Asee peer logo

Impact of Instructor Gender on Student Performance and Attitudes in a Chemistry Course for Freshman Engineers

Download Paper |

Conference

2017 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition

Location

Columbus, Ohio

Publication Date

June 24, 2017

Start Date

June 24, 2017

End Date

June 28, 2017

Conference Session

Women in Engineering Division Technical Session 3

Tagged Division

Women in Engineering

Tagged Topic

Diversity

Page Count

11

DOI

10.18260/1-2--28466

Permanent URL

https://strategy.asee.org/28466

Download Count

165

Request a correction

Paper Authors

biography

Emma Kaeli Northeastern University

visit author page

Emma Kaeli is a fourth-year undergraduate student at Northeastern University, majoring in chemical engineering and pursuing minors in mathematics and materials science and engineering. Outside of class, Kaeli works as a chemistry tutor and participates in undergraduate research in a materials science laboratory on campus. She also has held co-op positions with Rogers Corporation's Innovation Center and the National Renewable Energy Laboratory.

visit author page

biography

Tyler Byrne Cole Northeastern University

visit author page

Tyler Cole is a fourth year undergraduate student completing a B.S. in Chemical Engineering and a M.S. in engineering management at Northeastern University. He has been involved in the Connections Chemistry Review program and first year engineering tutoring for two years. Tyler has held a co-op positions at Genzyme and Amgen.

visit author page

biography

Bradley Joseph Priem Northeastern University

visit author page

Bradley Priem is a second year undergraduate student at Northeastern University, majoring in chemical engineering and minoring in biochemical engineering. He has been involved in the Connections Chemistry Review program for one year. He has also held an undergraduate research position in a biomaterials laboratory on campus.

visit author page

biography

Rachel Lauren Shapiro Northeastern University

visit author page

Rachel Shapiro is a fifth year undergraduate student studying chemical engineering at Northeastern University. She has been involved in the Connections Chemistry Review program for the past 3 years. Rachel works in a chemical engineering lab on campus, has held a co-op position at Davol, Inc., a co-op position at Entrega Biosciences, and ia currently completing her third co-op with McKinsey & Company.

visit author page

biography

Paul DiMilla Northeastern University

visit author page

Paul A. DiMilla is an Associate Teaching Professor in Chemistry & Chemical Biology and Chemical Engineering at Northeastern University. During his academic career at Carnegie Mellon University, Boston University, and Olin College he has been the recipient of the first Whitaker Young Investigator Award from the BMES, a Searle Scholar Award, and an Early Career Development Award from the NSF as well as a three-time recipient of the Omega Chi Epsilon Outstanding Faculty Award from the Northeastern Student Affiliate of AIChE. He also has led industrial R&D teams at Organogenesis Inc. and Polymerix Corporation developing tissue-engineered medical products and drug- generating biodegradable polymers, respectively, and has co-founded Automated Cell, Inc. In addition to being an inventor on 11 issued US patents, he has published the textbook General Chemistry for Engineers with Cognella Academic Publishing.

visit author page

biography

Rachelle Reisberg Northeastern University

visit author page

Rachelle Reisberg is Assistant Dean for Engineering Enrollment and Retention as well as Director of Women in Engineering at Northeastern University. Prior to joining Northeastern University, Rachelle held a wide range of management positions in IBM, Hanover Insurance, and was the President of a high tech start-up company.

visit author page

Download Paper |

Abstract

This study analyzes correlations between the gender of engineering students and their instructors and student perceptions, interactions, and successes in a general chemistry course for freshman engineers. Previous studies have shown that female engineering students are, in general, more comfortable seeking help than their male counterparts. Female students are also more likely to seek supplemental instruction (SI), including attending lecturer and TA office hours and lecturer-led reviews. As retention of female students is a critical initiative for undergraduate engineering programs, understanding the motivation of students to utilize, or not utilize, SI resources is important to improving student and program success.

The data for this study are based on students enrolled in a required fall-semester general chemistry course for freshman engineers at Northeastern University. Thirteen instructors, consisting of three male and one female lecturers and seven male and two female TAs, served as providers of SI. More than 400 students (~25% female) were surveyed after completing this course in Fall 2015 about their attitudes toward their lecturers and TAs, including approachability, competence, intimidation, and trust. This study seeks to understand the basis for these findings and the impact that lecturer and TA gender has on use of SI and subsequent student success.

This study shows that the instructor gender had a statistically significant impact on the reported comfort of a student with and perceived competence of an instructor. Female students reported less comfort with male instructors, while male students reported that they perceived female instructors to have a lower level of competency. Despite these findings, less than 1% of students reported that the gender of an instructor affected their use of SI. It was found, however, that students, especially female students, more often reported that they found their male instructors to be more intimidating than female instructors. It was also found that students who had reported having an intimidating male instructor were less likely to seek SI. As shown in previous studies, use of SI has had a positive impact on student performance in a course. Therefore it is possible that the gender of a student and their instructor could impact overall student performance.

Kaeli, E., & Cole, T. B., & Priem, B. J., & Shapiro, R. L., & DiMilla, P., & Reisberg, R. (2017, June), Impact of Instructor Gender on Student Performance and Attitudes in a Chemistry Course for Freshman Engineers Paper presented at 2017 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Columbus, Ohio. 10.18260/1-2--28466

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: © 2017 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