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Minority Status and Belonging: Engineering Math as a Vehicle to Build Community

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Conference

2021 CoNECD

Location

Virtual - 1pm to 5pm Eastern Time Each Day

Publication Date

January 24, 2021

Start Date

January 24, 2021

End Date

January 28, 2021

Conference Session

CoNECD Session : Day 3 Slot 7 Technical Session 1

Tagged Topics

Diversity and CoNECD Paper Submissions

Page Count

19

Permanent URL

https://strategy.asee.org/36109

Download Count

19

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Paper Authors

biography

Angela R. Bielefeldt University of Colorado, Boulder

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Angela Bielefeldt is a professor at the University of Colorado Boulder in the Department of Civil, Environmental, and Architectural Engineering (CEAE). She recently became the director for the Engineering Plus program, which offers a design-focused, flexible Bachelor's degree. Professor Bielefeldt was formerly the faculty director of the Sustainable By Design Residential Academic Program, a living-learning community where interdisciplinary students learn about and practice sustainability. Bielefeldt is also a licensed P.E. Professor Bielefeldt's research interests in engineering education include service-learning, sustainable engineering, social responsibility, ethics, and diversity.

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Janet Y. Tsai University of Colorado, Boulder Orcid 16x16 orcid.org/0000-0002-2917-0367

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Janet Y. Tsai is a researcher and instructor in the College of Engineering and Applied Science at the University of Colorado Boulder. Her research focuses on ways to encourage more students, especially women and those from nontraditional demographic groups, to pursue interests in the field of engineering. Janet assists in recruitment and retention efforts locally, nationally, and internationally, hoping to broaden the image of engineering, science, and technology to include new forms of communication and problem solving for emerging grand challenges. A second vein of Janet's research seeks to identify the social and cultural impacts of technological choices made by engineers in the process of designing and creating new devices and systems. Her work considers the intentional and unintentional consequences of durable structures, products, architectures, and standards in engineering education, to pinpoint areas for transformative change.

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Beth A. Myers University of Colorado, Boulder

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Beth A. Myers is the Assistant Vice Provost for Student Success Initiatives at the University of Colorado Boulder. She holds a BA in biochemistry, ME in engineering management and PhD in civil engineering. Her interests are in quantitative and qualitative research and data analysis as related to equity in education.

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Daniel A. Godrick University of Colorado, Boulder

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Jacquelyn F. Sullivan University of Colorado, Boulder

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Jacquelyn Sullivan is founding co-director of the Engineering Plus degree program in the University of Colorado Boulder’s College of Engineering and Applied Science. She spearheaded design and launch of the Engineering GoldShirt Program to provide a unique access pathway to engineering for high potential, next tier students not admitted through the standard admissions process; this program is now being adapted at several engineering colleges. Sullivan led the founding of the Precollege division of ASEE in 2004; was awarded NAE’s 2008 Gordon Prize for Innovation in Engineering and Technology Education, and was conferred as an ASEE Fellow in 2011. She has served on multiple NAE committees, and on the NSF ENG division's Advisory Committee.

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Abstract

This research explored feelings of belonging and engineering identity among entering first year students, within the case study of an engineering math course at a large, public institution. Incoming first-year students who did not place into the traditional Calculus I course or above were co-enrolled in the engineering math (EMath) course. This pilot EMath course was found to enroll a higher percentage of students underrepresented in engineering at the institution, including underrepresented racial/ethnic minorities (URM), first-generation, and low income students. It was unclear the extent to which being at a demographic “critical mass” in the EMath course could provide a supportive community for these students, and potentially counter the institutional message of “tenuous” belonging in engineering due to being unable to place into the typical first semester calculus course. Survey instruments with Likert-type questions were used to measure belonging and engineering identity at the beginning and end of the semester. Course belonging and engineering identity was higher among first-generation and low-income students in EMath on the pre survey. Course belonging and math confidence increased on the post survey. Among students enrolled in an engineering projects course in fall 2018, at the end of the semester students also enrolled in EMath had higher private regard and group identification (two measures of identity) compared to students not enrolled in EMath; the largest difference was among URM students. The results indicate that EMath might provide a supportive environment with benefits to students’ engineering identity, although confounding factors of additional cohort programs and intersectional identities are complications to the study. Further exploration of these ideas is warranted using qualitative methods and longitudinal studies.

Bielefeldt, A. R., & Tsai, J. Y., & Myers, B. A., & Godrick, D. A., & Sullivan, J. F. (2021, January), Minority Status and Belonging: Engineering Math as a Vehicle to Build Community Paper presented at 2021 CoNECD, Virtual - 1pm to 5pm Eastern Time Each Day . https://strategy.asee.org/36109

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