed in their curricula to increase their students’ intrinsic motivation? To answer this question, thirty-six engineering educators from thirteen two- and four-year HSIs from across the continental United States were introduced to the SDT and approaches for supporting students’ intrinsic motivation during a multi-institutional faculty development workshop series. Participants were asked to reflect on and prototype learning experiences that would promote intrinsic motivation and fulfill students’ needs for competence, relatedness, and autonomy to learn engineering. Data were collected through a series of reflection worksheets where participants were asked to describe their target stakeholders, define a course redesign goal, and generate possible solutions while considering the impact of the redesign on student motivation. Qualitative analysis was used to explore participant responses. Analysis indicates that the participants were more likely to simultaneously address multiple motivational constructs when attempting to improve student motivation, rather than addressing them individually. Some of these approaches included the adoption of autonomy-supportive and structured teaching styles. As a result of this research, there is potential to influence future faculty development opportunities at HSIs and further explore intentional learning experiences that promote and foster intrinsic motivation in the engineering classroom.

Salgado, H., & Urquidi Cerros, Y. A., & Kendall, M. R., & Strong, A. C. (2021, July), Faculty Perceptions Of, and Approaches Towards, Engineering Student Motivation at Hispanic-serving Institutions Paper presented at 2021 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access, Virtual Conference. https://peer.asee.org/37186

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