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January 24, 2021
January 24, 2021
January 28, 2021
Diversity and CoNECD Paper Submissions
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://sftp.asee.org/36109
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