June 15, 2014
June 15, 2014
June 18, 2014
24.1111.1 - 24.1111.10
Student Demographics and Outcomes in Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering Including their Exchange of StudentsThere is a large amount of overlap in Mechanical (ME) and Aerospace Engineering (Aero)curricula, and yet the student populations look quite different in terms of race and gender. Thisstudy includes institutional data from 11 institutions, all of which offered ME and six of whichoffered Aero over the period 1987-2010. This large sample (over 90,000 first-time-in-collegeengineering students) allows us to adopt an intersectional framework to study race and gendertogether. In this paper, we examine the demographics of students in ME and Aero and their six-year graduation rates. Then we consider the exchange of students between these two similardisciplines and how that impacts graduation rate.Within each racial/ethnic group, men who start in engineering choose Aero and ME at higherrates than women who start in engineering. In Aero, the gender gaps are small to moderateamong White (11.7% of males vs. 10.5% of females), Hispanic (13.3% vs. 12.0%), and Asianstudents (9.3% vs. 6.2%). There is a larger gap between Black men and women choosing Aero(9.4% vs. 3.5%). Mechanical Engineering on the other hand, has large gender gaps within allracial/ethnic groups with more men than women choosing ME (White: 20.6% vs. 11.6%, Black:19.0% vs.10.3%, Hispanic: 17.3% vs. 9.2%, and Asian: 15.1% vs. 8.2%).Considering six-year graduation in ME or Aero, women out persist men in all subgroups exceptAsian Aero students. Overall, graduation rates are lower in Aero than ME. In Aero, six-yeargraduation rates range from 11.2% for Black males to 29.3% for Hispanic females, while in MEthey range from 31.6% for Hispanic males to 47.8% for Asian females.Over 500 students in this study started in Aero but graduated in ME, and 40 started in ME butgraduated in Aero. The switching population from ME to Aero has a higher percentage ofwomen than the starting population of ME and the Aero to ME population has a lowerpercentage of women than the starting population of Aero. While Aero has smaller genderenrollment gaps, ME has smaller enrollment and outcome gaps between racial/ethnic groups.By studying the differences between Aero and ME and the exchange between them, bothdisciplines can learn from each other about how to improve their recruiting and retention ofunderrepresented groups. The forthcoming paper will include further detail as well asimplications for engineering educators and administrators.
Orr, M. K., & Lord, S. M., & Ohland, M. W., & Layton, R. A. (2014, June), Student Demographics and Outcomes in Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering Including Migration between the Disciplines Paper presented at 2014 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Indianapolis, Indiana. 10.18260/1-2--23044
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