June 15, 2014
June 15, 2014
June 18, 2014
Educational Research and Methods
24.597.1 - 24.597.21
Faculty Perceptionsof Student Engagement: A Qualitative Inquiry There is a national concern about the relatively largeproportion of students who leaveengineering programs. Even with tremendous efforts in place, such as summer bridge programs,learning communities, mentoring programs, integrating authentic problems and projects incurricula, etc., the trends have not changed and retention still ranges from 40% to 60% for themajority of engineering programs. The past decades, and even recently, there are many studiesthat have suggested that the persistence problem is related to student engagement. According tothe literature, college faculty and staff play a most essential role in student engagement and aid issupporting students in socializing in the academic community, facilitating the environment forstudents to enhance self-efficacy and self-confidence, helping students strengthen theirprofessional identity, etc..The literature in student engagement does suggest that there may bekey differences in faculties’ perceptions the role they play in regards to engaging students. Somedepartments seem to have established a culture of student engagement and there are activeattempts to sustain such a culture, whereas on the other end of the spectrum, there aredepartments that have not made any active attempt to establish a culture of student engagementbecause they feel it is mainly the responsibility of the student to be engaged. The purpose of this study is to gain insight into one engineering program's culture ofstudent engagement and compare this culture with what the literature describes as being ideal.More specifically, ten faculty (including an academic advisor) were interviewed following asemi-structured protocol to gain insight intofaculty perceptions of student engagement. Fourresearch questions grounded this effort: 1) How are student engagement and success related? 2)What characterizes an engaged student? 3) What are the faculty and department’sresponsibilities in increasing student engagement? 4) How do/how should faculty increasestudent engagement? The qualitative data were analyzed using a double coding technique (i.e.the codebook was developed using relevant student engagement literature across secondaryeducation domains as well as open-coding to allow for engineering-specific emergent themes).The results of the qualitative analyses show that the majority of the faculty participants believethat student engagement and success are related. More frequently cited characteristics of anengaged and successful student were:actively participating in class, interacting with faculty,having strong interpersonal skills, and being self-motivated. In terms of whose responsibility it isto engage, there seemed to be a split - some faculty believed that most of the responsibility lieswith the students, some faculty believed that most responsibility lies with the faculty, and othersthought that it was an equally shared responsibility. In terms of the actions faculty take toincrease student engagement, the most frequently mentioned strategies were encouraging studentautonomy, strengthening the departmental community, promoting interclass communication. This study hopes to compare and contrast engineering faculty’s perceptions of variousaspects of student engagement with similar literature from across secondary education in order toilluminate discrepancies and provide a foundation to close such gaps.
Panizo, M. T., & Hollander, J., & Pappas, J., & Pierrakos, O., & Anderson, R. D. (2014, June), Faculty Perceptions of Student Engagement: A Qualitative Inquiry Paper presented at 2014 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Indianapolis, Indiana. 10.18260/1-2--20488
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