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The Impact of Department Diversity on Student Persistence and Success in Engineering

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Conference

2021 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access

Location

Virtual Conference

Publication Date

July 26, 2021

Start Date

July 26, 2021

End Date

July 19, 2022

Conference Session

Research on Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion

Tagged Division

Educational Research and Methods

Tagged Topic

Diversity

Page Count

19

Permanent URL

https://peer.asee.org/37869

Download Count

85

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Paper Authors

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David Ray Waller Purdue University, West Lafayette

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David Waller is a PhD student in the School of Engineering Education at Purdue University. His research focuses on understanding engineering student experiences from a complexity paradigm. He is interested in how network-based methods can be used to study complex educational systems and how these methods can inform data-driven decision making. Prior to starting his PhD, David completed his Bachelor of Engineering in Aerospace Engineering and his Master of Applied Science in Mechanical Engineering in Canada.

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Yukiko Maeda Purdue University, West Lafayette

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Yukiko Maeda is an associate professor of Educational Psychology in the area of research methodology in the Department of Educational Studies. She has expertise in educational measurement and statistics including the application of multilevel modeling in educational research.

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Matthew W. Ohland Purdue University, West Lafayette Orcid 16x16 orcid.org/0000-0003-4052-1452

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Matthew W. Ohland is Associate Head and the Dale and Suzi Gallagher of Professor of Engineering Education at Purdue University. He has degrees from Swarthmore College, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, and the University of Florida. His research on the longitudinal study of engineering students, team assignment, peer evaluation, and active and collaborative teaching methods has been supported by the National Science Foundation and the Sloan Foundation and his team received for the best paper published in the Journal of Engineering Education in 2008, 2011, and 2019 and from the IEEE Transactions on Education in 2011 and 2015. Dr. Ohland is an ABET Program Evaluator for ASEE. He was the 2002–2006 President of Tau Beta Pi and is a Fellow of the ASEE, IEEE, and AAAS.

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Louis Tay Purdue University, West Lafayette

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Louis Tay is William C. Byham Associate Professor in Industrial-Organizational Psychology. His research interests are in well-being, research methodology, and data science.

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Abstract

Engineering education continues to see lower representation and graduation rates from traditionally minoritized student populations. Research on minoritized student success emphasizes the importance of developing a sense of belonging; however, this can be difficult for underrepresented and minoritized students who do not see many others like them in their classes. Under these circumstances, students from underrepresented populations can feel like they do not belong in engineering, particularly at U.S. institutions with predominantly White male engineering programs. Because engineering students spend a large portion of their academic time with other students in their department, the demographic diversity of the department is an important environmental factor to consider when studying student success. This study uses multilevel logistic modeling to account for individual student factors and department-level diversity measures to predict the ecosystem metric of student stickiness, applied in this case as the likelihood of students persisting in their engineering department from second to third year. The sample includes 9,349 second-year engineering students enrolled from 2009-2018 at a large research-intensive university in the Midwest across 12 engineering departments. The results indicate that second-year GPA and minoritized student status significantly predict persistence within a department, and there are differences in the importance of second-year GPA across departments. However, department-level diversity measures of female and minoritized student representation are not significant in predicting department-level persistence. Future research will expand the ecosystem variables used to predict student stickiness with a particular focus on variables that relate to diversity and inclusion in engineering education.

Waller, D. R., & Maeda, Y., & Ohland, M. W., & Tay, L. (2021, July), The Impact of Department Diversity on Student Persistence and Success in Engineering Paper presented at 2021 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access, Virtual Conference. https://peer.asee.org/37869

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