June 23, 2013
June 23, 2013
June 26, 2013
Educational Research and Methods
23.1207.1 - 23.1207.17
The Impact of Inclusive Excellence Programs on First Year Engineering Identity Development in Underrepresented PopulationsJustifications for increasing diversity in engineering have been reinforced by national leaders andfunding agencies, and the topic has permeated STEM discourse and engineering educationagendas for decades. Yet, even with pervasive college-based initiatives aimed at broadeningparticipation, the national results remain stagnant. The national average for underrepresentedminority BS engineering graduates has remained flat, hovering at 10% for the last 15 years whilethe national average for women engineering BS graduates peaked at ~21% in 2002.Clearly, there remains a need to identify models that bolster diversity. The present study isfocused on a model of inclusive excellence embedded in four integrated programs for first-yearstudents in a large western state university. The inclusive excellence model investigated isfocused on identifying engineering access pathways for students, collaboration through learningcommunities and academic excellence to foster retention.For this study, there is a consideration of the impact of the inclusive excellence model on identitydevelopment for underrepresented first year students. Professional identity is a form of socialidentity that develops over time, and includes shared attitudes, values and skills characteristic tomembers of that profession. Identity is a feeling of fitting within the group—in this context,engineering—and is known to influence persistence in engineering.Identity development is investigated over time in four programs that incorporate the inclusiveexcellence model – two smaller and shorter summer bridge programs targeting underrepresentedpopulations, a large first-year engineering design course, and a large introduction to engineeringcourse designed to help students understand the different career tracks in engineering. Thecomparison across these various programs and courses will enable a determination of factorsleading to identity development related to community or team-building, fostering engineeringskills and knowledge, and understanding career paths.For each program, identity is measured via the Group Identification Survey, a product of theAcademic Pathways Study. This instrument was chosen based on its history as a publishedsurvey with evidence of validity. This survey on professional engineering identity includes foursubscales measuring centrality of engineering identity, private regard related to internal feelingsabout engineering identity, public regard related to perceived public perceptions of engineeringand group identification related to feelings of belonging to an engineering community. Thesurvey is administered before and after the two bridge programs and pre- and post-course for thetwo first-semester courses. To determine possible correlates of identity, students are alsoadministered additional survey items, influenced in part by the APPLE engineering survey. Fourunderrepresented populations – minorities, women, low socio-economic, and first generationstudents – are investigated against identity development results from the majority population.The number of first year students in the study includes 623 participants across the four programs.Results were analyzed using repeated measures analysis of variance procedures to determinedifferences pre to post and between demographic groups and programs.Results indicate that students enter the diversity serving summer bridge programs with highlevels of private regard and moderate levels of centrality and maintain these levels throughoutthe bridge. Group identification scores significantly increased during the bridge indicating thedevelopment of feelings of belonging to a specific group, a positive result due to the linkbetween social identification and retention. Of concern, scores on the public regard subscalesignificantly decreased indicating a more negative evaluation of the public’s perception ofidentity post-bridge, an outcome that diverges from the motivation of many underrepresentedstudents to use engineering to improve society. Identity development and its correlates in thelarger classes, results specific to underrepresented categories, and an analysis of the results usingnon-parametric statistics will be discussed in the paper.
Knight, D., & Sullivan, J. F., & Kotys-Schwartz, D. A., & Myers, B. A., & Louie, B., & Luftig, J. T., & Zarske, M. S., & Hornback, J. M. (2013, June), The Impact of Inclusive Excellence Programs on the Development of Engineering Identity among First-Year Underrepresented Students Paper presented at 2013 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Atlanta, Georgia. 10.18260/1-2--22592
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