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Measuring the Educational Benefits of Diversity in Engineering Education: A Multi-Institutional Survey Analysis of Women and Underrepresented Minorities

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Conference

2014 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition

Location

Indianapolis, Indiana

Publication Date

June 15, 2014

Start Date

June 15, 2014

End Date

June 18, 2014

ISSN

2153-5965

Conference Session

Diversity Redefined: Nontraditional Views in Traditional Environments

Tagged Division

Minorities in Engineering

Page Count

15

Page Numbers

24.894.1 - 24.894.15

DOI

10.18260/1-2--22827

Permanent URL

https://peer.asee.org/22827

Download Count

138

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Paper Authors

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Terrell Lamont Strayhorn The Ohio State University

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Dr. Terrell Strayhorn is Professor of Higher Education and Director of the Center for Inclusion, Diversity & Academic Success (iDEAS) at The Ohio State University.

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Leroy L. Long III Ohio State University

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Leroy L. Long III earned his Masters in Mechanical Engineering at The Ohio State University and his Bachelors in Mechanical Engineering at Wright State University. He is now a doctoral candidate in STEM Education with a focus on Engineering Education within the Department of Teaching and Learning at Ohio State. He studies topics including but not limited to cognitive development, learning, teaching, and the social contexts within which they occur. He is an experienced Graduate Teaching Associate with the First-Year Engineering Program. He is also currently the Outreach Chair of the OSU American Society of Engineering Education (ASEE) Student Chapter. His research interests include: (a) technology, (b) diversity and inclusion, and (c) retention and success, with a particular focus on students in STEM fields. To contact Leroy, e-mail long.914@osu.edu.

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Michael Steven Williams The Ohio State University Orcid 16x16 orcid.org/0000-0002-3578-279X

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Michael Steven Williams earned his Bachelors of Science in Management Information Systems at Villanova University and his Masters in Higher Education at the University of Pennsylvania. Currently a PhD candidate in Higher Education and Student Affairs at The Ohio State University, Michael’s research interests center on two aspects of higher education: (1) the student, particularly graduate student socialization and mentoring and (2) the institution,with focus on specialized institutions such as historically Black colleges and universities (HBCUs).

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Marjorie Luce Dorimé-Williams Baruch College

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Marjorie L. Dorimé-Williams, PhD earned her doctorate in Education Policy, Organization & Leadership at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Her dissertation explored the relationships between socioeconomic status, collegiate involvement, and educational expectations of Black students at four-year public institutions and how institutions can better serve students from diverse socioeconomic backgrounds. Prior to receiving her Ph.D., Dr. Dorimé-Williams earned a Bachelor of Science in Sociology from Saint Joseph’s University and a dual Masters in Social Work and Social Policy from the University of Pennsylvania. Her research primarily focuses on assessment and evaluation in education; identity intersectionality with a focus on race, gender, and class; and access, persistence, and retention of historically underrepresented students in post-secondary education.

Dr. Dorimé-Williams has held positions in several research and policy organizations, including the Pell Institute for the Study of Opportunity in Higher Education, the Council for Opportunity in Education in Washington, D.C. and the Center for Inclusion, DivErsity, and Academic Success (IDEAS) at The Ohio State University. She currently serves as Baruch College’s Director of Academic Assessment and assist with all learning assessments across the college.

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Derrick L. Tillman-Kelly Ohio State University

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Derrick L. Tillman-Kelly is a doctoral student in the Higher Education and Student Affairs (HESA) program at The Ohio State University. Complementing his doctoral studies, Derrick serves as a graduate research associate (GRA) to Dr. Strayhorn and an editorial assistant for Spectrum: A Journal on Black Men. He earned his bachelor’s degree in biology (cognitive science minor) from Illinois Wesleyan University and a master’s degree in higher education and student affairs from Indiana University. His research interests consider two areas within higher education: (a) identity intersections with specific consideration of race, gender, sexuality and spirituality as social identities and (b) organizational socialization of administrators in higher education.

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Abstract

Measuring the Educational Benefits of Diversity in Engineering Education: A Multi-Institutional Survey Analysis of Women and Underrepresented MinoritiesAbstractTo align with the changing demographics of the U.S. population, a growing emphasis has beenplaced on diversity in engineering education. In recent reports, based in part on the SupremeCourt’s rulings in affirmative action cases at the University of Michigan, several nationalorganizations (e.g., National Academy of Sciences, National Academy of Engineering, andNational Action Council for Minorities in Engineering) argue that the importance of diversity isheightened in the fields of science and engineering.1 To illustrate the need for increaseddiversity, consider national statistics on science and engineering workforce participation.Although White men were only 33% of the US population in 2008, they comprised some 55% ofthe scientists and engineers. Only 18% of the workforce were White women and 7-10% wereunderrepresented minorities [(URM), i.e., African Americans, Latinos, AmericanIndians/Alaskan Natives].2 Gender and racial representation can be even lower in specificengineering fields such as computer science and engineering, nuclear engineering, and electricalengineering, to name a few.Several steps must be taken to improve the representation of women and racial/ethnic minoritiesin undergraduate engineering programs (UEPs). An important first step is clearly articulating thecase for diversity in engineering education by showing how both students and society stand tobenefit from it.3 While previous research provides evidence of the educational benefits ofdiversity in collegiate settings 4 and that racially diverse educational environments are associatedwith positive academic and social outcomes for college students,5,6 relatively few studies assesswhether engagement with diverse peers and perspectives enriches UEP student experiences. Thisis the gap addressed by the present study.Building upon previous research on the academic and social benefits of diversity, the presentstudy sought to estimate the educational benefits that accrue to undergraduate engineeringstudents who interact with diverse peers and perspectives. Specifically, in this study, weconducted multivariate analyses on multi-institutional survey data from 115 engineering studentsat 4-year institutions to answer the following research questions: Do UEP students report greaterlearning gains when they work with diverse peers and encounter diverse perspectives? Does thisrelationship vary by race and gender?Findings show that encouraging contact among engineering students from different economic,social, and racial or ethnic backgrounds can produce greater learning gains in domains such aspersonal/social development, practical competence, and general education. In addition, ,students’ year in college and enrollment status were also found to be statistically significantpredictors of perceived learning gains in general education and practical competencerespectively.Bibliography[1] Commission on the Advancement of Women and Minorities in Science, Engineering, and Technology Development. (2000). Land of plenty: Diversity as America’s competitive edge in science, engineering, and technology. Arlington, VA: National Science Foundation.[2] National Science Foundation, Division of Science Resources Statistics, 2011[3] Chubin, D. E., & Malcom, S. M. (2008, October 6). Making a case for diversity in STEM fields [Electronic Version]. Inside Higher Ed, from http://insidehighered.com/views/2008/10/06/chubin[4] Antonio, A. L., Chang, M. J., Hakuta, K., Kenny, D. A., Levin, S., & Milem, J. F. (2007). Effects of racial diversity on complex thinking in college students. Psychological Science, 15(8), 507-510.[5] Chang, M. J. (1999). Does racial diversity matter? The educational impact of a racially diverse undergraduate population. Journal of College Student Development, 40(4), 377-395.[6] Strayhorn, T. L. (2008). How college students' engagement affects personal and social learning outcomes [Electronic Version]. Journal of College & Character, X, 1-16. Retrieved January 10, 2009, from http://www.collegevalues.org/pdfs/Strayhorn.pdf

Strayhorn, T. L., & Long, L. L., & Williams, M. S., & Dorimé-Williams, M. L., & Tillman-Kelly, D. L. (2014, June), Measuring the Educational Benefits of Diversity in Engineering Education: A Multi-Institutional Survey Analysis of Women and Underrepresented Minorities Paper presented at 2014 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Indianapolis, Indiana. 10.18260/1-2--22827

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