Crystal City, Virginia
April 29, 2018
April 29, 2018
May 2, 2018
As the field of engineering continuously suffers from a lack of diversity, it is widely accepted that the engineering education community continue focusing on broadening participation. However, similar consensus does not exist as it relates to measuring progress. We argue that this is partially due to the ambiguity of the word diversity. Because people have different conceptualizations of diversity, it can be expected that progress, and the extent of the problem, looks different to different people: what we consider “diverse enough” is a moving target. Accordingly, this paper examines the ways in which this target moves from person to person. To address this purpose, we interviewed undergraduate (n=19) and graduate students (n=22) majoring in engineering at a predominately white, mid-Atlantic institution, asking each to describe the current level of diversity in engineering at their institution. Grounded in social constructionism, we explore students’ rationale for determining the extent to which their shared environment is diverse. Our results highlight several themes related to conceptualizing diversity, and suggest that engineering students often use various environmental and social cues to reach similar and varied conclusions.
Boyd-Sinkler, K., & Hermundstad, A. L., & Artiles , M. S., & Phillips, C. M. L., & Lutz, B. D., & Lee, W. C. (2018, April), Student Conceptualizations about Diversity: "How Would You Describe the Diversity in Engineering at Your Institution?" Paper presented at 2018 CoNECD - The Collaborative Network for Engineering and Computing Diversity Conference, Crystal City, Virginia. https://peer.asee.org/29580
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