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Pilot Intervention to Improve "Sense of Belonging" of Minorities in Engineering

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2012 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


San Antonio, Texas

Publication Date

June 10, 2012

Start Date

June 10, 2012

End Date

June 13, 2012



Conference Session

New Research and Trends for Minorities in Engineering

Tagged Division

Minorities in Engineering

Page Count


Page Numbers

25.1043.1 - 25.1043.12



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Paper Authors


Kari L. Jordan Ohio State University Orcid 16x16

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A Detroit native, Kari L. Jordan received her B.S. and M.S. degrees in mechanical engineering at Michigan Technological University and is now pursuing a Ph.D. in engineering education at the Ohio State University. She is a former GEM Doctoral Fellow and King-Chavez-Parks Future Faculty Fellow. Her research experience includes engineering for sustainability, and she is currently studying engineering self-efficacy of minority students at predominantly white institutions.

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Sheryl A. Sorby Ohio State University

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Sheryl Sorby is Visiting Professor in the Engineering Education and Innovation Center at the Ohio State University and Professor Emerita of mechanical engineering-engineering mechanics at Michigan Technological University. She recently served as Program Director within the Division of Undergraduate Education at the National Science Foundation. She began her academic career on the faculty at Michigan Tech in 1986, starting first as an instructor while completing her Ph.D. degree and later joining the tenure-track ranks in 1991. Sorby is the former Associate Dean for Academic Programs in the College of Engineering and the former Department Chair of Engineering Fundamentals at Michigan Tech. Her research interests include graphics and visualization. She has been the Principal Investigator or Co-principal Investigator on more than $7 million in external funding, most from the National Science Foundation for educational projects. She is the author of numerous publications and several textbooks.

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Susan L. Amato-Henderson Michigan Technological University

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Susan Amato-Henderson is an Associate Professor of psychology in the Department of Cognitive and Learning Sciences at Michigan Technological University, earning her Ph.D. in experimental psychology from the University of North Dakota. Her research focuses on assessment of educational outcomes in higher education as related to STEM learning, with a focus on the effects of various experiences on individuals' self-efficacy, entrepreneurial intentions, creativity, and other related constructs, as well as the effects of an individual's values and professional role orientation on STEM learning, retention, persistence, and ethics.

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Topic/Session: Innovative retention and development programs for undergraduateminority engineering students (including bridge programs) Pilot Intervention to Improve "Sense of Belonging" of Minorities in EngineeringDuring the fall 2010 semester the Longitudinal Assessment of Engineering Self-Efficacy(LAESE) was administered to engineering students across several majors at threeinstitutions. The purpose of this study was to examine if there were differences inengineering self-efficacy of minority students compared with majority students.Engineering self-efficacy refers to a person’s belief that he/she can maneuver theengineering curriculum and eventually become a practicing engineer. It is comprised ofcoping efficacy, math outcome expectations, feeling of inclusion, and engineering careersuccess expectations. The results of this initial assessment were that African Americanand Hispanic students had significantly lower feelings of inclusion than did their whitecounterparts. No differences in engineering self-efficacy were found.To assess and potentially improve first-year minority engineering students’ feeling ofinclusion/sense of belonging the authors adapted a “social belonging” intervention firstintroduced at Yale for African American computer science students. Video footage wasedited to produce a compelling short film showing that all first-year students regardlessof race, ethnicity, or gender, experience the same feelings of not belonging. A secondcontrol video was produced as well sharing ideas about how to get involved on campus.A treatment group of minority students at Michigan Tech viewed the video footage anddiscussed it as a group. They also completed the LAESE instrument and filmed atestimonial for future students. A control group of minority students at Michigan Techviewed the control video footage and discussed it as a group and completed the LAESEinstrument as well. The LAESE instrument was administered to two first year Chemistrylabs to gather baseline data of non-minority students for comparison.To assess the effect of this intervention, midterm and final grades will be collected andboth the treatment and control groups will take the LAESE assessment again at the end ofthe fall 2011 semester. This paper presents results from this intervention.

Jordan, K. L., & Sorby, S. A., & Amato-Henderson, S. L. (2012, June), Pilot Intervention to Improve "Sense of Belonging" of Minorities in Engineering Paper presented at 2012 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, San Antonio, Texas. 10.18260/1-2--21800

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