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Student Evaluation of Teaching in an Engineering Class and Comparison of Results Based on Instructor Gender

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2018 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Salt Lake City, Utah

Publication Date

June 23, 2018

Start Date

June 23, 2018

End Date

July 27, 2018

Conference Session

Diversity and Global Experiences

Tagged Division

Chemical Engineering

Tagged Topic


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Paper Authors


Byron Hempel University of Arizona Orcid 16x16

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Byron Hempel is a PhD graduate student at the University of Arizona, having received his B.S. in Chemistry at the University of Kentucky and Masters in the Chemical and Environmental Engineering Department at the University of Arizona. Working under Dr. Paul Blowers, Byron is focusing on improving the classroom environment in higher education by working in the flipped classroom. He is a University Fellow, a Mindful Ambassador, and Chair of the Graduate Student Working Group for the ASEE Chapter at the University of Arizona. In his "free time" he enjoys rock climbing.

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Kasi Kiehlbaugh University of Arizona

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Dr. Kasi Kiehlbaugh is primarily interested in incorporating research-based pedagogical techniques into the undergraduate engineering classroom, and she focuses on employing active learning techniques and utilizing collaborative learning space classrooms. More specifically, her work examines how co-teaching, classroom technologies, active learning in the classroom, and various classroom-based affective interventions targeted at fostering self-efficacy, belongingness, metacognitive learning strategies, and growth mindset affect outcomes such as student retention and success, particularly during the freshman and sophomore year. Her field of research is undergraduate engineering education. Dr. Kiehlbaugh completed her BS and MS at the University of Arizona and her PhD at UC Berkeley. She is now an Assistant Teaching Professor in the Chemical and Environmental Engineering Department at her undergraduate alma mater.

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Paul Blowers University of Arizona

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Dr. Paul Blowers received his BS in Chem. Eng. from Michigan State University in 1994 before going on to receive an MS and PhD from UIUC in 1997 and 1999 in Chem. Eng. He is currently University Distinguished Professor at the University of Arizona and was recently promoted to full professor.

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A sophomore core chemical engineering course was co-taught by two different instructors in Spring 2016 and Spring 2017 with approximately 90 students both semesters via an active learning environment in a collaborative learning space. Both instructors were present for almost all lectures and each instructor delivered approximately 50% of the lectures. The learning environment consisted of students working in three to four person teams supported by pre- and/or post-recorded content with pre-quizzes to hold students accountable for pre-class content material. The observational experiment involved two different instructors, one male with 16 years of teaching experience, and one female with 1 year of laboratory instruction experience, teaching the same students at the same time in the same way in a course neither had taught before in the first teaching instance, and then again co-teaching in a second year to see if results were replicable. The COPUS protocol was used to demonstrate similarity of teaching approaches in the classroom between the two faculty members. Teaching course effectiveness scores collected by the institution were used as the basis of investigating the importance of gender on evaluations and differences between the instructors in a male dominated discipline. Prior research on gender topics is mixed and there is no clear result on whether women receive higher or lower scores depending on the dominant gender of the students evaluating the instructors. The experiment performed here removed many of the confounding factors in prior studies and allows for a clearer picture of students’ views of teachers. We found that the instructors received student teaching effectiveness scores that were statistically distinguishable regarding gender (P=0.007 for both years). On the other hand, open-ended comments reported on the evaluation forms were scored relatively the same towards both instructors, fitting with some of the evidence in the peer reviewed literature regarding gender expectations of students. However, some of the comments towards the female instructor were harsher than those towards the male instructor. In conclusion, there is reason to believe that there is a gender bias against female instructors in a male dominated field.

Hempel, B., & Kiehlbaugh, K., & Blowers, P. (2018, June), Student Evaluation of Teaching in an Engineering Class and Comparison of Results Based on Instructor Gender Paper presented at 2018 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition , Salt Lake City, Utah. 10.18260/1-2--31006

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