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The influence of percentage of female or international students on the psychological safety of team

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2019 FYEE Conference


Penn State University , Pennsylvania

Publication Date

July 28, 2019

Start Date

July 28, 2019

End Date

July 30, 2019

Conference Session

M2B: Learning in teams

Tagged Topics

Diversity and FYEE Conference - Paper Submission

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Paper Authors


Behzad Beigpourian Purdue University

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Behzad Beigpourian is a Ph.D. student and Research Assistant in Engineering Education at Purdue University. He earned his master’s in Structural Engineering from Shahid Chamran University in Iran, and his bachelor’s in Civil Technical Teacher from Shahid Rajaee Teacher Training University in Iran, Tehran. He has been official Technical Teacher at Ministry of Education in Iran from 2007 to 2018, and received many certificate in education such as Educational Planning, Developing Research Report, and Understanding School Culture. Mr. Beigpourian currently works in the CATME project, which is NSF funding project, on optimizing teamwork skills and assessing the quality of Peer Evaluations.

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Matthew W. Ohland Purdue University-Main Campus, West Lafayette (College of Engineering) Orcid 16x16

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Matthew W. Ohland is 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 Best Paper awards from the Journal of Engineering Education in 2008 and 2011 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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Daniel M. Ferguson Purdue University-Main Campus, West Lafayette (College of Engineering)

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Daniel M. Ferguson is CATME Managing Director and the recipient of several NSF awards for research in engineering education and a research associate at Purdue University. Prior to coming to Purdue he was Assistant Professor of Entrepreneurship at Ohio Northern University. Before assuming that position he was Associate Director of the Inter-Professional Studies Program [IPRO] and Senior Lecturer at Illinois Institute of Technology and involved in research in service learning, assessment processes and interventions aimed at improving learning objective attainment. Prior to his University assignments he was the Founder and CEO of The EDI Group, Ltd. and The EDI Group Canada, Ltd, independent professional services companies specializing in B2B electronic commerce and electronic data interchange. The EDI Group companies conducted syndicated market research, offered educational seminars and conferences and published The Journal of Electronic Commerce. He was also a Vice President at the First National Bank of Chicago [now J.P. Morgan Chase], where he founded and managed the bank’s market leading professional Cash Management Consulting Group, initiated the bank’s non-credit service product management organization and profit center profitability programs and was instrumental in the breakthrough EDI/EFT payment system implemented by General Motors. Dr. Ferguson is a graduate of Notre Dame, Stanford and Purdue Universities, a special edition editor of the Journal of Engineering Entrepreneurship and a member of Tau Beta Pi.

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This research paper investigates team composition affects psychological safety in first-year engineering teams.

Background: Psychological safety provides safe environment for team members to easily express their opinions and make decision without being worry about the consequences. Team composition can affect the psychological safety of teams and individual students. To promote a more inclusive classroom, faculty need advice on team formation strategies that lead to the optimum composition when the class includes gender diversity and international students.

Purpose/Hypothesis: We want to know how the individual’s perception of psychological safety and how it aggregates within their team. Design/Method: We categorized teams of a first-year engineering class based on the percent of female students in teams and conducted one-way ANOVA. We also used ANOVA to study the experience of international students.

Results: Teams with no female students had significantly higher psychological safety than teams with 50 percent female students. Also, teams with no international students had significantly higher psychological safety than teams with 50-67% international students.

Conclusions: Forming teams based on gender and citizenship can significantly affect the psychological safety of students in engineering teams, which gives hints to important team dynamics that instructors should watch for. Keywords Psychological safety, gender, international students, teamwork, team composition

Beigpourian, B., & Ohland, M. W., & Ferguson, D. M. (2019, July), The influence of percentage of female or international students on the psychological safety of team Paper presented at 2019 FYEE Conference , Penn State University , Pennsylvania. 10.18260/1-2--33732

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