June 14, 2015
June 14, 2015
June 17, 2015
26.1059.1 - 26.1059.23
Leadership, Management, and Diversity: Missed Opportunities within StudentDesign Competition TeamsEngineering competition teams provide some students the opportunity to design authenticengineering artifacts, manage budgets and logistics, exercise engineering analysis and decisionmaking, build an engineering artifact and develop and practice professional skills. In a researchstudy examining the cultures, structure, composition, and processes of a variety of StudentExperiential Learning Engineering Competition Teams (SELECT), we collected data from teamsfrom multiple institutions and a variety of design competitions. The data from the teams consistsof interviews of team members and advisors, team documents, and other public artifacts.This paper is a comparative case study of two SELECT teams from the same institution. Bothteams were sponsored by the institution’s mechanical engineering department, garneredsubstantial resources, and competed in national competitions sponsored by professionalorganizations. Both teams produced vehicles and the competition results were determined byboth technical considerations and race performance. Both teams' membership is almostexclusively white, upper and middle class males; each team had one female participant, with onefemale also being a member of an underrepresented racial/ethnic group.Some participating students on each team reported learning a variety of engineering skills,including engineering design, manufacturing, design for manufacturability, CAD software,computational fluid dynamics and finite element analysis long before they would encounter themin their curriculum. We found differences between the teams in recruiting, team structure andorganization, student leadership, faculty advisors, expectations for commitment, integration intoacademic structure (capstone), and focus on competition success.In spite of the differences in team organization and goals, both teams missed opportunities forstudents to acquire and practice important professional skills. Neither team providedopportunities for formal learning about leadership and management, nor experience andmentorship for working with a diverse group of peers (e.g. diversity from race, gender, socio-economic status, or major discipline). The most egregious missed opportunity within teams was(and is for many teams) the vast number of students who are excluded from participation bycultural and structural elements of the teams. These excluded students miss all of the educationalopportunities competition teams provide. The comparative case study analysis will presentfeatures of these teams that contributed to these missed opportunities.In the ASEE Year of Action on Diversity, it is time to acknowledge that the substantial resourcesinvested in competition teams are being focused on a small group of privileged students. Weneed to ensure that the resources devoted to competition teams and the associated benefits aredistributed across a wider range of students. This paper offers recommendations to advisors,departments, and engineering educators about the scaffolding necessary to offer more authenticlearning opportunities and build teams that are more diverse.
Walden, S. E., & Foor, C. E., & Pan, R., & Shehab, R. L., & Trytten, D. A. (2015, June), Leadership, Management, and Diversity: Missed Opportunities Within Student Design Competition Teams Paper presented at 2015 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Seattle, Washington. 10.18260/p.24396
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