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The New Normal: Student Perspectives on Supportive University Policies during COVID and Beyond

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2022 CoNECD (Collaborative Network for Engineering & Computing Diversity)


New Orleans, Louisiana

Publication Date

February 20, 2022

Start Date

February 20, 2022

End Date

July 20, 2022

Conference Session

Technical Session 9 - Paper 1: The New Normal: Student Perspectives on Supportive University Policies during COVID and Beyond

Tagged Topics

Diversity and CoNECD Paper Sessions

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Paper Authors


Maimuna Begum Kali Florida International University

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Maimuna Begum Kali is a Ph.D. student in the Engineering and Computing Education program at Florida International University (FIU), in the School of Universal Computing, Construction, and Engineering Education (SUCCEED). She completed her B.Sc. in Computer Science and Engineering at the Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology (BUET) in Bangladesh. She began her Ph.D. study in Computer Science but changed her program to Engineering and Computing Education a year later. Her research interests include exploration of marginalized engineering students' experience, hidden identity, student mental health and wellbeing, and student support in engineering and computing education.

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Stephen Secules Florida International University Orcid 16x16

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Stephen is an Assistant Professor Engineering and Computing Education at Florida International University. He has a prior academic and professional background in engineering, having worked professionally as an acoustical engineer. He has taught a number of courses on engineering and education, including courses on engineering design, systems in society, and learning theories. Stephen's research interests include equity, culture, and the sociocultural dimensions of engineering education.

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In light of an emerging mental health crisis and the increasing diversity of the student body in undergraduate engineering education, this qualitative study explores student perceptions of university support regarding their wellbeing. We conducted focus groups with 16 undergraduate engineering students from a large R1 public minority-serving institution. Our participants largely perceived university personnel and resources as an insignificant source of support regarding their wellbeing. The findings on the lack of perceived support are organized by departmental and university-level influences. The students also identify areas for improvement that have posed barriers to their awareness and utilization of university supports and services and to their overall wellbeing. The method of soliciting student perspectives has implications for institutions wanting to examine their own practices and policies in order to better support students’ whole selves.

Keywords: wellbeing, student support, undergraduate, student experience, student perception, thematic analysis

Kali, M. B., & Secules, S. (2022, February), The New Normal: Student Perspectives on Supportive University Policies during COVID and Beyond Paper presented at 2022 CoNECD (Collaborative Network for Engineering & Computing Diversity) , New Orleans, Louisiana.

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