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STEM Students outside the Classroom: The Role of the Institution in Defining Extracurricular Activity

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Conference

2013 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition

Location

Atlanta, Georgia

Publication Date

June 23, 2013

Start Date

June 23, 2013

End Date

June 26, 2013

ISSN

2153-5965

Conference Session

ERM Potpourri

Tagged Division

Educational Research and Methods

Page Count

19

Page Numbers

23.1085.1 - 23.1085.19

Permanent URL

https://peer.asee.org/22470

Download Count

29

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Paper Authors

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Denise Wilson University of Washington

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Denise Wilson received the B.S. degree in mechanical engineering from Stanford University in 1988 and the M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in electrical engineering from the Georgia Institute of Technology in 1989 and 1995, respectively. She also holds an M.Ed. from the University of Washington (2008) and has worked in industry (Applied Materials). She is currently a faculty member with the Electrical Engineering Department, University of Washington, Seattle, and she was previously with the University of Kentucky, Lexington, in a similar position from 1996 to 1999. Her research interests are split between technical investment in biological and chemical-sensing microsystems and equivalent interest in engineering education, with particular emphasis on affective and metacognitive factors that influence student success in STEM fields.

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Cheryl Allendoerfer University of Washington

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Dr. Allendoerfer is a Research Scientist in the College of Engineering at the University of Washington.

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Mee Joo Kim University of Washington- Seattle

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Mee Joo Kim is a Ph.D. student in College of Education at University of Washington. She received her M.Ed. in Social Foundations (2009) from the Curry School of Education at University of Virginia. Her research interests include academic and civic engagement of college students majoring in STEM disciplines.

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Elizabeth Burpee

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Rebecca A Bates Minnesota State University, Mankato

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Tamara Floyd Smith P.E. Tuskegee University

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Melani Plett Seattle Pacific University

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Nanette M Veilleux Simmons College

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Nanette Veilleux is an Associate Professor in the Computer Science and Information Technology Program at Simmons College. Her research fields are STEM pedagogy and Computational Linguistics.

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Abstract

Engineering and Computer Science Students outside the Classroom: The Role of the Institution in Defining Extracurricular ActivityParticipation in extracurricular activities often has a positive impact on the academic experienceof students in middle and high school, as well as during the undergraduate years. Whileengineering majors may report lower satisfaction with the college experience than some othermajors, the source of that dissatisfaction does not appear to be reflected in involvement inextracurricular activities. In fact, undergraduate engineering majors are on par with other majorsin the amount of time spent on extracurricular activities. Extracurricular involvement can covera wide range of activities with different academic benefits (and some drawbacks), but little isknown about the nature of extracurricular involvement specifically among engineering students,how it evolves year-to-year, and how it differs according to gender, ethnicity, and institutionalculture.This paper examines the time spent in and the nature of extracurricular activities amongengineering and computer science students at five diverse higher education institutions. Theinstitutions involved in this research represent three types of Carnegie 2010 classifications (Bac-Diverse, Master’s L, and RU-VH); geographical locations in the Northwest, Northeast, Midwest,and Southeast United States; both public and private institutions; and undergraduate enrollmentsvarying from 3,500 to 29,000 students (total for all majors). This analysis is situated within alarger study at these five institutions focused on understanding connections among belonging,community, and engagement within STEM populations. The role of extracurricular activities inthe underlying theoretical framework guiding this research is shown in Figure 1.Survey data were collected from a total of nearly 700 students across the five institutions throughLikert-scale and short-answer questions. The total amount of time that engineering andcomputer science students spend on extracurricular activities each week, as well as the level ofactivity in popular extracurricular activities (including sports, on-line communities, shared livinggroups, and several other non-academic communities) were captured and analyzed. Correlationanalysis, t-tests, one-way analysis of variance (ANOVA), and other standard statistical analysistechniques were used to understand variations in institutional culture and characteristics, as wellas student characteristics as they relate to extracurricular participation and involvement.Our findings indicate that within an institution, the extent of involvement in extracurricularactivities is remarkably consistent among different types of students. Significant differenceswere found only within personality type (introvert or extravert) and one ethnic group (Asianstudents, whether Asian-American or Asian-International). However, variation in extracurricularinvolvement varies broadly across institutions. While the two larger institutions demonstrateextracurricular involvement on par with national averages (as measured by the National Surveyon Student Engagement), the three smaller institutions demonstrate wide variations from thisaverage. Although this research is cross-sectional and not longitudinal in nature, we concludefrom our results that institutional culture, rather than student characteristics, has the strongestinfluence on what undergraduate students do and how often they do it in regard to extracurricularcommunities.Figure 1: Theoretical Framework for this Study(This study focuses on non-major activities, termed Extracurricular in the concept map below).

Wilson, D., & Allendoerfer, C., & Kim, M. J., & Burpee, E., & Bates, R. A., & Smith, T. F., & Plett, M., & Veilleux, N. M. (2013, June), STEM Students outside the Classroom: The Role of the Institution in Defining Extracurricular Activity Paper presented at 2013 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Atlanta, Georgia. https://peer.asee.org/22470

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