June 14, 2015
June 14, 2015
June 17, 2015
Diversity and Corporate Member Council
26.936.1 - 26.936.20
Inclusion or Exclusion? The Impact of the Intersection of Team Culture and Student Pathway on Team DiversityMany engineering societies and industries sponsor engineering team competitions, such asFormula SAE, AIAA’s Design Build Fly, and ASCE Concrete Canoe. The vast majority ofengineering competition teams lack participation by women and members of racial/ethnicminorities. This study is part of a multi-year research study examining factors contributing tocultures of inclusion or exclusion in competition teams. We will use a comparative case studyframework to examine the pathways of Alice and Sarah as they entered an engineeringcompetition team that we will call Team A.Alice and Sarah came from high schools with similar socio-economics and academic programs,had a personal connection to an engineer, had strong mathematical skills, and high self-efficacyin engineering. Sarah had a lifelong interest in Team A’s artifact, while Alice’s main careerfocus was elsewhere. Skills from both of their engineering majors could benefit Team A, amultidisciplinary project that is open to students from all majors. To protect confidentiality, themajors and names are disguised.Both Alice and Sarah wanted to become involved in Team A. The pathways of the students,however, were influenced by race, socio-economics, and gender. Alice was white, her parentshad not completed college degrees, and she came directly to the university as a major inengineering A. Sarah was a racial/ethnic minority with two college educated parents, and foundher way to the university through community colleges as a major in engineering S.Team A has predominately been populated by students from engineering A, and has requiredteam members to participate for several years to have the privilege of using the team project as acapstone in engineering A. Alice joined the team as a sophomore. She had acquaintances fromengineering A on the team and quickly developed friendships there. Alice stayed on Team A forthree years, became a member of the social clique that dominated Team A, and eventuallybecame the team leader. Sarah joined the team with her boyfriend. Sarah attended initialmeetings, but was turned away when she showed up to work, and eventually ended her teamparticipation when a component design her boyfriend created was used withoutacknowledgement of his contribution by a team leader.This paper will examine the pathways of Alice and Sarah and show how their race/ethnicity,gender, and socio-economic and transfer status intersected with Team A’s culture and led toAlice becoming a team leader, while Sarah never integrated into Team A. The comparisonbetween the experiences of these students will show engineering educators and industry sponsorsthe invisible barriers to team participation that inhibit groups of students (e.g. racial/ethnicminorities, students with socio-economic disadvantages, and transfer students) from access to theinvestments in competition teams and the full benefits of team participation. By making thesebarriers visible, we hope to show how industrial and engineering institutions can make teamparticipation available to a more diverse group of students.
Trytten, D. A., & Pan, R., & Foor, C. E., & Shehab, R. L., & Walden, S. E. (2015, June), Inclusion or Exclusion? The Impact of the Intersection of Team Culture and Student Identity and Pathway on Team Diversity Paper presented at 2015 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Seattle, Washington. 10.18260/p.24273
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