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Professional Shame amid Faculty-Student Interactions

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2022 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Minneapolis, MN

Publication Date

August 23, 2022

Start Date

June 26, 2022

End Date

June 29, 2022

Conference Session

ERM: Find Out More About Faculty!

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James Huff Harding University

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Dr. James Huff is an Associate Professor of Engineering Education and Honors College Faculty Fellow at Harding University. He conducts transdisciplinary research on identity that lies at the nexus of applied psychology and engineering education. A recipient of the NSF CAREER grant (No. 2045392) and the director of the Beyond Professional Identity (BPI) lab, Dr. Huff has mentored numerous undergraduate students, doctoral students, and academic professionals from more than 10 academic disciplines in using interpretative phenomenological analysis (IPA) as a qualitative research method to examine identity and shame in a variety of contexts. Dr. Huff serves as Associate Editor for Studies in Engineering Education, Journal of Engineering Education, and is on the Editorial Board of Personality and Social Psychology Review. He has a B.S. in Computer Engineering from Harding University, an M.S. in Electrical and Computer Engineering from Purdue University, and a Ph.D. in Engineering Education from Purdue University.

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Mackenzie Sharbine Harding University

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Joachim Walther University of Georgia

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Nicola Sochacka University of Georgia


Kyle Shanachilubwa Harding University

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Kyle Shanachilubwa is a Computer Science major at Harding University, on track to graduate from the Honors College with Distinction by 2024. With Dr. James Huff as his advisor, his honors thesis is focused on examining academic well-being of Black computer science/engineering students. Kyle Shanachilubwa is a member of the Beyond Professional Identity (BPI) lab where he assists Dr. Huff with his work on professional shame in engineering education. He plans to attend graduate school in 2024

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Grant Countess Harding University

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Prior research on faculty-student interactions in engineering education generally conceptualizes the function of these episodes to be supportive of professional development. In this paper, we examine the experience of professional shame amid faculty-student interactions. More generally, we examine the emotional significance of interactions between faculty and students and how such moments can affect how students cope with the experience of professional shame. Our findings are based on a thematic analysis that followed a broader qualitative mixed-method investigation of how engineering students experience professional shame. Specifically, we analyzed specific episodes of moments where the experience of shame was connected to faculty members within focus group transcripts (n = 10) of engineering students (n = 38) and interview transcripts with engineering students (n = 16). We generated three themes that characterized the experience of professional shame amid faculty-student interactions. First, faculty would engender shame through conveying vague, holistic expectations of what it means to be an engineer. Second, students would cope with the experience of shame by blaming the faculty member for the experience. Finally, some students saw the faculty member as a source of hope while they experienced professional shame. These findings point to the crucial role that faculty play in not only preparing engineering students for professional practice but also for cultivating environments of well-being within engineering programs.

Huff, J., & Sharbine, M., & Walther, J., & Sochacka, N., & Shanachilubwa, K., & Countess, G. (2022, August), Professional Shame amid Faculty-Student Interactions Paper presented at 2022 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Minneapolis, MN. 10.18260/1-2--41136

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