Asee peer logo

Survey Development to Measure the Gap Between Student Awareness, Literacy, and Action to Address Human-caused Climate Change

Download Paper |

Conference

2017 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition

Location

Columbus, Ohio

Publication Date

June 24, 2017

Start Date

June 24, 2017

End Date

June 28, 2017

Conference Session

Thinking Globally, Acting Locally: The Role of Engineering Education towards Attaining UN Sustainable Development Goals

Tagged Divisions

Minorities in Engineering, Liberal Education/Engineering & Society, Civil Engineering, and Community Engagement Division

Page Count

21

Permanent URL

https://peer.asee.org/28891

Download Count

80

Request a correction

Paper Authors

biography

Tripp Shealy Virginia Tech

visit author page

Tripp Shealy is an assistant professor in the Charles E. Via, Jr. Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering and principal faculty member in the Myers-Lawson School of Construction at Virginia Tech. He received his doctorate from Clemson University. His research is broadly focuses on judgment and decision making for sustainable infrastructure. This includes education for sustainability, specifically, how student understanding and attitude towards climate change effects their motivations and agency to solve complex global problems for a sustainability in their career.

visit author page

biography

Allison Godwin Purdue University, West Lafayette Orcid 16x16 orcid.org/0000-0002-0741-3356

visit author page

Allison Godwin, Ph.D. is an Assistant Professor of Engineering Education at Purdue University. Her research focuses what factors influence diverse students to choose engineering and stay in engineering through their careers and how different experiences within the practice and culture of engineering foster or hinder belongingness and identity development. Dr. Godwin graduated from Clemson University with a B.S. in Chemical Engineering and Ph.D. in Engineering and Science Education. She is the recipient of a 2014 American Society for Engineering Education (ASEE) Educational Research and Methods Division Apprentice Faculty Grant. She has also been recognized for the synergy of research and teaching as an invited participant of the 2016 National Academy of Engineering Frontiers of Engineering Education Symposium and 2016 New Faculty Fellow for the Frontiers in Engineering Education Annual Conference. She also was an NSF Graduate Research Fellow for her work on female empowerment in engineering which won the National Association for Research in Science Teaching 2015 Outstanding Doctoral Research Award.

visit author page

author page

Haley Margaret Gardner

Download Paper |

Abstract

The United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals state climate change could irreversibly affect future generations and is one of the most urgent issues facing society. To date, most education research on climate change examines middle and high school students’ knowledge without considering the link between understanding and interest to address such issues in their career. In research on students’ attitudes about sustainability, we found that half of first-year college engineering students, in our nationally representative sample of all college students at 4-year institutions (n = 937), do not believe climate change is caused by humans. This lack of belief in human-caused climate change is a significant problem in engineering education because our results also indicate engineering students who do not believe in human caused climate change are less likely to want to address climate change in their careers. This dismal finding highlights a need for improving student understanding and attitudes toward climate change in order to produce engineers prepared and interested in solving complex global problems in sustainability. To advance understanding about students’ understanding of climate change and their agency to address the issue, we developed the CLIMATE survey to measure senior undergraduate engineering students’ Climate change literacy, engineering identity, career motivations, and agency through engineering. The survey was designed for students in their final senior design, or capstone course, just prior to entering the workforce. We developed the survey using prior national surveys and newly written questions categorized into six sections: (1) career goals and motivation, (2) college experiences, (3) agency, (4) climate literacy, (5) people and the planet, and (6) demographic information. We conducted focus groups with students to establish face and content validity of the survey. We collected pilot data with 200 engineering students in upper-level engineering courses to provide validity evidence for the use of these survey items to measure students and track changes across the undergraduate curriculum for our future work. In this paper, we narrate the development of the survey supported by literature and outline the next step for further validation and distribution on a national scale. Our intent is to receive feedback and input about the questions being asked and the CLIMATE instrument. Our objective is to share the nationally representative non-identifiable responses (the estimated goal is 4,000 responses) openly with education researchers interested in students understanding about climate change, their engineering identity, career motivations, and agency through engineering. Ultimately, we want this research to become a catalyst for teaching about topics related to climate change in engineering and its implications for sustainability.

Shealy, T., & Godwin, A., & Gardner, H. M. (2017, June), Survey Development to Measure the Gap Between Student Awareness, Literacy, and Action to Address Human-caused Climate Change Paper presented at 2017 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Columbus, Ohio. https://peer.asee.org/28891

ASEE holds the copyright on this document. It may be read by the public free of charge. Authors may archive their work on personal websites or in institutional repositories with the following citation: © 2017 American Society for Engineering Education. Other scholars may excerpt or quote from these materials with the same citation. When excerpting or quoting from Conference Proceedings, authors should, in addition to noting the ASEE copyright, list all the original authors and their institutions and name the host city of the conference. - Last updated April 1, 2015