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From "Leaky Pipelines" to "Diversity of Thought": What Does "Diversity" Mean in Engineering Education?

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Conference

2019 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition

Location

Tampa, Florida

Publication Date

June 15, 2019

Start Date

June 15, 2019

End Date

June 19, 2019

Conference Session

Minorities in Engineering Division Technical Session 5

Tagged Division

Minorities in Engineering

Tagged Topic

Diversity

Page Count

14

DOI

10.18260/1-2--32861

Permanent URL

https://peer.asee.org/32861

Download Count

51

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Paper Authors

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Sarah Appelhans University at Albany

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Sarah Appelhans is a PhD candidate in Cultural Anthropology. Her dissertation research, "Steel Toes and Ponytails: Gender and Belonging in Engineering", investigates the boundaries of membership in engineering in the Capital District of New York. She is honored to be a research assistant on the NSF-sponsored study on engineering education reform entitled "The Distributed System of Governance in Engineering Education." In addition to her academic experience, she is a former mechanical engineer with several years of experience in the aviation and construction industries.

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Thomas De Pree Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute

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Thomas De Pree is a PhD student and HASS Fellow of Science and Technology Studies in the School of Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in Troy, New York. Trained in sociocultural anthropology, he received a BA in Anthropology and Psychology from the University of New Mexico in 2010, and a MA in Anthropology and Education from Teachers College, Columbia University in 2015.

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J. Thompson Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute

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Joerene Acerrador Aviles Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute

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Alan Cheville Bucknell University

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Alan Cheville studied optoelectronics and ultrafast optics at Rice University, followed by 14 years as a faculty member at Oklahoma State University working on terahertz frequencies and engineering education. While at Oklahoma State, he developed courses in photonics and engineering design. After serving for two and a half years as a program director in engineering education at the National Science Foundation, he took a chair position in electrical engineering at Bucknell University. He is currently interested in engineering design education, engineering education policy, and the philosophy of engineering education.

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Donna M. Riley Purdue University-Main Campus, West Lafayette (College of Engineering)

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Donna Riley is Kamyar Haghighi Head of the School of Engineering Education and Professor of Engineering Education at Purdue University.

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Jennifer Karlin Minnesota State University, Mankato

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Jennifer Karlin spent the first half of her career at the South Dakota School of Mines and Technology, where she was a professor of industrial engineering and held the Pietz professorship for entrepreneurship and economic development. She is now a professor of integrated engineering at Minnesota State University, Mankato, in the Bell Engineering program and the managing partner of Kaizen Consulting.

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Soheil Fatehiboroujeni Indiana-Purdue University

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Soheil FatehiBoroujeni received his Ph.D. in Mechanical Engineering from the University of California, Merced in 2018. As a postdoctoral researcher at Purdue University, School of Engineering Education, Soheil is working on a multi-institutional project characterizing governance processes related to change in engineering education, and pursuing other research interests in epistemology and design, among other philosophical topics in engineering education.

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Atsushi Akera Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute

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Atsushi Akera is Associate Professor and Graduate Program Director in the Department of Science and Technology Studies at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (Troy, NY). He received his M.A. and Ph.D. in the History and Sociology of Science, University of Pennsylvania. His current research is on the history of engineering education reform in the United States (1945-present). He is the immediate past chair of the ASEE Ad Hoc Committee on Interdivisional Cooperation; Chair of the International Network for Engineering Studies (INES); past chair of the ASEE Liberal Education / Engineering and Society Division; and a former member of the Society for the History of Technology’s (SHOT) Executive Council. Publications include /Calculating a Natural World: Scientists, Engineers and Computers during the Rise of U.S. Cold War Research/ (MIT Press, 2006).

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Abstract

In this research paper, we analyze “diversity” discourses among faculty and administrators in engineering programs across the Unites States, and the initiatives deployed in the name of diversity. The recruitment and retention of women and “minorities” is a task of paramount importance in engineering programs, and higher education in general. However, despite continued efforts to diversify the student body, women and minorities have remained underrepresented in engineering departments. The rationale for increasing diversity in engineering education can vary, from industry arguments about “filling pipelines” for the labor force, to social justice arguments that everyone should have an equal opportunity for success, to cognitive diversity arguments that problems are solved more efficiently with diverse viewpoints. Furthermore, there is significant variation across institutions regarding who is prioritized under the “diversity” umbrella – some highlight women in general, others African American, Hispanic and Lantinx men and women, others target students of low socioeconomic status (SES). Finally, initiatives to address diversity also vary widely, from scholarship programs, to extracurricular activities, to integration of the needs and interests of excluded groups into coursework. This paper draws upon data collected as part of a multi-institutional research study entitled “The Distributed System of Governance in Engineering Education.” We use methods of discourse analysis to study how the term “diversity” is leveraged in different contexts to enact certain methods of recruitment and retention of particular populations.

Appelhans, S., & De Pree, T., & Thompson, J., & Aviles, J. A., & Cheville, A., & Riley, D. M., & Karlin, J., & Fatehiboroujeni, S., & Akera, A. (2019, June), From "Leaky Pipelines" to "Diversity of Thought": What Does "Diversity" Mean in Engineering Education? Paper presented at 2019 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition , Tampa, Florida. 10.18260/1-2--32861

ASEE holds the copyright on this document. It may be read by the public free of charge. Authors may archive their work on personal websites or in institutional repositories with the following citation: © 2019 American Society for Engineering Education. Other scholars may excerpt or quote from these materials with the same citation. When excerpting or quoting from Conference Proceedings, authors should, in addition to noting the ASEE copyright, list all the original authors and their institutions and name the host city of the conference. - Last updated April 1, 2015