Salt Lake City, Utah
June 23, 2018
June 23, 2018
July 27, 2018
Educational Research and Methods
Prior work has highlighted differences in the nature and structure of knowledge across various academic disciplines. These differences manifest themselves in a number of ways, including teaching and learning practices, methods of assessing student learning, and roles and expectations of students and teachers – all of which influence and shape the culture of a specific discipline within an institution. While prior work has focused on disciplinary and institutional cultures separately, little work has been done to understand how these two cultures intersect to create a unique culture within each academic department. In this exploratory study, we draw on Hofstede’s dimensions of national cultures to better understand the intersections of institutional and disciplinary cultures in shaping students’ experiences. We situate the study within two different engineering disciplines: electrical and computer engineering (ECE) and industrial and systems engineering (ISE). Semi-structured interviews were conducted with 59 undergraduate students from six universities across the U.S. Our cross-institutional analysis reveals variations in student perceptions that suggest ways in which local cultures may influence approaches to learning and perceptions of teaching practices locally, indicating that local cultures may override traditional characterizations of engineering disciplines. These emerging findings suggest that changes at departmental and institutional levels can significantly impact students’ experiences of disciplinary practices and values, and challenge the idea of engineering culture as monolithic and immovable. As a result, these local cultures can – and should – play a transformative role in revolutionizing students’ development as engineers.
Agrawal, A., & Groen, C. J., & Hermundstad Nave, A. L., & McNair, L. D., & Martin, T., & Paretti, M. C. (2018, June), Overriding Tradition? An Initial Exploration of the Intersection of Institutional and Disciplinary Cultures from the Student Perspective Paper presented at 2018 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition , Salt Lake City, Utah. 10.18260/1-2--30853
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