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Role With It: Examining the Impact of Instructor Role Models in Introductory Mathematics Courses on Student Experiences

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Conference

2021 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access

Location

Virtual Conference

Publication Date

July 26, 2021

Start Date

July 26, 2021

End Date

July 19, 2022

Conference Session

Mathematics Division Technical Session 1

Tagged Division

Mathematics

Tagged Topic

Diversity

Page Count

18

Permanent URL

https://peer.asee.org/37692

Download Count

22

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Paper Authors

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Tyler James Sullivan Clemson University

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I am a PhD student in the Engineering and Science Education Department at Clemson University with a background in Mathematical Sciences.

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Matthew K. Voigt Clemson University Orcid 16x16 orcid.org/0000-0003-0692-0142

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Matthew (he,him,his) is an Assistant Professor of Engineering and Science Education at Clemson University. His research interests center around issues of equity, access, and power structures occurring in undergraduate STEM programs with a focus on introductory mathematics courses.

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Naneh Apkarian Arizona State University Orcid 16x16 orcid.org/0000-0002-0866-8633

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Dr. Naneh Apkarian (she/her) is an Assistant Professor of Mathematics Education in the School of Mathematical and Statistical Sciences at Arizona State University. Her work is generally in service of improving student experiences (and outcomes) in introductory and foundational STEM courses through systemic and cultural change.

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Antonio Estevan Martinez IV UC San Diego & San Diego State University Orcid 16x16 orcid.org/0000-0001-7095-9135

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Antonio is a doctoral candidate in the Mathematics and Science Education (MSED) joint program between San Diego State University and UC San Diego. His research focuses on incorporating computing into the introduction to proofs curriculum and supporting students as they transition into upper division mathematics.

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Jessica Ellis Hagman Colorado State University

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Jess Ellis Hagman is an Associate Professor in the Department of Mathematics at CSU in Fort Collins. She completed her PhD in Mathematics Education from the joint program between San Diego State University and the University of California, San Diego. Her area of research is undergraduate mathematics education. Her work is focused on dramatically increasing the number and diversity of people who thrive in undergraduate mathematics-especially introductory mathematics courses that often function as a roadblock for STEM intending students. Her current research includes studying characteristics of successful precalculus and calculus programs, focusing on investigating ways departments can create diverse, equitable, and inclusive introductory mathematics programs.

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Abstract

Contributing to the effort to diversify the demographics in STEM disciplines, we examined the effect of role models in students’ perceptions of precalculus and calculus courses. Drawing from Dasgupta’s stereotype inoculation model (2011a) in which ingroup experts can serve as “social vaccines” to protect against negatively stereotyped groups, we tested the impacts of four different social markers instructors might share with their students: gender, race, sexual identity, and First-Generation College Student status (FGCS). Data from this study comes from student survey responses (n=19,191) on the Student Post-Secondary Instructional Practices Survey as part of the NSF-funded Progress Through Calculus project, which examined student reports of introductory mathematics programs across the United States. We analyzed the data using a cumulative link mixed model on the survey items related to instructional practice, academic performance, and affective beliefs to determine which items exhibited a minoritized role model effect. Out of the 58 survey items, 25 items exhibited a statically significant minoritized role mode effect: seven for gender, nine for race, three for sexuality, and fourteen for FGCS. Our results indicate impacts of a minoritized role model effect that varied based on social markers, and while most were consistently a positive predictor, there were some instances of a role model contributing a negative predictor. More studies are needed to further understand the complex phenomenon of role models in calculus courses. However, it is clear that if you want to support a large variety of students, you need a diverse group of instructors.

Sullivan, T. J., & Voigt, M. K., & Apkarian, N., & Martinez, A. E., & Hagman, J. E. (2021, July), Role With It: Examining the Impact of Instructor Role Models in Introductory Mathematics Courses on Student Experiences Paper presented at 2021 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access, Virtual Conference. https://peer.asee.org/37692

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